Good afternoon ma’am: Sarah Spaven and Zerene Webster stop for a chat, wearing accurate historical garments which reference the collection’s original pieces. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Costume collection connects to the past

January 15, 2021 BY

BEHIND the scenes of Sovereign Hill’s living museum, its historical costume collection protects three thousand original pieces.

A handful of these 19th century items will be showcased by the curatorial and collections team in a rare online broadcast from the collection store on Wednesday, 20 January at 2pm.

Taking place live on Sovereign Hill’s Facebook page, digital content coordinator Snjez Cosic said it’s a chance to engage their audience which has developed an even stronger digital appetite in the last 12 months, and give people access to garments which are especially fragile.

“The virtual tour is an opportunity for them to discover how women lived in this era,” she said.

“A lot of these pieces have been handed down to us by the descendants of the original ancestors, to care for future generations.”

Many visitors often have queries about the people living during the time period covered at Sovereign Hill, like ‘how did they keep their homes, and what undergarments did women have to wear under their “luminous” outfits?’

“People can ask questions and they will be answered live. There’s a lot of interest in fashion history and the way we bring those stories to life,” Ms Cosic said.

Sovereign Hill deputy CEO Katrina Nitschke said the living museum’s strength is its ability to connect people to the past with “great resonance.”

“Who we are and how we express ourselves through what we wear, that’s a common human thing, and the way people did that in the 1850s has a real similarity to the way that we do that today,” she said.

“There’s an endless fascination with costume, the collection, and how we interpret that. The fashion in our collection gives us a really tangible window to the past and the lives that people lived.”