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Fashion Historian to Speak at Museum

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November 03, 2017

Fashion Historian to Speak at Museum of Old Newbury

Newburyport, MA – November 2, 2017: Explore the fascinating and seductive world of corsetry on Thursday, November 9 with fashion historian Lois Valeo.  Valeo returns to the Museum of Old Newbury for her annual "Girls' Night Out!" illustrated lecture.  The program is free and open to the public, and will begin with a reception at 6:30pm, followed by Valeo’s presentation at 7:00. 

Over the course of the evening, Valeo will address a number of questions regarding historic corsetry: Why did women squeeze themselves into steel or whalebone corsets for over 400 years?  Why did they choose to constrain their bodies with elaborate contraptions, ignoring comfort and inviting pain?  Why were women so eager to embrace the ideals of youth and beauty?  Were they foolish?  Vain?

To answer these questions, Valeo turns to art, advertisements, historic accounts, cartoons and caricatures, and to corsets themselves.  The program will trace the development of the corset over several centuries, showing how this once-ubiquitous undergarment both influenced and reflected changing ideas of women’s beauty and status.  A number of corsets from the museum’s collection will be on special display for the evening. 

To make a reservation (recommended due to limited seating) for “Corsets” or for more information, contact the Museum of Old Newbury at 978-462-2681 or email  The museum is located at 98 High Street in Newburyport.  This program is sponsored in part by the Institution for Savings.