Exhibition of the 1950s and 1960s


In 1955, curator Margaret Brown Klapthor created a separate exhibition for the first ladies' gowns. The new display showed the dresses chronologically, arranged on manniquins and set in period rooms modeled on rooms in the White House. A decade later, the exhibition moved to a more elaborate setting in a new Museum of History and Technology (now that National Museum of American History). The new exhibit also featured furnishings and chinaware from the White House. This exhibition showed interest in decorative arts and, according to one curator, presented the gowns in a "worshipful setting." It became extremely popular, including with Mamie Eisenhower, pictured here with the First Lady of Argentina.


Smithsonian National Museum of American History