November, 10, 2011

Recreation of Pioneer Garb on Display

A sketch of the dress

The Education in Zion Gallery is hosting a new exhibit that will reflect the heritage and culture of an early Utah pioneer, schoolteacher and woman suffragist.

The exhibit will display a replica of a dress owned by Marilla Lucretia Johnson Miller Daniels, an early Utah pioneer whose husband founded Springville. Her dress will be on display from November 8 to December 15.

Melissa DeGuire, a BYU theater arts student emphasizing costume design, made the dress with funding from an ORCA grant. ORCA grants are part of a program established by Brigham Young University to encourage mentored research at the undergraduate level for all fields of study.

“I think ORCA is a fantastic opportunity for everybody,” DeGuire said. “My original thought was, ‘what project can I do where I’ll get to build a costume from the 1800s?’ I really wanted to do a dress from there, and get some experience in a different area. We just felt like we needed to connect it to women, and we needed to connect it to the Church.”

The dress will be donated in March to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum in Springville. There it will be displayed again before it is donated permanently to the museum’s collection in Springville.

Marilla Daniels lived from 1830 to 1918, and played an active role in the development of Springville with her husband, who eventually became mayor. Details about the dress and about the life of Marilla Daniels will be part of the exhibit.

The gallery and permanent exhibit explore a tradition of learning that aims to educate the whole soul and documents the rich history and heritage of education in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the revelations of the prophet Joseph Smith to the current worldwide Church Educational System.