Fashioning Illinois: 1820-1900

August 3, 2021 to March 31, 2022

Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900, featured earlier this year at the Museum’s Springfield location, explores the personal experience of wearing and caring for clothing and how fashion reflected women’s changing roles and attitudes over the first 80 years of Illinois statehood.

“After a positive reception in Springfield, we are thrilled a new audience in the Lockport area will get the chance to enjoy this exhibit,” said the exhibition’s curator, Erika Holst. “It features plenty of eye candy in the form of gorgeous, historical garments. However, Fashioning Illinois also goes much deeper. It explores the labor that went into making and caring for the textiles and clothing.”

Visitors will see examples of historical costumes, textiles, and accessories from the Illinois State Museum’s Illinois Legacy Collection. Among the garments displayed are an 1860s homespun linsey-woolsey dress; an 1850s maternity dress worn by a woman who died in childbirth; an 1890s mourning costume; and an 1880s Native American woven beaded headband.

The Illinois State Museum is particularly proud to feature a reproduction of a dress worn by freed slave Lucy McWorter (1771-1870), recreated from an 1850s photograph by Springfield seamstress Mary Helen Yokem in collaboration with the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum. 

Fashioning Illinois is on display at Illinois State Museum’s Lockport Gallery until March 31, 2022. Admission is free. All participants must observe health and safety protocols.

Lead support for Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900 at the Lockport Gallery is generously provided by Lockport Woman's Club. 

Merchandise featuring the Fashioning Illinois exhibition is available at our online shop. Order yours here.

Maternity Dress
  • Maternity Dress
  • Lucy McWhorter
  • McWhorter Reproduction Dress
  • mourning dress


Erika Holst
The Lockport Gallery features rotating exhibitions highlighting the art and visual culture of Illinois.
Visitor Information
201 West 10th Street
(815) 838-7400

Hours: Tue-Sat: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.