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Time & Again

When White River Valley Museum director Patricia Cosgrove was at Spokane’s elegantly renovated Davenport Hotel, she was impressed by how civil and thoughtful everyone was.

“It seemed that being in such a beautiful and formal place elevated everyone’s actions and attitudes,“ she said of her experience that has inspired an investigation by the Auburn museum of formal occasions and dressing up in south King County’s days gone by.

A new temporary exhibit at the museum, titled “Dressing Up: What it Means and Why We Have Done It,” feature women’s gowns from the museum’s sizable clothing collection.

The display is coupled with quotes from some of Auburn’s leading women about the clothing.

Cosgrove said guest curators Lynn Norman and Sue Singer helped select the dresses and people to be interviewed and coordinated donations of items for the exhibit.

“The museum did not own even one prom dress, so Lynn and Sue have been working with the community to solicit donations of dresses, as well as donations of prom pictures to be displayed in the exhibit,” Cosgrove said.

The dresses were made between 1870 and 1970. Some were for events that today are not considered formal, such as going into Seattle to shop or going out to lunch. Others were made for special occasions, such as a service club installation or a dance.

The museum is at Les Gove Park, 918 H St. SE. in Auburn. Hours are noon to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children and seniors. Wednesdays are free.

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