Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

David Benac

Second Advisor

Patti Borrello

Third Advisor

Amanda Sikarskie


The Importance of Preserving History: The Conservation of an Edwardian Wedding Dress

This thesis concentrates on the significance of recorded history, and the importance of conserving artifacts such as an Edwardian wedding dress. Such treasured pieces contribute to our perception of the past, not only as artifacts but as an insight into how, why, and by whom, they were created.

The Edwardian period is so important in women’s fashion because it was such a short-lived era. The socio-economic times that preceded the Edwardian era, such as the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era, all had profound impacts which helped influence the evolution of women’s fashion. Fashion has, throughout history, been inspired by many influential authorities, including social status and the houses of haute couture, leaving women with creations ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime.

The cut of the sleeves, the length of the hems, necklines and even choices of materials and colors used, all played a significant roll in the progression of fashion. Undergarments too, such as the corsets and bustles also followed a systematic progression. As the ever-changing flow in the development of women’s fashion culminated in the Edwardian dress, World War I changed the world of fashion completely. This left the Edwardian era as the last bastion of the grand fashion creations.

Just as the Edwardian era fashions were shaped by history, so in turn the Edwardian era, and the World War that marked its end, helped influence rapid changes in fashion through the need for convenience, freedom of movement, and the emergence of a more independent woman. The roaring 20’s arrived, and fashion would never look back at the elegance and detailed craftsmanship, such as that exhibited in Edwardian fashion, ever again.

The step-by-step explanation of the conservation shows how this Edwardian wedding dress was rescued from the ravages of time, and the procedures that were followed in it’s conservation toward it’s eventual display.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access