The temporary exhibit, "A Style of Their Own: Clothing and Textiles of the Harmony Society," will be open until Aug. 10 and may be extended depending on the experience.
The exhibit, which opened May 8, features examples of rare clothing items from the 19th century worn by the Harmonists. One part of the exhibit is a series of 38 blue frock coats in three patterns, spanning 150 to 180 years old.
Buffington, a curator at Old Economy, said she is excited at any chance she gets to show the communalism of the Society.
"I want to show so much," said Buffington, a curator at Old Economy. "You just pick out the best ones and reduce it from there. I call them fireworks."
The Harmonists maintained their Swabian German clothing style, creating a unique appearance in America. But the Harmony Society was a major player in the textile industry in the early 19th century.
Buffington said they bred such a fine quality of sheep that they had to mix the wool with more common wool to create a fabric more salable to the population.
They also raised silk worms and silk moths, reeled the silk fibers from the cocoons, and wove the silk into ribbons and cloth rivaling that made in Europe and China.
The silk cloth won many competitions, and people everywhere inquired the Society about how to make silk, Buffington said.
The clothing and rare silk textiles the Harmony Society made are featured in the exhibit. One rare item on display is the silk velvet coat worn by Harmony Society founder and leader George Rapp. The outfit won third place in last year’s Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Most Endangered Artifact Contest. With donations raised during the contest and afterwards, Old Economy Village was able to conserve the coat.
Also on display are different examples of male and female clothing worn on Sundays and for work, women's hats and capelets, fabrics from the Jacquard loom and even a baby doll dress.
Because of the light sensitivity of the items on display, Buffington said the exhibit will only be up for a short time.
For several years, Old Economy Village planned the exhibit, made possible through grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and Dominion Gas.
"It's very excited to finally have these items on display. Make sure you stop by and see this fabulous and rare exhibit before it closes."
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