A Note From the Curator
In my early years, my great-grandmother Enid lived with my family. I remember her always having a stash of soft batch cookies in her nightstand and telling my mother stories in the kitchen for hours at a time. In my single-digit-years, I had no context for my grandmother’s stories that so riveted her granddaughter-in-law, such as being dubbed ‘Miss Vogue’ in the late 1920s. As an adult with Enid long gone, I realize the ‘moonshine’ she spoke of had nothing in common with my favored evening bedtime story. But aside from the sensationalist stories of tub-manufactured cocktails, what was my great-grandmother’s world like during the Prohibition?
The culmination of cultural shifts- such as patterns of consumption, the rise of leisure time, changing gender norms, or family planning- made the 1920s a decade of female “fashioning,” as well as an era of distinct female “fashion.” Enid’s penciled-in brows and peroxide blonde speak volumes about women’s fashion without showing a single stitch.
The first goal of Ready to Roar is to exhibit the materials that shaped the culture of American women during the Prohibition. Often the public imagination jumps to images of men in organized crime and law enforcement. However, The Mob Museum actively tries to give a voice to the women involved in this chapter of American history; this exhibition is the next step.
The second goal of this project is to see if it is possible to curate an exhibition without a dedicated collection on the subject. How do you curate an exhibition without a collection? Collaboration.Ready to Roar is absolutely a work of collaboration. The project is indebted to all of the regional institutions that have helped in the process. Additionally, we wanted to examine the potential for utilizing social media to fill an exhibition, or identify objects that would make a valuable addition to The Mob Museum’s permanent collection.
Finally, Ready to Roar is an excuse to assemble a collection of beautiful fashions from an iconic age that continues to capture the imagination of people all over the world. Does it need any more justification than that?
We look forward to seeing you at Ready to Roar this fall.
Evan M. Casey
Student Curator of Ready to Roar
Public History GA
University of Nevada, Las Vegas