A Virtual Exhibition
– Opens July 31, 2020

Warm sandy beaches and cool waves, pulchritude babes and hunky guys…  “Hey wait a minute, what is with the highfalutin word?”  We aren’t being high brow, we are just using an adjective that helped put Galveston on the map in the 1920’s when people came from far and wide to the City to take in the parade and international beauty pageant at which the first “Miss Universe” was crowned.

“Pulchritude”, is derived from a Latin word that means “beautiful”.  If there is one thing we’ve got an abundance in Texas it is beauty.  What comes with “beauty” you ask, why “style” of course!  We’ve got style as far as the eye can see…and further!  When you put them together it is a natural, Styling by the Sea: 140 Years of Beachwear will be on view at The Bryan Museum website starting July 31 beginning with the 1880’s through 1919.  Each month, a new era of swimwear fashion and history will be unveiled to the public.

We invite you to visit The Bryan virtually to enjoy a unique selection of swimwear, sunglasses, beach bags, totes, hats, sandals and other accessories through which vacationers and residents expressed their personal sense of style on our Gulf shore since the dawn of Galveston as a resort community in the 19th-century.

The exhibition opens with a lady’s bathing ensemble, circa 1880, then takes visitors on a romp through 20th-century beach fashions, for both men and women, and culminates in a display of an array of swimwear found on our shores today.  Along the way a timeline that highlights events of local, national, and world importance is integrated with information associated with popular culture and the media to provide insights into their impact on style.  Online visitors will learn how much one of those old fashioned bathing suits actually weighed when wet, be introduced to the era when swimwear was unisex, find out about when it was against the law for MEN to go topless on the beach, see a contemporary reproduction of a bathing suit designed by Orry-Kelly for Bette Davis in the Warner Brothers film The Working Man of 1933, learn which Bond Girl’s appearance in a bikini served as a catalyst for its widespread acceptance by women in America, and view the most popular poster of all time (which also happens to be of an incomparable Gulf Coast beauty).  Patrons will also have the opportunity to view the one-piece swimsuit that was on the largest number of women’s wish lists as reported by Amazon in People Magazine for summer 2020.

Finally, the Museum will present samples of advertisements for items your family and friends won’t believe you even considered wearing to the beach.  Posters and photographs of some of your favorite celebrities from television, the movies, and the worlds of music and sports world will round out the exhibition.

Last, but not least, The Bryan Museum will tip its hat to the “International Pageant of Pulchritude”, presenting photos and film footage of the Miss Universe pageant, which originated in Galveston in the 1920s.

So stop by our website each month, soak up the atmosphere, listen to some of your favorite summer music, smell the cocoa butter sun tanning lotion, and Style with us by the Sea.