Press Release

Historical Society’s Major Costume Exhibit
Made Possible by Brooks Brothers!


The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society of Port Washington is very pleased to announce its upcoming major exhibit, “Costume & Culture,” opening on Saturday, October 24 and running through February 2016. Made possible through the generous sponsorship of Brooks Brothers, the exhibit will feature historic garments presented in context with their heritage and history. There will be more than 65 full garments displayed throughout the historic Sands-Willets House in addition to countless accessories and supporting graphics.

Selections from the Society’s collection will include a wide variety of garments including a full century of wedding dresses dating from 1874 to 1974. These will be accompanied by our 3 historic men’s wedding outfits, marriage licenses, and a present-day 2015 Brooks Brothers’ seersucker tuxedo. Our dresses from the late 18th century through the roaring 1920s will be featured, along with wonderful hats, vintage purses, parasols, corsets, lingerie, and much more.

The first room on the tour will be the Brooks Brothers Gallery where we will be displaying Brooks-made garments including Abraham Lincoln’s Replica Great Coat, John Philip Sousa’s Parade Coat, a beautiful NYS Cavalry uniform, and a selection of items from the Brooks Brothers’ archive.  Informational panels have been designed for these items, including graphics panels explaining the relation between Brooks Brothers’ founder Henry Sands Brooks and the Sands Family, and a selection from their store’s historic timeline.  Two Brooks Brothers costumes from the 2013 movie, The Great Gatsby (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) will be on display in the 1920s Room along with numerous dresses from that decade.

Our two parlors will feature styles that led up to the 1920s, featuring 17 dresses dating from the late 1700s up to the 1910s. Shirtwaist blouses and skirts will be shown, along with explanations of the technological changes that occurred by the turn-of-the-century, culminating in a description of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911.

Sports and leisure activities influenced our American fashion tremendously, and we have some lovely examples, including a turn-of-the-century era women’s tennis dress, croquet dress, and cycling suit. Ball games and water sports will be represented. Lingerie dresses, those gauzy day dresses women wore in the summer with their parasols as they strolled, will be shown.

A display of women’s undergarments and nightwear will be presented, along with all accessories: both women’s and men’s decorative hats, women’s shoes, fans, purses, men’s grooming gear, wraps, and more.

Docent-led tours and an open exhibit will run every Saturday from October 24 through February 2016. The tours will be led by knowledgeable docents who will discuss the relationship between history and fashion. Group tours will also be available by appointment. Tickets will be sold online beginning September 24, 2015. The exhibition is in a historic building and is not wheel-chair accessible. 

For more information, please see our website ( or contact Joan Lager, Curatorial Administrator:  516-365-9704

Please remember The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society in your will or trust. 
We are a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt 
under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).
Copyright Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society. 
All Rights Reserved.

The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society
336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050-4530
(516) 365-9074  .