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Timeless: Love and Romance in the Victorian Era

At the Farm House Museum
January 14 - October 31, 2019  

If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a lifetime, he couldn’t love you as much as I do in a single day. 
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Before online dating sites and social media, couples met through formal introductions and small town connections. During the Victorian Era (1837-1901), the rules for courting were very strict, forcing infatuated couples to come up with sneaky ways to communicate with one another. In an era of extravagance, the Victorians embedded everyday objects with hidden symbolism to declare their affections.

Some of the Victorian symbols of affection continue today such as giving flowers and chocolates. Other traditions, like flirting through hand-held fan signals and escort cards, have died out. While farmers in Iowa during this time did not have the lavish lifestyle of European high society and the East Coast elite, courting was still a serious occasion. Through photographs, objects and first-hand accounts in the historic Farm House Museum setting, visitors will be able to get a glimpse into what it was like to be in love in the Victorian Era.

The exhibition was guest curated by Sonya Harwood, University Museums Intern and ISU Senior in Anthropology.

Curator Talk: Wednesday, October 23, noon to 1:00 p.m.

Visit the Farm House Museum

Hours: Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. (while ISU is in session)
Address: 601 Farm House Lane, Ames, Iowa 50011
Admission: The cost is free, however there is a suggested donation of $3 per visitor.


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