Behind the scenes: Fancy Dress

Peek behind the scenes of the Fancy Dress exhibition

Preparing the Fancy Dress exhibition in the Conservation section of Libraries Tasmania at the State Library and Archives building in Hobart was a team effort. Conservation staff started preparing in September 2022, and the major project took off in January this year.

Stephanie and Gaynor worked with Fancy Dress: From tutus to cosplay exhibition co-curator Penny Carey-Wells with volunteer help from Miff Fry, Essie Wells-Cooper and Julie Kaja.

Gaynor and Penny putting the reproduction photographs in the “acrylic sandwiches”. There were 13 of these to install, requiring three people.

Eileen Allport’s costume was carefully padded with polyester wadding, acid-free tissue and parsilk.

The Conservation area became the ‘Costume department’. The tutus had to be steamed by the maker, Kristen Hynes before installation.

Display case layouts were developed to provide good support for the fragile Beattie Jordan photo albums and scrapbooks held in the Tasmanian Archives. The fan supports were also created.

The frog costume had to be packed out, a wine stain fabricated from paper and all the items and props taken from Conservation level to the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts on Level 1.

And finally, the ramp case display in the Library Foyer was constructed, with much cutting out around dancers, and installed.

We had a constant stream of contributions to create the installations in the museum rooms and display cases from children’s toys, ballet shoes, music box decanters, great-grandmama’s fans to our children’s dance costumes!

If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, please visit the Allport soon – the Fancy Dress: From tutus to cosplay exhibition runs until 29 July.

By Stephanie McDonald, Conservator, Libraries Tasmania.