January 31, 2009

Texas First Ladies Collection

You know, part of the joy of and the impetus to become your friendly neighborhood Dentonista was to avoid "local malaise".
Know what I mean? Friends come to town and you don't know what to do with them in town (because you can't think of what you do in town), so you end up schlepping to Dallas or Ft. Worth.

Or worse, friends from out of town say, "Denton? Cool! Have you been to/done XX?!" And you have to mumble, "Er, no." Cause why? Because subconciously you think, "Oh yeah, I'll check that out later. There's plenty of time." But later never comes. (True story - I was fourteen [14!!] before I took the Circle Line cruise around the Statue of Liberty. I've still never been inside the Statue of Liberty and, I think, I've only been to the Museum of Natural History once. Pitiful. I am determined not to repeat the mistakes of my youth.)

I also hate missing out on things. You know I made it to The Funky Eclectic before they closed, but I missed the Southern Fried Pie Company and, apparently, the bison tamales at the Cupboard. And, that's a shame.

So, I've heard about Texas Woman's University's (TWU) Texas First Ladies collection for years and never checked it out. Until this summer... I enlisted the company (and camera - mine was on the fritz) of another Dentonista and headed over to TWU's beautiful campus. I want to note, when I called TWU for directions, they were incredibly helpful, and parking was free and close!

Assembled in 1940 by the Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution(DAR), the gown collection now belongs wholly to TWU, and is located on the 2nd floor of TWU's Administration Conference Tower (right next to the historic Hubbard Hall). The exhibit displays 17 (of the collection's 46) gowns and corresponding mini-bios for the former owners at any given time, and members of the Benjamin Lyon Chapter of the DAR act as docents and provide other support for the collection. That's an interesting little tie in too, isn't it? Want one more? While I was there, Laura Bush's (Texas) inaugural gown was on display. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, you will certainly agree she was a dull dresser. What you may not know, which that gown amply demonstrates, is that she has an amazing figure, and that makes her satorial blandness a near crime. Let's hope she feels free to cut loose, now that she's out of the White House. Girl certainly could rock some fun threads, and she deserves a rest. Meanwhile, you can use these dresses as historical proof that some Texas first ladies really put on the dog. I certainly hope there are some 80's gowns on display for you, my dears. They were outstanding!

Believe your Dentonista when she tells you, it's worth a trip to TWU just to park and walk around the campus. Be sure to see the Little Chapel in the Woods, the Library, and the gardens. Add this free, historical, and pro-woman exhibit and you have a nice little afternoon.

What more could you want?


Anonymous said...

And the TWU Library is a must for readers and writers, Dentonistas and not.

Thanks for the tip on the Collection, as well as all the other Denton details you give us.

Melissa H. -- Dentonista wannabe

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentonista said...

Thank you for your feedback Melissa. Knowing people read it keeps me writing this blog!