Museums unveil new exhibit

Collection features antique wedding dresses worn by Placer County women
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County museums have something old, something new, something borrowed but nothing blue. A recently unveiled exhibit showcases wedding dresses worn by Placer County women throughout time. The dresses span eight decades from the Gold Rush era — the earliest dress is from 1868 — to the 20th century with the “newest” dress worn in the 1940s. Melanie Barton, Placer County museums administrator, said the “amazing” collection evokes viewers’ memories of their own special day. “With wedding dresses, we found they strike a chord not just with women, but also with men,” Barton said. “People have very clear memories of their own weddings and the wedding dresses they wore or their bride wore.” The 11 dresses in the museum’s collection were donated. The artifacts are divided among the Gold Country, Bernhard and Placer County museums. Barton said one of the highlights of the collection is that all of the dresses were worn by Placer County women, many of whom still have family who live in the area. “We thought it would really strike a chord with the community because many of our dresses were worn by Placer County residents,” Barton said. “We wanted to showcase the local history.” At the exhibits’ grand opening Thursday, Barton said a healthy crowd showed up to view the antique dresses. She said viewers included the dress-wearers themselves, who came along with their children and grandchildren. Great-great grandchildren also came to see the dresses their relatives had worn. “It was wonderful to hear these people reminiscing and talking,” Barton said. The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment. ---------- What: “Unveiled: The Placer County Museums Wedding Dress Collection” is a collection of 11 wedding dresses spanning eight decades. The exhibit includes accessories, wedding books and photographs. Items are divided among three county museums. Where: Placer County Museum, located on the first floor of the historic courthouse in Old Town Auburn. Open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Bernhard Museum, 291 Auburn Folsom Road, Auburn. Open Tuesdays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Gold Country Museum, 1273 High St., Auburn. Open Tuesdays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call: (530) 889-6500 for more information ---------