Aprons; They’re Not Just For Men Anymore  

The Door County Historical Society will host its Saturday afternoon yesteryear programming “Aprons: They’re Not Just For Men Anymore” and will be presented by Virginia Feld Johnson on Saturday, July 29 at 2:00 in the one-room Vignes School at the Heritage Village at Big Creek. Guests are encouraged to bring their aprons to show and tell about their history.

Defining an apron as clothing that protects the body from harm or from prying eyes, aprons could be said to have their beginnings with Adam and Eve. However, it was during the Middle Ages that they came to the fore as men began wearing them in colors reflecting status and occupations such as blacksmithing. Aprons worn on ship by our immigrant grandmothers and for the next 150 or more years tell the story of life in Wisconsin and beyond.

“When asked what piqued your interest to research and write about your topic?” Virginia quickly responded, “A chance college assignment over 50 years ago and the bra burning on the streets of New York at the same time prompted me to question why bras and not aprons. One paid $1.00 for a good bra at Prange’s in the early ‘60s and aprons were far more visible in tying women and girls together.” Some years later she realized that she had 50 or more aprons and started thinking about what they represented.

Virginia Feld Johnson is a teacher and librarian who joined the business world after retirement. Johnson explains, “Being my mom’s daughter and living next to my grandma, I’ve been into genealogy and local history since I was 9.” She co-founded a research center that won the Governor’s Award in 2005, and has authored or co-authored six books on Kewaunee County, specifically Algoma, maintain a Kewaunee County History blog, do Snapshots in Time for the Star-News, and do many historical programs in the tri-county area.” Virginia is an active member of the Door County Historical Society who volunteers at many festivals and is lending her research skills and knowledge to the “Chenille Bedspread” exhibit, opening in September.

The “Apron” program will be held on Saturday, July 29, at 2:00 pm in the Vignes School at the Heritage Village at Big Creek, at 2041 Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay. This program does not have an admission fee, but a free will offering will be taken to support the Heritage Village at Big Creek. The Heritage Village at Big Creek is an interpretive site of the Door County Historical Society and is open prior to the presentation, and on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 until 3; Adult Heritage Village admission is $6.

The Door County Historical Society’s next lecture in the Yesteryear series will be “Peil Family History” on Saturday, August 6 at 2:00 pm in the Collins Learning Center, located next to the Heritage Village at Big Creek. For additional program information contact the Door County Historical Society at (920) 421-2332, www.DoorCountyHistoricalSociety.org, or email Director.DCHistoricalSociety@gmail.com

Founded in 1926, the Door County Historical Society keeps history alive for future generations through the collection, preservation and sharing of the heritage of Door County. The Society is a membership organization that operates two interpretive sites: Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park and the Heritage Village at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay.

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