Tag Archives: greensboro

Greensboro Historical Museum

We spent a pleasant afternoon at the Greensboro Historical Museum, which is a lot more than just the holder of that fantastic Dolley Madison collection.  I’ve been to a lot of museums, big and small, and I’ve found that the measure of a good one is how it tells the story it sets out to tell.  In this case, it is easy; the story is the history of the City of Greensboro and the surrounding area.  And this little museum has a very good exhibition that tells that story with artifacts and interactive displays.

I always tend to focus in on the parts that tell women’s history and the history of textiles and clothing.  Above are pictured artifacts from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina.  Founded as a normal school in 1891, WC is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  At one time it was the largest college for women in the country.  Men were admitted starting in 1963.  My friend Carole who attended Women’s College before the name change still refers to UNC-G by the old name.

North Carolina is historically known for textiles, and Greensboro in particular is known for the production of denim.  There were interesting displays showing the large producers of the area – Blue Bell, the maker of Wrangler jeans, and Cone Mills, maker of denim fabric.

Considering the importance of textiles to the growth of Greensboro, I’d have expected a bit more about the industry.  But though the exhibit was small, there were lots of interesting things to see, and I learned a bit more about Cone.

There was a display on mill towns which included some photos and quotes about how children and education were valued.  Some mills provided kindergartens for the workers’ children.

On one floor the museum has set up a replica of some of the old town that has historical significance.  Writer O. Henry was a native of Greensboro, and he worked at a drugstore that was owned by an uncle.  He became a licensed pharmacist, a skill that helped him years later when he was imprisoned for embezzlement.  He was able to work in the prison hospital, away from the general prison population.

I can imagine that school groups really like this little town vignette, as it is a bit like going back in time.  There is also a hotel and a school with all sorts of things to explore.

There were a few exhibits that were a bit puzzling.  There was a room full of pottery from the Jugtown potters, which is not located in nor associated with Greensboro.  They also have a huge collection of Civil War guns that was exhibited in a very large area that prominently  displayed the names and portraits of the collectors.  Even my husband, who has a great interest in old firearms, admitted that it was gun overload.

I don’t know the circumstances of these items in the museum’s holdings, but one thing that many museums have to grapple with is the way their collections fit in with their mission statement.  I know that it must be difficult to say no to a donor, especially one who is also willing to donate money, but in this day and time when museums have moved beyond being mere cabinets of curiosities, it is important to stick to the purpose of the institution.  Personally, I’d have liked to see more of the Dolley Madison collection and less of the firearms.

As much as I love the great museums I’ve visited, I can’t say enough about the value of a museum like this one.  All places are unique, with interesting people and stories that need to be heard.  I urge you to seek out the small museums in your area and support them.



Filed under Museums, North Carolina

Ad Campaign: Faberge Woodhue, 1948

Back to School Woo 1948

Today’s ad campaign is a bit different.  Instead of a magazine ad I have a cologne blotter from Meyer’s Department Store in Greensboro, NC.  These fragrant little ads were picked up at the cosmetics counter.  Some department stores still offer them, but I’ve noticed that some have either done away with perfume blotters, or they are keeping them behind the counter for serious shoppers only.

Of course, the sleek and sophisticated designs of today can in no way compete with the charm of the College Set in their jalopy, or with a little girl with her bouquet of posies.




Filed under Advertisements

Design Archives – Greensboro, NC

Yesterday was a beautiful day to be out looking for vintage treasures, and it was made even better by a trip to Design Archives Vintage in Greensboro.  Design Archives is owned by Kit Rodenbough, who is a former designer and who chooses the store’s stock with a very experienced designer’s eye.

She also has a very large collection of vintage that is the “archive” – a source of design inspiration.  I was very fortunate that several years ago she allowed me to go though the archive in order to photograph the labels for the VFG Label Resource.   It was a significant contribution, containing some of the earliest examples of some labels that I’d ever seen.

This was my first visit to Kit’s new location on South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro.  Honestly, when I heard she was taking the store to Elm Street, I thought she had lost her mind.  But that’s because I had not been in downtown Greensboro in about three years.  I am happy to say that here is yet another Southern city that is reinventing its downtown shopping district, saving it from the neglect and decay that have occurred since the onslaught of the shopping mall.  There were shops open, people walking around, cafes spilling out onto the street!

So what can one expect to find inside Design Archives?  This trip I saw everything from that adorable Vera dress you can see in the window, to 1950s sundresses to a wide selection of vintage fabrics to Emilio Pucci.  In the past I’ve bought a Tina Leser swim cover-up and the best pair of mod purple and black shoes ever.  This trip I found a vintage 70s crocodile shirt with the Haymaker label – perfect with a 70s golf skirt and a pair of Tretorns.

So take a look inside Design archives and see for yourself:

And here are Julie Henderson the lovely shop assistant, Bogie the shopdog, and Kit,  and me, of course, in the mirror!

Help Needed Alert:

For a while in the 1970s, Kit designed a line of bodysuits – that 1970s leotard- with-a-snap-crotch.  The line was called Doll Rags.  She would love to hear from anyone who knows more about the line (its history from before and after her time there) and I would love to have a photo of the label for the VFG Label Resource.  Get in touch!


Filed under North Carolina, Shopping