Ellen Wilson gown nominated to endangered artifacts list

Ellen WilsonCollecting institutions and museums across Virginia and Washington D.C. have nominated items from their collections that they believe tell a significant story and deserve to be recognized as one of “Virginia’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts.”

These items may be ones that are currently being conserved, have a plan to be conserved or are simply in need of conservation. The campaign showcases the importance of Virginia’s diverse history, heritage, and culture and the role artifacts play in telling those stories.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum has nominated Ellen Wilson’s Princeton Inaugural Gown as one of Virginia’s “Top Ten Endangered Artifacts”. The gown was worn by Ellen Axson Wilson, first wife of President Woodrow Wilson, when she attended her husband’s inauguration as President of Princeton University in 1902.

Ellen Wilson was an accomplished artist, and she made this gown herself. Over many years of display in high-light, high-traffic environments, the gown’s silk has become brittle in the most exposed areas, leading to numerous splits and tears. The fabric of the skirt has suffered the most and is now friable, making display in its current state impossible.

The nominations for this prestigious award will be reviewed by an independent panel of collections and conservation experts, and the Top Ten honorees, as well as a “People’s Choice” honoree will be announced September 9th. Public voting for the award will begin August 4th and continues through August 23rd at www.vatop10artifacts.org.

“Conservation is a vital component of our mission, and Virginia’s Top Ten campaign offers an interactive opportunity for supporters of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum to become engaged in bringing the importance of this mission into the public spotlight,” said Don Wilson, CEO and President of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.

“Virginia’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts” is a program of the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM). VAM is the resource network of the Virginia and Washington D.C. museum community, providing education, technical assistance, and advocacy.



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