Past Event

Canceled: The Life Cycle of Clothing in the 19th Century

This event has been canceled.

A Road Scholar Program by Erika Holst

Americans invested a tremendous amount of labor into making and maintaining their wardrobes during the 19th century. This presentation will explore the life cycle of clothing during the 1800s: how it was created, mended, remade, washed, and ultimately recycled.

Orange and black historic dress

The presentation will highlight examples of garments and artifacts from the Illinois State Museum’s collections. After the presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to do the following:

  • Reflect on their own experiences with making, mending, washing, and recycling clothing, drawing parallels between the 19th century and today;
  • Share memories of this work in their families from earlier generations; and
  • Explore modern attitudes towards “fast fashion” and mending vs. discarding.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Todd DeDecker at

Dairy Building COVID-19 Policy

We follow the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Health Department, which includes masking indoors.

Learn more about Erika Holst, this program, and how to book it.