March 4, 2010 – May 1, 2011
Throughout history, humans have adorned their bodies in order to transform their appearance. Transforming one’s appearance --whether permanently or temporarily-- can be achieved by altering the body itself or by adding something to it. How and why people adorn themselves may be dictated by personal aesthetics, social status or rank, religious or spiritual beliefs, group identity, the natural environment, or the need for self-expression manifesting itself in a variety of different methods and materials.
These methods have included tattooing, branding, shaping, and surgically enhancing the human body. Materials can also be used and come in the form of accessories, jewelry, piercings, paint and cosmetics, hats, wigs, and clothing.
While clothing provides a basic function, such as to provide warmth and protect the body, it also has social and cultural importance, yielding yet another means for adornment and self-expression. The use of patterns, dyes, beads, fur, hair, and embroidery alters the appearance of clothing, transforming an article of function into one of aesthetic appeal.
Ultimately, personal adornment transcends necessity and reflects the history, culture, and environment of the individual.
The exhibit features artifacts from the museum’s collections such as Native American headdresses, moccasins, hats, and cradleboards; European and North American dresses, purses, wedding gowns; and Asian robes and ceremonial dress. Students from Riverside Community College, Department of Cosmetology will recreate make-up and hairstyles inspired by different periods in history to be on display in the exhibit. Body art will also be showcased featuring Mehndi (henna) art work by Riverside artist, Debi Reiser and tattoo works by artists Aaron Funk and Brent Vann from Tattoo Revolution.