Apron Chronicles at the Cowgirl Museum

Apron Chronicles is a large exhibit, comprised of 150 vintage aprons, 46 framed photographic portraits and accompanying storyboards. When hung, there isn’t always the space to show the “face” of Apron Chronicles, Miss Ada Florence Ashford. Fortunately, the Cowgirl Museum’s gallery layout allowed for Miss Ada’s portrait to greet guests upon their entrance to the exhibit. I was so thrilled to see Miss Ada in such a position of honor. Diana Vela is the museum’s exhibit’s registrar and curator – here we are at the portal to the galleryCowgirl_ea Diana [640x480]

Following months of conversation and preparation for my visit, I finally met Lauren Williams, Cowgirl’s research coordinator and artist “handler.”

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This is a photo of the exhibit, to the right of the entrance. From this perspective, everything looks so small, when in reality, the space is quite large and the exhibit fills every inch! What’s unique to this display is the vintage armoire, where aprons are hanging for visitors to try on.

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Here’s a close-up. One side is mirrored, which also serves to reflect the exhibit on the back wall. A great idea, which I’ll be certain to pass along to future venues.

Cowgirl_AC clothes closet closeup [640x480]

Cowgirl also managed to assemble chef-signed aprons for an apron raffle-off, the proceeds to benefit the museum’s educational efforts.

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Every museum and art center is unique, and Cowgirl is no exception. In this one photo, I tried to capture the incredibleness of the view from the second floor of the rotunda. The pictures of the women are actually 3-D glass portraits that change to new faces as you change position. I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve not done justice to how awesome it is.

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The second floor is devoted to the most imaginative displays, each celebrating the women of the American West.

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A new display is from Temple Grandin. She gave the museum her original drawing of the cattle ramp and one of her favorite shirts, which she embroidered herself. Immaculate, teeny stitches. Just beautiful.

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Between the docents’ gathering , gallery talks, members pre-opening, the loveliest luncheon and my Apron Memories presentation, I met many of Ft. Worth’s apronistas. I’d hoped my path would cross with one such, Margaret Acton, who had written me earlier that she planned to attend the Friday event. Well, she made it, along with a box of her mother’s exquisite handwork. I’m posting Margaret’s story about her talented mom and more photos on my website’s homepage.

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If you have an apron or domestic arts-goods story and photos to share, please do so through my website. I’m so pleased to celebrate the handiwork of the women who helped us to become who we are today.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. You’ve met someone wonderful in Margaret! She’s been a good friend forever and it was so nice to see that she met you, especially at that magnificent museum, which I visited a few years ago. Wish I could have seen your exhibit. I’m a big fan of aprons…my grandmother always wore one. And I love the old fabrics, being a collector of feed sacks. I’ll be following your blog.

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