Historical authenticity, narrative interpretation and the mnemonic experience: measuring the impact of costume-based artwork in dress handling sessions within the museum environment.

PhD Thesis


Holmes, L. 2021. Historical authenticity, narrative interpretation and the mnemonic experience: measuring the impact of costume-based artwork in dress handling sessions within the museum environment. PhD Thesis https://doi.org/10.48773/981w1
AuthorsHolmes, L.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

This study has been developed from the perspectives of both an artist and an educator so as to create an immersive, memorable and instructive experience for audiences through the creation of interactive replica dress pieces. The research explores how its practical outcome - a multisensory, narrative, dress-based artwork: A Conversation with Mary’s Dress - could be used in a museum education context, alongside or even replacing the study of original items of dress in order to research and experience fashion as social history, while protecting fragile originals. This artwork allows viewers to investigate the dynamic interaction between dress and disease as revealed by deep investigation of a surviving Eighteenth Century gown worn by Mary Graham during her final illness and just before her death from tuberculosis in 1792. The replica dress that constitutes the artwork allows viewers to handle, touch and explore interactively a dress that essentially reproduces the original. This process engages, educates and inspires the viewer in ways that are simply not possible when only the original is available for examination. In addition to and like the dress, a fabric based pocketbook and heart and lungs contain embedded sound-spots that allow viewers to experience and follow the full story of the making of the replica artwork, Mary Graham’s treatments and her subsequent death from tuberculosis. The entire work, then, rewards curious hands and minds through sharing its rich history by way of a multisensory experience.
This project has developed from and builds upon the researcher’s past work in this field as a costume designer making items for a wide range of productions, including costumes for museums and heritage sites based on the study of collected originals from across the world. This is to complement current and past practice within the field of dress in the context of history, art and the museum. The enhanced sensory experience for audiences created by this interactive replication of original fashion, was tested and evaluated, as demonstrated here in the audience survey responses. The approach has facilitated highly positive experiences and, at the same time, passed on to audience’s new information in innovative ways. That has also created a tool, which has the potential to shape future dress handling educational programs.

KeywordsEighteenth Century gown; Mary Graham; tuberculosis
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.48773/981w1
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License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Aug 2022
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/981w1/historical-authenticity-narrative-interpretation-and-the-mnemonic-experience-measuring-the-impact-of-costume-based-artwork-in-dress-handling-sessions-within-the-museum-environment

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