The Intrepid Victorian Traveler

Tames Alan is an actress, historian, and fashion history teacher who has combined her skills to create an educational program for people of all ages. In this five-costume show, she presents a look into the clothing and lifestyle of a Victorian woman during the mid-1850s through the early 1860s. She first appears in a wrapper to tell how a Victorian woman started her day. As Tames dresses for travel to the seaside (a popular resort of the times), she discusses what someone could expect to encounter along the way. In addition, she will show a complete set of Victorian undergarments and discuss their various functions. Then she will change into appropriate dress for a watering place and talk about the various activities a Victorian traveler would enjoy while there. Finally, she will prepare for a formal dinner and dance. Throughout her program, Tames provides a lively discussion of each article of clothing, its function, and how it was made, as well as sharing her wide knowledge of the Victorian era.

As with her other Living History Lectures, a question and answer period follows. This program is suitable for elementary grades on up. It has been given as a general background program for Victorian history students, and as a clothing program for costume and design students. The program is especially beneficial for college-level art and history students because of the hands-on experience they gain concerning the Victorian era. It is also a fun cultural event for general adult audiences and lovers of history and clothing.

Tames studied theater and history at Willamette University in Oregon, and theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and Dell Arte School in California. Throughout her theatrical career, she maintained her interest in history and costuming. Tames has taught fashion history at the Art Institute of Seattle, offering a class that combined fashion history, social history, and women’s studies. More recently, she has been a speaker for the Washington State Commission for the Humanities in their Inquiring Mind series.