The Life Cycle of Clothing

A Road Scholar Program by Erika Holst (Edward Place Dresses)

Edwards Place Dresses12 BEST

Apr 9, 2024


Windmill Cultural Center
111 10th Ave
Fulton, IL 61252



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.

This 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.
Historic dresses studio 9

piece from the Illinois State Museum’s exhibition: “Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Judith G. Holesinger at

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