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Founding Vintage Fashion Guild Member, Jonathan Walford shares a behind the scenes look into the opening of the well anticipated, “Fashion History Museum” which will be located in Cambridge, Canada.
A five year lease has been signed.
Jonathan and his partner Kenn Norman, along with the board of directors are busily working on finishing their “to do” lists in order to get the museum ready for the grand opening!

Below is a snippet from The Fashion History Museums Winter 2015 newsletter.
We will keep everyone up to date with future announcements on this great adventure so stay tuned!

What’s New…

Thanks to the hard work of so many people we have now signed a five-year lease for the FHM! Last November we took the keys for 74 Queen Street East, the old post office built in 1922 in the former town of Hespeler. Located just north of Highway 401, Hespeler was once a thriving textile mill town along the Speed River that used to boast the largest woolen cloth production in the British Empire. First settled in the 1830s the town was amalgamated into the City of Cambridge in 1973. With the closing of most of the mills between the 1960s and 1980s, the town lost its identity. However, Hespeler is now experiencing a renaissance and the future looks bright.

Our ‘to-do’ list before we open is long. The museum’s collection, mannequins, library, and office equipment have been moved to the new location. However, preparation of the storage rooms will take a couple of months to complete. Meanwhile, we are working on a parking variance, marketing plan, funding, and are planning several events leading up to our grand opening this fall.

We would like to welcome Conestoga College intern Alexandra Reid who will be joining us for the next four months to help with marketing and development. As we start our new venture we want to also thank Cathy Favron who is leaving us after serving on the museum’s board as secretary for the past year. Our newest board member, Christine Feniak will be joining our current board members pictured below from left to right: Dominique Whelan, Kenn Norman, Jonathan Walford, Jennifer Kennedy, and Diane Gallinger.

The board at the signing of our lease in November 2014

New home of the FHM in Hespeler

What’s Been Happening…

Aside from the new museum site, we have been carrying on with other events and exhibitions. For the third year in a row, the FHM created a display for the Grand River Film Festival this past November. This year’s theme was “It Came From Hollywood” featuring the fashions of designer Adrian who is credited with originating the 1940s broad-shouldered silhouette through clothes he designed for Joan Crawford.

On November 22, the FHM held its first event at our new location – a one day marketplace for ten dealers of vintage clothes, books, jewellery, and collectables. The 200 shoppers who came were in the mood to spend and crossed a lot of names off their Christmas list.

It Came From Hollywood – Adrian. Grand River Film Festival

Booth created by ‘Love in the Afternoon’ at The Vintage Marketplace, held at our new site, November 22

Now Playing…

Even though the museum won’t be opening its own galleries until Fall 2015, you can still see some of the collection in exhibitions during the year. Several pieces from the 1960s are currently on display in Politics of Fashion/Fashion of Politics at the Design Exchange in Toronto until January 25; Waist Management – A History of Unmentionables, will be on display at the Peel Art, Museum and Archives in Brampton until February 16; Waist Management will then be travelling to Elgin County Museum in St. Thomas, from May 11 – August 29. At Black Creek Pioneer Village this summer – Sporting Canada: 150 Years of Recreation, will be on display in honour of the 2015 Pan Am games. This exhibition will be on view from May to December, although the exact dates have not been set.

1960s pieces currently on display in “Politics of Fashion/Fashion of Politics’ at the Design Exchange in Toronto, until January 25

What’s Next

CSC Design Competition

The Grand Valley and Toronto chapters of “Construction Specifications Canada” are using our building as a case study for a student design competition. On friday, January 16, 160 students from Ryerson University are touring the site to assess how they might redesign the interior space for modern use.

Tastes of the Village

The Hespeler B.I.A. and the FHM invite you to Tastes of the Village – a special event featuring the fine foods of Hespeler on January 25, 1 – 5 p.m. Meet inside our new home for the FHM at the corner of Queen and Cooper Streets before heading off in groups to tour five eateries in a round robin of unique food and wine pairings. Participants include: The Brownstone Pub, Monty’s, The Naked Oyster, Eddie’s Roadhouse, and O&V Tasting Room. Cost for this event is $75.00 per person, with a portion of the proceeds going to the FHM, for which a tax receipt of $20 will be issued by request. Sign up soon as tickets are limited:

It’s A Cinch!

Join us during the month of March to make your own corset. For an hour each Wednesday evening (March 4, 11, 18, 25) designer Kerri Mercer of Black Orchid Designs, will guide you through the steps of tailoring a 1904 pattern for a riding waist-cinch to your own size. This is a beginner’s class but does require basic sewing skills and no fear of using a sewing machine. Instruction and all materials are supplied (any special outer material, if desired, is extra) Course fee is due by February 18 to ensure placement in course as space is limited. $300.00. Contact us at 519 267-2091 for reserving your space now.

2014 donations

2014 yielded some fantastic donations to the museum that included over 600 additions to the library and archives, and over 200 artifacts to the collection. Thanks to all our donors in 2014: Elizabeth Stoodley, Cambridge; Christian Hernandez, Halifax; Paul Federico, Toronto; Carrie Pollack, Waltham MA; Steve Posner, Kitchener; Darlene Mason, Cambridge; Jeff Reitzel, Kitchener; Sheldon and Judy Godfrey, Toronto; Pam Weber, Calgary; The York Pioneer & Historical Society, Toronto; Maggie Lyons, Toronto; Mary Robak, Skokie IL; Elizabeth Bramlett, Asheville, NC; Deb Van De Water, Cambridge; Lois and Jim Toms, Toronto; Frances Dafoe, Toronto; Arlena Dodd, Victoria; James Fowler, Toronto; Robert Doyle, Stratford; John & Ruth Gillett, Toronto; Izzy Camilleri, Toronto; Jane Livingstone, St. Jacob’s; Sonja Fijn, Toronto; Annette Mocek, Toronto; Joyce Warren, Burlington; Mary-Jane Enros, Montreal; Donna and John Kimberley, Beamsville; Jennifer Earle, Burlington; Sydney Carruthers, Waterloo; Dorothy Wilson New Hamburg; Deborah Woffendon, Montreal; Maxine Wood, Burtchville, MI; Katie Vernon, Branchton; Susan Walford, Alert Bay; Barbara Wilson, Victoria; Merrily Walker, Cambridge.

Donation highlights this year include: the library of a retired university fashion and design teacher that includes rare and important volumes and publications including several early 1900s Canadian corset manufacturer’s catalogues; A collection of important 18th and 19th century lace; 250 photographs of New York department store fashion displays from the 1940s; Black lace evening gown c. 1905 by William Stitt, Toronto; Selection of hats from Chicago milliner Raymond Hudd; Several 19th century garments with Canadian provenances including a purple silk reception dress from c. 1875 and an early hand woven shawl, c. 1840; French Couture from Balenciaga, Balmain, and Yves St. Laurent, as well as designer garments from Dior, Ungaro, Pierre Cardin, Pucci, Granny Takes a Trip, Pauline Trigere, and Larry Aldrich; Several excellent quality unlabelled hand made evening dresses from the 1920s and 1930s such as the sequined dress above, as well as some fun items from more recent years like a Go-Go helmet from 1966!

Donations can be sent to:
Fashion History Museum
PO Box 848
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 5×9

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……………..More exciting news to come. Stay tuned!