The Indiana Insider Blog

Downton Abbey Fashions on Display in South Bend

This is a guest blog provided by Marilyn Thompson, Director of Marketing at The History Museum in South Bend.


Step into the world of Downton Abbey®, the show that won your heart and captured your imagination, with a visit to Dressing Downton™: Changing Fashion for Changing Times. This exhibition is a must-see!


Opening at The History Museum in South Bend on October 15, Dressing Downton features 36 dazzling from the British hit drama Downton Abbey. The fashions reflect the eras of Downton Abbey, from the Edwardian Period to the Jazz Age. Worn by Downton Abbey’s Crawley family and their servants, the costumes were created by the renowned London costume house, Cosprop Ltd. From Lady Mary’s intricately-beaded evening gowns to Lord Grantham’s exquisitely-tailored suits, you can experience the rich fabrics and extraordinary details of the designs.


The costumes of Dressing Downton are displayed in memorable vignettes that bring to life the aristocratic life of the fictional English country estate of Downton Abbey, both upstairs and downstairs. You’ll re-live some of your favorite Downton Abbey scenes when you see the country tweeds and riding outfits, servants’ uniforms and footmen’s livery, and lavish evening attire. The costumes of silks and fine woolens, embellished with beads and embroidery, and accented with feathered hats, are shown in historical context, against backdrops of beautiful imagery, all from scenes of Downton Abbey.

Experiencing Dressing Downton is a limited opportunity. The History Museum is the only venue in Indiana and Michigan where the national traveling exhibit is on view.

Thankfully, visiting the exhibition is easier than having luncheon with the Dowager Countess. Reserved tickets for the exhibit are for sale online for $14/adults, $12.50/seniors, and $11/youth 6-17. Tickets include admission to the Dressing Downton exhibit as well as to the other History Museum galleries and the Oliver Mansion. Tours of the Oliver Mansion are limited and on a space-available basis. For an additional amount, visitors can include a visit to the Studebaker National Museum, which adjoins The History Museum. Groups of 20 people or more are required to make reservations at least two weeks in advance. It’s a perfect time to buy a membership to The History Museum since members receive free admission to the museum, including Dressing Downton, for as many visits as they like.

And then there’s the teas!

Downton Abbey. Series Two.

Dressing Downton Teas are so elegant that you’ll think the aristocratic Crawley family will be joining the party. Offered on a variety of dates while Dressing Downton is on view at The History Museum, the teas are a one-of-a-kind experience with savories, sweets, and classic teas on the menu. You will be seated at round tables of eight, each decorated in the exquisite style of an English high tea. Guests are welcome to dress in the periods of Downton Abbey. Tickets for the teas can also be purchased online. They are $50/adults, $42.50/youth 6-17, and $40/members, and include admission to Dressing Downton.

The presentation of Dressing Downton at The History Museum is made possible by the generous support of Linda and Bipin Doshi, and The Gurley Leep Automotive Family (Lord Grantham Sponsors), 1st Source Bank (Lady Grantham Sponsor), WNIT Public Television, Sunny 101.5 and News & Sports Radio 960AM & 96.1FM WSBT, all part of Mid-West Family Broadcasting, 88.1 WVPE Public Radio, South Bend Tribune, Visit South Bend Mishawaka, and Community Foundation of St. Joseph County’s ArtsEverywhere. Dressing Downton is produced by Exhibits Development Group in collaboration NBCUniversal International Television Production and Carnival Films/PBS Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey.

Dressing Downton is open through January 8, 2017, but the experience will last you a lifetime!

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