Winter Dress

In the winter months the White House is full of cold weather articles of clothing and warmth (pictured left) such as shawls, quilts and blankets, including a bright red shawl owned by Mrs. Davis.  In front of the fireplaces can be found banner screens, which in the colonial days served to protect the faces of those sitting in front of the fire from its direct heat, especially since many people used a heavy wax-based makeup to cover up scars and pockmarks, often incurred during bouts with disease.  This practical function of these banner screens (pictured right) had disappeared by the 1850s and 1860s as people no longer wore the same kind of makeup, but the screens themselves were still to be found in upper-class homes:  they had become primarily decorative, to display the wealth of the owners of the house, who also had the leisure time to cultivate the skills necessary to make these pieces.

Generally, winter dress is on exhibit from November through March, though there are no set dates of display. In addition to the winter articles, Christmas dress items are on display from late November through early January. You can also see what kinds of items are displayed during the summer months here. If you are planning a visit to the White House and want to know what will be on display, please contact the Museum prior to your visit and we will do our best to answer your questions.