V28: Preparing for Presentations on Historical Accessories

I’m quite excited to tell you that I have been asked to give a talk on historical hats at the Churchill County Museum in Fallon, NV, in March.  Time to study up on my hat history, 1850-1960!  A good place to start will be with Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970, by Susan Langley, a very useful book I picked up last year, and, well, any other resources I can get my hands on.  I do love researching 😀

I have also been asked if I would like to do a presentation on historical footwear, for a Ladies’ Tea in the Sacramento Area, in May.  YES!  I hope I am selected for this one, too, as I can talk about shoes all day…if you haven’t noticed 🙂

I don’t have much experience speaking in front of large groups, but I am passionate about the subject matter, and excited to talk about it.  Have you done any presentation on aspects of historical dress?  How did you overcome to jitters?


  • Jo

    January 28, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    It helps me to remember the audience is on my side. Your audience will be there because they want to hear what you have to say, so they'll roll with any small flubs. I'm sure both presentations will be go smoothly and be quite informative!

  • Thread-Head

    January 28, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Congratulations! I have no practical advice. I'm in the same boat. A symposium in March on 18th century fashion… and I don't even know what they specifically want me to talk about yet. You'll do a great job, I'm sure.

  • Allison

    January 28, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I've done a couple. I find being in character and costume makes it more fun. And I agree with Jo, people will be there because the want to be, and are going to be interested rather than judgmental.

  • Lynn Brooks

    January 29, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Take a deep breath and scan the room for a few "friendly" faces, these are the folks that look excited to have you there, it will almost feel like those folks are sending you positive energy, whenever you're feeling nervous, make eye contact with those people, it really helps.
    I've never done historical dress presentations, but I used to work as an educator for a haircolor company and had to do presentations weekly, and each and every time my stomache was in knots.
    the main things to keep in mind are 1) be well grounded in your info, which you will do fine with (nerves can make us forget things, if having index cards or notes will make you more comfy don't be afraid to use them)
    2)practice your presentation, it will not only make you more comfortable but will make your talk flow better on the big day.
    3)as your practicing watch out for a few things, like I have to be real careful about changing the tone of my voice, i get monotone when i'm nervous, and monotone voice loses folks attention. Take time to annunciate. watch for fidgeting too much (distracts audience).
    4) relax, have fun with it, and remember, you have something valid to offer the audience, they want to hear what you have to say. you come across in your blog as an accesable, friendly person, i think that will carry over in your presentation.

  • Dolly

    January 30, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    I'm more experienced in performing dance, but i believe it still applies that you look sillier doing something simple at 50% then doing something outrageous at 100%, so give it your all!

  • Julie

    January 31, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    Try and inject humor – there's a lot of ridiculous in historical fashion, both in anecdotes and in the objects themselves. Use it, and give people little tidbits of info that they can take home and share with an uninterested spouse.

    Good luck!!

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