Nov. 20, 2006 – The exhibition, which opens on the 17th March 2007, will detail the remarkable story of American heiresses who married into the aristocracy in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, and will be illustrated by a number of theatrical presentations. Of particular note will be the display of extravagant costumes from the era, including dresses from recent film adaptations of novels by Henry James and Edith Wharton, worn by the likes of Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman.
The exhibition will explore what prompted the Dollar Princesses to invade British high society, with particular attention given to the lives of the era’s most prolific figures including: Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston), Mary Leiter (Lady Curzon, Vicereine of India) and Consuelo Vanderbilt (The Duchess of Malborough).
Speaking of the new exhibition, the American Museum in Britain’s curator, Laura Beresford, elaborates: “Members of the Churchill family have really supported this exhibition by lending items that once belonged to Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston. Visitors will also have a great opportunity to see rare treasures and costumes not usually for public display.”
The Dollar Princesses exhibition also coincides with the launch of the American Heritage exhibition. Funded with a £450,500 Heritage Lottery Grant and hosted in the basement, the American Heritage exhibition will feature a comprehensive interpretation of American history over a 200-year period, from Colonial America to the 20th century.
The American Museum in Britain’s 2007 season runs from 17th March – 27th October. Entry is included with a museum’s ground ticket £5 adults, £4 senior citizens/students and £3 children. Open Tuesday to Sunday noon – 5.00pm, closed Monday’s except Bank Holidays and month of August.
For further information on the Dollar Princesses exhibition please visit the American Museum in Britain’s website at www.americanmuseum.org or call 01225 460503.
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About the American Museum
The American Museum in Britain is situated at Claverton Manor overlooking the Avon valley just outside Bath. Since 1961, it has been the only dedicated museum of Americana outside the United States celebrating the development of American decorative arts.
The museum is set amongst 120 acres of extensive and spectacular grounds that include a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Garden, a colonial herb garden, a large arboretum of rare American trees and two breathtaking walking trails.
About Dollar Princesses: American Heiress to Peeress in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain
The Dollar Princesses – a term, even adopted by the ladies themselves – had a considerable impact on European attitudes to America and also on the drawing room battles between ‘old’ and ‘new’ money back home.
“Dollar Princesses” recounts the triumphs and travails of American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy in the late 19th century, and will provide a rare opportunity to see a treasure-trove of objects on loan from private collections.
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