Friday, November 23, 2012

After Action Report: Hat, Hair and How Living History Cconference

Hat, Hair and How Living History Conference
November 3, 2012
The Frontier Women’s Living History Association conference was held on Saturday, November 3rd at Midland College in Midland, TX.  The event provided women Living Historians an opportunity to learn about Victorian hair styles from 1850-1880.  The agenda began with a presentation by Michael Fields, director of the Midland College Cosmetology department, who showed the participants how to create an accurate hair style from the Victorian era using items available today.  One highlight of the conference was that the cosmetology students of MC assisted each lady was in creating her own style .from the era of her choice.  Prior to coming to the conference, participants were encouraged to view a presentation developed by Ann Dixon on hairstyles of the time and located online at!3766
  Laughter and excited chatter filled the cosmetology center as hair and hair pieces were crimped, curled and attached. To record the lovely new looks, each lady had their portrait taken in a period setting by Kent Moss, photography professor and his student, Kirsten, in addition to a group shot outdoors in a natural setting.  Another treat was the opportunity to view and purchase some period appropriate fabrics and trims graciously brought out by the owner of a local store, Monograms by Essie.  Following a pizza and salad lunch, the ladies warmly welcomed Steven Porterfield, a textile expert with the Antiques Road Show, and his bag of treasures.  He is the owner of the Cat’s Meow, a must-see antique store in Midland which specializes in vintage clothing as well as antiques.  Steven encouraged the ladies to look closely at pictures of the time period as they thought about their impression – even to using a magnifying glass to see the hidden details.  He brought along a dress form wearing a beautiful gold silk dress from the 1860s with a Chantilly lace shawl.  This brought many Ooh’s and Ah’s from the participants.  The focus then shifted to hair combs, hats and bonnets.  The lovely items were passed around so that the participants could look at their construction details.  It was a marvelous learning experience to have a chance to inspect these lovely garments painstakingly made so long ago.  The conference ended with the drawings for door prizes donated by participants and Hancock Fabric.  The real treasure was an 1880’s fashion print that had been embellished with fabric and gems.  This was drawn by a volunteer from Ft. Davis NHS who excitedly offered to display it in the volunteer dressing room at the fort.  The participants then headed for their homes, many of them out of state.  The twenty attendees volunteer at historic sites including Ft. Griffin SHS, Historic Ft. Stockton and Ft. Davis NHS in Texas and New Mexico’s Ft. Selden and Ft. Stanton.  The conference was organized by Ann Dixon, Ethel Matthews, and Beverly Reeves of the Frontier Women’s Living History Association.  Many thanks go to Midland College for the use of their facilities, Michael Fields and the MC cosmetology students, Kent Moss and student, Kirsten, Monograms by Essie, and Steve Porterfield for making this an unique and informative conference. Ft. Griffin SHS assisted us with advertising and organizing needed materials.   The FWLHA will host another conference March 9 & 10, 2013 at Ft. Concho in San Angelo, TX.   View the FWLHA blog for information on that conference as the time approaches.

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