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Spring Fashion & Textile Symposium: Stories in Fiber

Saturday, April 27 | 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Join us for our Spring Symposium!

Genesee Country Village & Museum is excited to announce the first program in our 2024 Fashion & Textile Symposium Series! This day of lectures will feature four exciting presenters, hosted by John L. Wehle Gallery Curator Brandon W. Brooks. The theme for this spring’s symposium is stories in fiber. 

Access to all four fashion and textile-related lectures is included in the price of admission, along with a prepared boxed lunch of your choice. A continental breakfast of coffee, tea, orange juice, water, and pastries will be present upon arrival. At the end of the day (from 3 – 4 p.m.), guests will have the opportunity to enjoy staff-led explorations behind the scenes in the John L. Wehle Gallery vaults which house the renowned Bruce & Susan Greene Costume Collection.

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. for in-person attendees, and virtual attendees will see programming beginning at 10 a.m. 

Opening Speaker

Brandon W. Brooks – Curator of the John L. Wehle Gallery

Our opening speaker, Curator Brandon W. Brooks, will begin the symposium by presenting “Across the World in a Paper Dress: Kapa Cloth in Early 19th-century Western Garment”

This talk will explore the origins and makeup of a Kapa or Tapa cloth 1830s day dress, from the collections at Rochester Museum & Science Center.  In-person views of this dress will complement an examination of how Kapa or Tapa cloth was created in 19th-century Hawaii, how this tradition is kept alive today, and how this material made its way into Western garments. Specific markings of Kapa cloth and their particular associations will also be highlighted in this exciting talk.    

About Brandon:

Brandon W. Brooks has been Curator of the John L. Wehle Gallery since March of 2020. Brandon works with over 400 years of European and American sporting and wildlife art, and over 300 years of fashion and textile material culture – notably, the Bruce & Susan Greene Costume Collection housed in the John L. Wehle Gallery.

In April of 2023, Brandon presented “Connecting Threads: Historic Fashion Collections as an Avenue to Increase Accessibility and Regional Institution Collaboration” at the Museum Association of NY Annual Conference. 

Since taking on the role of Curator, Brandon has debuted three exhibits working with both of these collections, as well as incorporating collection items from across the state of New York: 

Second Speaker

Nellie Ludemann, Executive Director for the Seneca Falls Historical Society

Our second speaker, Nelie Ludemann, will present “Il Mulino delle Donne: Knitting and Textiles in Seneca Falls” 

The Seneca Knitting Mill has always been a prominent landmark in the Seneca Falls community since construction finished on it in 1844. Through its life, it has been a place of employment, advancement, and change inside the small Canalside village of Seneca Falls. Il Muino delle Donne: Knitting and Textiles in Seneca Falls explores the history of this important fixture of the community and looks at real accounts of the culture inside the mill from a female perspective.

About Nellie: 

Nellie Ludemann is the Executive Director for the Seneca Falls Historical Society and has been with the historical society for over four years, first as the educator and now as the director. While in her educator role, she had the opportunity to expand the historical society’s educational programs for children and create new opportunities for students inside the museum. Her favorite thing about the museum is its rich collections that showcase the life of the family that lived inside the museum but also the history of the surrounding area of Seneca Falls.

Break for lunch!

This exciting day of lectures will be broken up by a delicious lunch hour, complimentary with your ticket purchase! A continental breakfast of coffee, tea, orange juice, water, and pastries will also be present upon arrival, and beverages will be available to guests throughout the day.


Chicken Salad on a Croissant Roll

Turkey & Bacon Ranch Wrap 

Vegetable Garden Salad (vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free)

When purchasing your ticket, you will be able to make your lunch selection. 

Third Speaker

Angela Burnley, Textile & Fashion Researcher and the Owner of Burnley and Trowbridge Company

Our third speaker, Angela Burnley, will present “‘Just Imported from London…a large assortment of calicoes & printed cottons’ : Transatlantic Fashion Taste in the Mid 18th Century”

As a textile historian Angela searches constantly for primary sources. She relies heavily on textile samples from manufacturers, scraps hidden in letters and diaries, ships logs, and primary writing that corroborates her findings. Beginning in 2011, she had the unique opportunity to study a collection of textile scraps left as tokens from the London Foundling Hospital dating mostly from the 1750’s into the early 60’s. The time spent with this collection provided one of the chief kingpins of her research going forward.

Using the Foundling collection this lecture seeks to demonstrate the variety of printed textiles that were available to the average consumer in England and likewise in the Colonies in the mid 18th century. Supported by visual and written documentation it will explore the various designs, fibers and fashion influences that were not only desired by all levels of English society but by the Colonists as well.

About Angela:

Angela Burnley is a Textile & Fashion Researcher and the Owner of Burnley and Trowbridge Company, a Historical Textile business based in Williamsburg. She holds a degree in Interior Design from the University of Cincinnati and practiced her discipline as well as taught at the New York Institute of Technology prior to co-founding B & T. As an independent researcher focusing on textiles of the 18th century. She has studied in collections here and abroad as well as lectured and taught on the topic. She most recently completed a Fellowship with Winterthur Museum where she focused on the work of Florence Montgomery.

Final Speaker

Rabbit Goody, Owner, Designer, and Master Weaver of Thistle Hill Weavers

Our final speaker, Rabbit Goody, will present “Unraveling the Mysteries of Woven Histories”

This talk will explore the good, the not so good, and the disasters. The process we use for reproducing historic clothing fabric is often so out of the box we don’t know where it will lead us. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes not. The journey to reproduce fabric from a surviving piece of cloth, or an image is one of being both detective and problem solver. We know that we cannot replicate or reproduce fabrics with accuracy beyond the availability and limitations of today’s yarns, dyes, and modern equipment, but we can often come close enough to make things acceptable for their purpose.

About Rabbit:

Rabbit Goody is a textile historian and weaver. Her studio, Thistle Hill Weavers, has been recreating historic textiles for museums, private homes, and the film industry for over 40 years.

Take a look behind the scenes!

Explore the Gallery Textile Vaults

At the end of the day (from 3 – 4 p.m.), guests will have the opportunity to enjoy staff-led explorations behind the scenes in either the John L. Wehle Gallery vaults which house the Bruce & Susan Greene Costume Collection. 

Ticket Information


General Public: $85

Museum Member: $75

Museum Professional: $70



General Public: $40

Museum Member: $35


Is there ample parking?

Yes! Park in any of the main lots at the front of the Museum, and please leave the first two bays available for handicap parking. 


Where do I check in?

Check-in will be in the Meeting Center Lounge, to the right of Admissions. Go through the white double-doors and follow the signs. 

How do I show my purchased tickets?

Please have your ticket(s) either printed out OR pulled up on your phone screen and ready for scanning for quick and easy check-in. Pro-tip: take a screenshot of each of your tickets to have ready and pulled up on your phone screen! Please note: Wifi can sometimes be spotty at the front of the Museum. 

is this event rain or shine?

Yes! While there will be some walking at the end of the day to tour the Art Gallery, this event is mainly held indoors. The Museum will only cancel in the case of a severe weather emergency. 

I am a virtual attendee, how will I access the program?

Thanks for choosing to join us virtually! Virtual attendees will receive a YouTube Live link in the days prior to the event with which they can access the live stream. The live program will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 27. A digital moderator will be available to all virtual attendees to field questions, comments, and concerns. 

How will I get my lunch?

Lunches will be arranged by last name, alphabetically, in the Meeting Center Lounge. 

If you did not make a lunch selection, we will have a limited variety for you to choose from. If you have food allergies, please feel free to bring your own bag lunch to enjoy. 

Can I bring my dog?

Leashed service animals are welcome with proper identification. 

What if I need a refund for my ticket?

Tickets may be refunded only up to 7 days prior to the event date and are strictly non-transferable by date, entry time, or program. 

What else will be open?

As this event falls during our “Spring Cleaning” time, the Historic Village, Nature Center Building and Trails, Depot Restaurant, Freight House Pub, and Flint Hill Gift Shop will all be CLOSED to visitors. 

What time should in-person attendees check in?

In-person attendees can check-in anywhere between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Will there be a Fall Fashion & Textile Symposium?

Yes! Our 2024 Fall Fashion & Textile Symposium will be coming up on Saturday, November 9. Stay tuned for more information! 

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