By Jen Bidwell
New Temporary Exhibit Showcases over 200 Years of Wedding History
On Saturday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. The Newberry Museum celebrated the grand opening of the new temporary exhibit, “She Said… ‘ Yes!’” highlighting over 200 years of wedding history through over 200 wedding dresses, garments, and other wedding-related items from a private curator. This is the first time the collection has been on public display.
The owner and curator of the collection, Jeannie Rucker of Boiling Springs, SC, has been collecting wedding-related items for 50 years. At the age of 6, Rucker saw her first Miss America pageant. When she saw the beautiful dresses, they reminded her of wedding dresses. At that point, she began saving all of her tooth-fairy money to go down to the local antique stores and resale shops and purchase what her mother called “more old rags.” Little did her mother realize that the twenty-five-cent tooth fairy money was the start of a large, unique collection of over 600 wedding items that would span hundreds of years of wedding history from different countries across the globe. At the grand opening of the exhibit, Rucker’s mother jokingly and lovingly stated, “Look at the mistake I made” when referring to Rucker’s collection as “more old rags.”
Rucker’s love of history, fashion, and design are seen in each piece of this collection. Special items on display during the exhibit include dresses by Dior, Norman Hartnell, Worth and items from Queen Victoria, Princess Diana, Grace Kelly, and so much more.
The exhibit truly has something for everyone: for students of history; for teachers; for museum professionals; for genealogists; for aspiring fashion designers; for costumers; for tailors; for needleworkers and fiber artists; for clergy members; for anyone in the wedding industry; for anyone in the literary or performing arts; for anyone who enjoys classic literature or historical fiction or even costume dramas.
Rose Marie Favors, the exhibit manager, stated: “Each mannequin, each dress form, and each case in this collection will be a blank canvas upon which we will display a piece of history, a marvel of design and skill, a work of art.” The Museum’s desire throughout this exhibit is to share the unique design, artistry, and skill found in each piece.
The Newberry Museum is also providing a lecture series in association with the exhibit. Each topic is offered twice. Topics include World War II & Weddings, Ann Lowe, Queen Victoria, and more! To learn more about these special lectures, make sure to follow The Newberry Museum on Facebook.
“She Said…’Yes’!” will be on display through August 13, 2022.
Special hours, tours, and programming are available throughout the summer. Museum admission and tours are free.
While The Newberry Museum has selected to display 200 items of Rucker’s collection, you can learn more about her entire collection and the stories of the people behind the pieces when her book, “The Bride Sometime Wore White” is released. Rucker is meticulous in her research and desires not just to display a pretty gown or wedding item, but to share more about the people who wore and loved the items.
The Newberry Museum is a non-profit organization working to protect, present, preserve, and promote the ongoing history and heritage of Newberry County and College. The museum aims to positively impact Newberry County and College as a destination site that encourages heritage tourism and growth while promoting educational and cultural opportunities for individual enrichment and understanding.
To learn more about The Newberry Museum and special programming, visit their website at www.thenewberrymuseum. com and follow them on Facebook. Regular museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am-4:00 pm.