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CS Museum to feature bridal gowns in annual tour


Spring Into the Past Tour of Museums May 5 and 6

This 1940s style wedding dress, worn by Arlene (Shick) Wesche on her wedding day in 1950, will be on display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum May 5 and 6. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Beachwear, bustles, and bridal gowns! A variety of timeless “Fashions Through the Ages” will be visible in the museums of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network during their annual “Spring Into the Past” tour May 5 and 6. 

The Cedar Springs Historical Museum, which is part of the Tri-River network, will feature bridal gowns and wedding attire from 1890, 1910, the 1940s, and the 1970s.

“Last year we featured clothing from different time periods,” said Museum Director Sharon Jett. “But when this new wedding dress came in, we thought it might be a good time to feature the wedding dresses we have.”

The dress Jett referred to is a beautiful 1940s era wedding dress donated by the Wesche family. It was worn by Arlene (Shick) Wesche when she said, “I do!” to the love her life, August (Bud) Wesche, on June 23, 1950, at the First Baptist Church in Cedar Springs. They resided in Cedar Springs for 64 years, where they raised four children, Daniel, Linda, Gregg, and Sandra. The dress became a family heirloom, and was worn by both of Arlene’s daughters and a sister-in-law as well.

This 1890s era wedding attire doubled as a dress that could also be worn to church. Post photo by J. Reed.

The museum will also be showing two wedding dresses from 1890, both black. One was worn by the grandmother of Mike Race, and the other is a simple dress which could also be worn to church. “If a family wasn’t especially wealthy, they often bought a dress that was dark so they could also wear it as their Sunday best,” noted Jett.

The 1910 dress being featured is white. “It is reminiscent of the type often wore at graduation, and they also often got married in it,” explained Jett.

A 1910 wedding dress (hanging) and a 1970s wedding dress are also part of the display. Post photo by J. Reed.

A wedding dress from the 1970s will also be on display.

The museums on the tour are as versatile as the fashions, located in former vintage meeting halls, homes, stores and depots in small communities throughout the Tri-River Network in Barry, Eaton, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. All are eager to share the history of their community both past and present. 

During this annual event, all museums are open the same days and hours for visitor convenience. Scheduled tour hours are Saturday, May 5, from 11 am to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 6, from 12 to 5 p.m. 

Informational booklets are available at any museum or download from commoncorners.com. A handy map is included so you can pick an area and tour several museums on the same day. (Ada’s Averill museum is closed in 2018 for expansion and renovations.) 

Museums are free, but donations are always welcome! Visit TriRiver on Facebook, too.

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