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Blake Art Gallery to feature "The styles of UMFK's 125 years"

October 10, 2003


The University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery will be featuring an exhibit entitled "The styles of UMFK's 125 years". Clothing fashions and hair designs popular throughout UMFK's 125 year history will be on display from October 22 through November 21.

The display will feature the styles for each decade beginning from 1890 to present with the emphasis on mostly women's styles as men's clothing didn't see a major change until the 1960's. Captions will be placed below the works that will give gallery viewers a look at what life was like at that decade in time and what major events took place during the ten year span.

Sofia Birden, gallery curator, was searching for a theme for an exhibit that would be appropriate during UMFK's 125th anniversary. Melissa Jandreau, a junior in UMFK's elementary education program and a licensed cosmetologist, came up with the idea for the exhibit because of the drastic changes in fashion over the years. Jandreau is a work- study student at the library and she showed enthusiasm for the project so Birden entrusted the organization of the exhibit to her.

"I did a lot of research about fashions and hairstyles by interviewing many of the elderly people within our community," said Jandreau. "I spoke with individuals at Forest Hill Manor, many of whom are ninety to one-hundred years old, to find out what fashions were popular during their life-span, and I also did extensive research on the internet."

Jandreau enjoyed putting the exhibit together. "The research taught me a great deal about the Acadian culture, especially back in the 1890's, how women were perceived and how some of the same perceptions hold true with some people today," said Jandreau.

"I am a descendent of the Acadians and was surprised to learn how hard the women worked on the homestead, taking care of the children, cleaning the home, tending the garden, feeding the animals and making the home pleasant and trouble free for the man when he returned from working in the woods," said Jandreau. "It was expected that the man should not have to worry about any of those things when he arrived home for the weekend. It is amazing how many people still think that way."

Also featured in the fashion exhibit is a display of the T-shirts that have been created for the university's spring melt-down celebration over the years.

The exhibit may be viewed during regular library hours. For more information contact Birden at 834-7527.