Inside the CHS

About Karen

Karen DePauw is a Research and Collections Associate at The Connecticut Historical Society. Along with aiding patrons who visit the museum in their research efforts, Karen works behind the scenes with the costume and textile collection. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History, double minoring in Theatre and Theology, from Quincy University. Karen obtained her Master of Science degree at the University of Rhode Island in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design, with a specialization in Historic Costumes and Textiles.

Articles by Karen:

O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2014 · Collections

Merry Christmas All! Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still wish you the same sentiment of joy and love this time of year.

In Thanksgiving

November 27, 2014 · Collections

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks…for all of you!

Slap to it

November 13, 2014 · Collections

How do we mark where things come from in our storage areas….read on to find out!

You look familiar…Have we met?

October 30, 2014 · Collections

This years fall line looked a little familiar….and the reason why was awaiting me right in my office.

Mourning in the 19th century

October 16, 2014 · Collections

Customs surrounding the mourning of deceased loved ones were prominent in the 19th century and the objects created around these practices tell quite a story.

Textiles: Where Science and History Meet

September 18, 2014 · Collections

Home School Day is nearly upon us. A new offering this year is a workshop discussing the point where textile history and textile science converge!

Uncompleted Work

September 4, 2014 · Collections

As school starts back in session, I am reminded of many instances in my own childhood of the excitement that leads to that first day: the school supply shopping, the nerves regarding whether or not you would get the “good” teacher, and the wonderful idea of learning something new.

The Heartbreak that is Weighted Silk

July 31, 2014 · Collections

We have a number of fantastic volunteers at CHS for the summer, and I am lucky enough to have a few working with me up in the costume collection.

A Change of Plans

July 17, 2014 · Collections

I was quite literally in the middle of writing up today’s blog post, all nerdily excited to teach you a thing or two about weighted silk, when I was interrupted by some young researchers.  So, instead, I’m going to tell you about one of the reasons I love my job (don’t worry, you’ll hear about…
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The Connecticut Landscape…in our entrance hall

July 3, 2014 · Collections

As some of you may already know, this year we are teaming up with FoxCT and the Hartford Courant to celebrate the Courant’s 250th anniversary.  Part of that partnership is a segment on FoxCT every first Thursday of the month called From the Vault where we bring a few items out of storage and give…
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The Mystery Shoes

June 18, 2014 · Collections

The Connecticut Historical Society has been collecting costume and textile items since the 1840s.  With all of those wonderful objects floating around it is hard to solve all of their mysteries.  One particular mystery has intrigued me since I started here, and I thought I would share it with all of you….

Kicking Back in Baltimore

June 5, 2014 · Collections

The Connecticut Historical Society has always been the type of institution to encourage employees to attend conferences, lectures, etc. that help them continue to gain knowledge and skills that will help in their jobs.  Last week I had the opportunity to attend one of my favorite conferences in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was three full days…
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How YOU can use our collections!

May 22, 2014 · Collections

I often marvel at the variety of ways the public uses our collections.  I thought it would be fun to give a run-down of some of the ways individuals have used, or could use, our vast collections here at CHS. 

Illustrating Life

May 8, 2014 · Collections

Last week Rich Malley posted about the Billings and Spencer Company complex in Hartford. He illustrated his post with an amazing watercolor done in 1898 by Hiram P. Arms, a Hartford-based illustrator.  When I first saw the painting, which is quite large, I was intrigued by all of the little vignettes Arms included, as Rich…
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Trying New Things

April 24, 2014 · Collections

I had an idea of something to blog about today…but then I changed my mind.  Instead, I thought I would share something with you all (y’all if I was writing this from back in Illinois!).  So many times professionals, regardless of their field, give off an air of confidence, knowledge, and authority.  As they should. …
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Hepburn Comes Home

April 10, 2014 · Collections, Exhibits

The anticipation has been building for weeks.  All of us here at CHS have been excited to bring Katharine Hepburn home to Hartford in the form of an exhibition on loan from the Kent State University Museum called “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen.”  Well…on Thursday of last week she finally arrived and the…
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Underneath It All

March 27, 2014 · Collections

Even if you are not a fashion historian, you have likely seen images of the clothing people wore in the past.  Whether you saw them online, or in your own family photos, the outer garments of individuals are fairly visible.  But what about what lies underneath?  What does that look like???

If only…

March 13, 2014 · Collections

I love when individuals leave a record that is undeniably useful…if only everyone did…

Quilts, Costumes, and More!

February 27, 2014 · Collections

Last week I had the kind of day that I simply adore!  They come around rarely, but when they do, I enjoy them so immensely.  It was last Thursday and Lynne Bassett came to research in our collection for a very special presentation / program she is involved with here at CHS.  And that meant…
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Meet Annie

February 13, 2014 · Collections

Today is a snow day…and who does not love snow days?!?  Each time we get a snow storm that is nasty enough to close the CHS, I feel like a kid again (albeit a kid who has to shovel out a car and get some semblance of actual work done at home regardless of the…
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What is your favorite time period?

January 30, 2014 · Collections

I get asked this question quite frequently.  The truth is that it changes depending on what I am working on at the moment because I don’t have a true favorite period.  I love various aspects from almost every period of costume history, especially between the 1770s and the 1960s.  However, there is a period that…
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Printing Pretty Pictures

January 16, 2014 · Collections

On textiles that is.  Yesterday CHS hosted a teacher development workshop for art teachers.  For my part, I brought out some examples of printed textiles from the 18th and 19th centuries and we discussed the processes involved in printing textiles with brilliant colors and patterns.  Well, since I already spent time brushing up on the…
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History and STEM

January 2, 2014 · Collections

In a nation where the focus is being put on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM for short), many of us in the fields of humanities are beginning to question our relevance.  With an education that included four years at a liberal arts college, I am definitely among those who hope to…
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It’s party time!

December 19, 2013 · Collections

This time of year I always find myself hoping for an opportunity to attend a swanky party that requires a bit of sparkle and holiday elegance.  Yet the season consistently brings casual family gatherings requiring little more than jeans and sweaters, or New Year’s plans including games and staying in with my sisters and our…
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G. Fox for all your holiday needs

December 5, 2013 · Collections

The weather is having a bit of a fit this week…it can’t quite decide if it is winter or fall.  Either way, the air is getting chillier and people are looking to get warmer.  Now-a-days we hop in the car and head to the nearest mall, specialty shop, or big-box store to find our cold…
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November 21, 2013 · Collections

Next month CHS is kicking off December with chocolate.  To me, this sounds perfect!  I love chocolate and the idea that you can come to a museum (CHS of course!), learn about history, shop, AND taste chocolate…sounds like the perfect way to start the month.  That’s all I will say about the event, (we’ll let…
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Clothing the troops

November 7, 2013 · Collections

Clothing is one of the basic necessities provided by the American government to its faithful soldiers.  Even as a patriot army before the United States was truly a nation in her own right, she still did her best to clothe her troops.  One of my favorite uniform pieces in the CHS collection is a uniform…
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Innovation and Re-birth

October 24, 2013 · Collections

Fashion takes many courses throughout the years.  Sometimes we see brand new innovations, and other times there are re-births of past designs and fashion trends.  The 1950s saw a combination of these.

Hiring a professional…

October 10, 2013 · Collections

At CHS we frequently exercise our internal photography muscles; however, there are certain items and certain projects that sometimes require a professional photographer.  Yesterday David Stansbury spent the day photographing a variety of our landscapes for the Artist and the Connecticut Landscape project that will result in a number of Connecticut landscapes being added to…
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Camping at Columbia Lake

September 26, 2013 · Collections

One of my favorite activities this time of year is camping.  The summer heat has broken, making it more comfortable to sleep inside a breeze-less tent, and the slight chill in the air makes it more enjoyable to sit around a camp fire.  I was thinking about camping the other day and started thinking about…
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A Pleasant Surprise

September 12, 2013 · Collections

There are many items in the back recesses of the museum that were accessioned, catalogued, numbered, and housed years ago that rarely find there way into the light.  I often find myself stumbling upon items in the costume and textile collection that were catalogued far before I was here and if I haven’t had a…
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“Meet Me In…”…….Connecticut?

August 29, 2013 · Collections

I recently returned to Connecticut after a trip home to see my family in Illinois.  I grew up just this side of the mighty Mississippi River across from St. Louis, MO.  I love when I get to discover connections between my home near St. Louis and my new home in Connecticut.  While writing a recent…
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My Favorite Manuscript

August 1, 2013 · Collections

We have a great manuscript collection here at CHS, and if you read the blog posts by our Archivist, Barbara Austen, you’ve seen many examples of the great items that collection holds.  But today I wanted to tell you about MY favorite manuscript.  Out of the 3 million and something manuscript items in our collection…
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The Revolution in Connecticut

July 19, 2013 · Collections

I recently returned from a mini-vacation to visit some friends in Colonial Williamsburg (and brought back a cold, which leads to my apology at this late posting!).  Even after living in New England for almost six years, I still think of Virginia and Massachusetts when I think of the American Revolution.  Being a Midwestern girl,…
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Celebrating America

July 4, 2013 · Collections

For over 230 years, Americans have been celebrating the birth of America.  Although our celebrations of America generally culminate on the fourth of July, have you ever stopped to think of the ways we might celebrate America every day of the year?  Let me give you a few historical examples of how people in the…
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Closure….It Can Be Complicated…

June 20, 2013 · Collections

Tomorrow summer will officially begin and with it commences one of the easiest fashion seasons of the year.  In summer we need to do little more to ready ourselves for the day than hop out of bed, throw on a t-shirt and shorts, or even a jersey dress, a quick pair of sandals and off…
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All the little things…

June 6, 2013 · Collections

As you’ve come to find out, there are a lot of little things that go into making our collection safe and available. One of the most fun pieces of the puzzle (at least in my opinion), is the photography. By then all the little details like catalging and numbering are done, and it is time…
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Boxing Day

May 23, 2013 · Collections

Quite a bit happens behind the scenes here at CHS that most people never see (unless you come on a behind-the-scenes tour!).  It is usually all those seemingly small, unglamorous tasks that make it possible for us to share our great collections with all of you. Tuesday, Diane Lee, our Collections Manager, and I spent…
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Illustrating Stylish Travel

May 9, 2013 · Collections

Often times at the CHS, we write articles, present programs, and give tours based on our collections.  Many times these articles, programs, and tours are based on information and items we already know we have in the collection.  However, sometimes the topic comes first, and the illustrations come second.

A View from the Inside

February 23, 2013 · Collections, Exhibits

The month of February means some new artifacts in our Making Connecticut exhibition.  In an effort to best protect our collections, we strictly follow a 6-month display rotation for light sensitive and delicate artifacts…which means that every February and August our permanent exhibition gets a little update.  Some of those updates, like re-dressing our mannequins,…
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