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Jun 12, 2023 Washington D.C. —
The White House Historical Association debuts a new digital exhibit today in partnership with New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Something Old, Something New: Eight First Daughters' Fashionable White House Weddings, examines the wedding fashion and décor choices of eight first daughters.
The exhibit is the result of a semester long internship offered by the Association to support the work of a NYU Costume Studies student. The 2023 internship recipient, Jill Staricka, worked closely with the Association’s David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History and its Digital Library team.
Staricka created the exhibit using a mix of archival photography, illustrations, press clippings, and written first accounts, covering more than a hundred years in fashion history, from Maria Monroe to Tricia Nixon.
“Throughout the research process for this exhibit, I learned so much about how these women were involved in the process of designing and producing their wedding ensembles,” said Staricka. “I am very interested in the intersection of politics and fashion, especially in womenswear. Wedding fashion is a perennially popular topic, especially as the summer season begins, so I wanted to explore the stylistic choices of these eight women to showcase the changing modes and increasing national publicity of these wedding fashions.”
The digital exhibit features high resolution images with a zoom function, allowing visitors to engage closely with the wedding gowns, accessories, bouquets, and decor in the images.
“Jillian’s incredible work sheds a new and artistic light on White House history and provides us with another tool to teach and tell the rich history of the Executive Mansion through the lens of weddings,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association.
Jillian Staricka is a first-year Costume Studies MA student at New York University in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has a particular interest in fashion history of the nineteenth century and California. She is also currently working on an oral history project about AIDS and its impact on the fashion industry, specifically in New York City.
Staricka’s internship is from January to June, 2023.
For more information on the White House Historical Association, please visit www.whitehousehistory.org.
About NYU Costume Studies
Since 1979, NYU Steinhardt’s MA Program in Costume Studies has focused on the history of dress and textiles in its broadest aesthetic and cultural context. It was the first curriculum in the U.S. to educate specialists in this field. With a core of courses on the history of fashion and textiles, the program trains students in the research and analysis of the fascinating phenomenon of dress.
About the White House Historical Association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.