Woodruff-Fontaine has one of the most extensive Victorian era fashion to 1920’s textile collections in the South. We have over 4,100 pieces in our collection from wedding gowns to undergarments and everything in between. We change our displays several times a year, so there’s always something new to see.
Some highlights of our collections include an exquisite bustled wedding gown, which cost “thousands of dollars” in 1880, a black wedding gown worn by a 14-year-old bride in mourning, a very rare black silk maternity mourning dress, and a Worth gown. We also have many Edwardian lace tea dresses with intricately embellished bodices and a large collection of antique children’s clothing. Beautifully embroidered petticoats, corsets, stockings, shifts, nightgowns and robes complete our "unmentionables" collection.
Be sure to check our exhibition schedule below for the current showcase in the Woodruff-Fontaine House. Private tours of the collection may be arranged by calling or emailing.
2017 Annual Exhibit Schedule
Timeless Romance February 1-April 30: This romantic exhibition is beautifully set for spring with textiles in shades of pink and purple heralding the season of love! Tour all three floors to unlock the rules of Victorian courtship, understand the language of fans and flowers, and fall in love with the Woodruff-Fontaine's own historical love stories.
Southern Summers May 17- July 23: Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum invites you to celebrate all things “Southern Summers” with us! Take a closer look at some of our Southern customs and traditions that only happen during the dog days of summer. A collection of cool, crisp and “barely there cotton textiles will be on display throughout the museum. Catch "Wedding Belles" the exhibit June 2 - June 30.
Mourning Memphis September 1 - October 29: Yellow Fever is coming and we've shuttered up the mansion! In August We remember the martyrs and victims of the 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic. In September we bring out the dead. The house is in preparation for proper mourning as the Woodruffs and Fontaines are remembered. Our rare mourning textiles will be on display and you will learn just why the Victorians are notorious for romanticizing death! Catch "Yellow Jack" the exhibit August 4 - August 27.
Victorian Yuletide November 22 - January 7: Each floor has been trimmed and decorated for the Holidays! Spend a day filled with the spirit of the season! See the mansion lit by twinkling lights and enjoy the festive ambiance that only the beautiful, historic Woodruff-Fontaine House can provide. Each floor is trimmed with care and attention to the traditions of a Victorian Yuletide!