A Morning at the Western Reserve Historical Society

By the magic of twitter, this past weekend, Lisa and I found ourselves on a tour of The Western Reserve Historical Society(WRHS)! I am ashamed to admit that in almost 10 years of living in Cleveland, this was my first visit. I CANNOT BELIEVE ALL THE AWESOMENESS I HAVE BEEN MISSING!!

From the minute we walked in, my head was literally spinning trying to catch a glimpse of everything on display!

In the lobby of WRHS; GO TRIBE!!! 

Back in the days before I discovered the joys of jewelry, I used to LUUURVE cars. In fact, I was a little bit of a tomboy (shocking, I know!). WRHS has quite the extensive collection of vintage automobiles, and honestly, I wanted to climb inside very one!

Vintage cars are so much bigger than cars today, and yet they seem to be able to fit fewer people! Regardless, the details are breathtaking, and I almost wish that cars were designed with the same attention to detail and less plastic today! 

On the other end of the spectrum, WRHS also has an incredible collection of vintage dollhouses, and miniature displays that give you a sense of what it was like to live in the 1700s and 1800s! 

Can you imagine wearing white wigs and bonnets?

Of course the gardens are beautiful and a perfect location for a wedding, but if you decide to take your kids (or nieces or nephews), there's plenty for them to do too! There's an entire section called the KidZibits Family Education Center that allows kids to dress up and play with all sorts of toys. Even I got into the act, stirring up some fun!!

Lisa and I were primarily there to visit the Dior and More exhibit, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. WRHS has an extensive collection of designed apparel, originally worn by the high society women of Northeast Ohio, and this exhibit only scratches the surface of WRHS' entire collection.

Oh, what I wouldn't give to play dress up in WRHS' archives!! Look at all these fabulous outfits that represent so many decades!! My favorite looks came from the 20s and 60s. 

Did you know that the WRHS actually has two historical homes on its property? 

The Bingham Hanna house above has beautifully ornate ceilings and a MASSIVE fireplace (look at how little Lisa is compared to it!) 

The Hay-McKinney House below has beautifully ornate living rooms, dining rooms and a fully stocked kitchen! It totally reminded me of Downton Abbey! I could totally picture the Dowager Countess having afternoon tea with Cora while Mrs. Patmore and Daisy whip up some goodies down in the kitchen!

Did you also know that you can rent out all of the spaces shown in the two pictures above! I would LURVE to be invited to a fabulous cocktail party or dinner!!

So, if all of this WRHS talk has you wanting to visit, there are two FABULOUS fashion events that should consider attending. On October 4th and 5th, WRHS plays host to Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

Her talk on October 4th, titled Fetish: Fashion, Sex & Power explores how choices about fashion relate to sex and power. The talk will be followed by cocktails. I will be attending this event, and I absolutely CANNOT wait!! Tickets for this event are available here

On October 5th, Valerie will be changing gears a little to discuss Chanel and Her Rivals. While I am sadly missing this event, tickets are available here.

What an incredible event, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at such a gem of a location!! I cannot wait to go back!!!

Disclosure: I was offered 1 ticket to October 4th event in exchange for helping spread the word about these fabulous events. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Seriously, you MUST go visit the Western Reserve Historical Society! I regret all the exhibits I've missed in my 9+ years of ignorance!!! 

Exploring Cleveland: The Museum of Art

When did you last visit the Cleveland Museum of Art? If your answer is "summer of 2012" or earlier, you need to change this right away!!! A lot has changed over the past six months at the Museum-- the new atrium opened, there's a new cafe and a new restaurant, new art (of course), and most impressive of all, in late December, the Museum began to offer previews of their brand new Gallery One to its members!

N and I visited over Christmas break and had an absolute blast! As members of the Museum, we had the opportunity to preview the Museum's newest offering- Gallery One, which officially opens to the public today.

Gallery One is an interactive experience, with the Museum's entire collection available on an interactive touch-screen wall. You put your museum issued iPad (available for rental) or your own iPad on the dock, and pick your favorite pieces, and the artlens app (available for download on iTunes, but be warned, it takes a while to load that much info) will tell you interesting facts about those pieces. In the future, the app will actually direct you to where your favorite pieces are located around the museum, so you could do a very targeted visit to the museum if you choose!

The artlens app has other incredible uses as well: if you hold it up to a piece of art that is artlens activated, it will point you to things you should be looking at in the piece of art. For example, N and I were looking at a painting of a ship, and the artlens app directed us to the sails, and told us about the importance of the sail as a focal point in the picture. Very very cool, especially for someone who habitually fell asleep in Art History in college (ahem!).

The Gallery One section also has some fun features for kids- they can create their own artwork and build their very own gallery!

It was also my very first time seeing the new atrium-- wow, it is really impressive! It reminds me a little of the atrium at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, but bigger. 

It was really nice to see people milling around the atrium, just enjoying the space.

N and I also checked out the new Provenance Cafe, where I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to find they served....

The new restaurant Provenance has a really yummy looking menu, and although N and I didn't eat there, we both really liked the space. Its a safe bet that we're likely to enjoy dinner there some time in the very near future!

No visit to the museum would be complete with pictures of some of the art, and here are some of my favorite pieces: 

I want this chandelier in my house. 

Don't worry, I didn't miss the opportunity to bring a piece of the museum home with me:

my new Roy Lichtenstein calendar, which hangs in my cube at work

Like I said at the top of this post- if you haven't been to the Art Museum in the past few months, I hope you make the trip out to University Circle soon. Additionally, if you're not aware of this, in the past year, the Museum of Art launched a new affiliate program called Column & Stripe- In addition to behind-the-scenes looks at the Museum, they also host monthly social gatherings at the museum.

And finally, for those of you seeking to boost your civic involvement, Column & Stripe is seeking volunteers for positions in its various committees, so if that's something you're interested in, I urge you to visit the Column & Stripe website and contact Christina for more information on how you might go about applying for these positions!