By Robyn Weishar, Programs and Marketing Assistant

Back-to-school season is upon us! It can be an exciting time for many, and less exciting for those who favour warm weather and the freedom of summer. The very best part of going back to school for many is buying new supplies and new clothes! September is full of opportunities to start off on a new foot – or better yet, a new sole. Taking a glimpse back to the past, courtesy of the Museum’s extensive collection, we can observe some of the fashions students from Huron County were rocking back in their day. 

The above t-shirt is a commemorative clothing item to honour Blyth Public School’s “100 Years of Education.” This white cotton and polyester Fruit of the Loom t-shirt displays “Blyth” across the chest in blue, green, and white plaid. Below the emblem is a meridian with a globe in the centre, separating the years the school had been in operation: 1896-1996. (Object ID: 2018.0050.003)

Three images showing different views of a Clinton District Collegiate women's varsity jacket from 1956

Shown above is a woman’s varsity jacket from Clinton District Collegiate Institute circa 1956-57. The jacket features the extracurricular activities the student would have participated in. Adorned on the left arm are seven patches with the respective activities. The first patch is believed to have said “music” prior to its deterioration. Following from top to bottom, the activities are; music, volleyball, and basketball, with volleyball and basketball alternating for the remainder of the patches with the final two being red and white as opposed to blue and white. (Object ID: 2018.0050.006)

Image of two wool tartan skirts from the 1950s

The same student from the Clinton high school also donated her wool tartan skirts that were a part of a uniform. Though we do not have any blouses in our possession that would have gone with them, it may be assumed that a neutral coloured button-up blouse would have been paired. (Object IDs: 2018.0050.017 & 2018.0050.018)

Two images of a Goderich District Collegiate Institute wrestling uniform with an illustration of a wrestler

For many athletes, a uniform is often what can set you and your opponents apart, whether it’s on the field, on the rink, or wherever else the sport takes place. One uniform that has stayed relatively the same over the years is that of wrestling. Shown above is wrestling attire belonging to a past member of the Goderich District Collegiate Institute’s wrestling team. The material used is nylon, however, overtime the elasticity has become stiff. The bright blue base of the uniform is complimented by white striping that outlines the edges of the garment. The date for this piece is not available. (Object ID: M001.0033.017)

Two images of a top and skirt from a Goderich District Collegiate Institute cheerleader uniform

Uniforms are not just a way to distinguish members of the team, they’re also a great way to show off school pride! Goderich District Collegiate Institute students displayed their school spirit in a number of ways, although one particular style embodied exactly what it meant to have school pride – the cheerleading uniform. The skirt alternates blue and white paneling, with blue stitching appearing on the top and bottom hems. The top of the uniform is a white knitted sweater with blue accenting and the Viking crest. There is not a specific date for this uniform but it was likely used within the timeframe of the 1950s and 1960s. (Object ID: M001.0033.014)

It is always interesting to examine the past through various lenses and we are fortunate enough at the Huron County Museum to have a collection of student fashions spanning a number of decades. Take inspiration from these past uniforms of Huron County students when doing this year’s back-to-school shopping.

What fashions will you be rocking this school year?