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Dressed for Eternity: Mid-nineteenth Century Burial Dress in Louisiana

Exhibition Dates: September 2011 - July 2012

Dressed for Eternity:  Mid-Nineteenth Century Burial Dress in Louisiana featured burial clothing recovered from cast iron coffins located in St. Joseph Cemetery in Thibodaux, Louisiana, as well as replication garments based on archeological evidence.  The period garments were that of two adult women and a young female and male and included: a lady’s nightgown, undersleeve, chemisette, and  petticoat; a male burial shroud (a burial-specific garment similar to a nightgown), dress shirt, and bow tie; and a girl’s dress, bonnet, and shoes with gold-embossed angels.  
Period postmortem photographs were used to illustrate dress of the deceased and its relationship to the two most prevalent death metaphors of the time:  when buried in nightwear, death was depicted as eternal sleep while street wear presented death as a long journey.









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