The iconic dress was uncrated and installed at the museum as part of the new 4-month exhibit opening Sept. 15, “Diana: A Celebration,” a tribute to the late princess’ life.
The local media received a rare glimpse of the dress up close as Nick Grossmark and Graeme Murton – the only people on earth permitted to handle the gown – removed the ivory garment from its shipping crate and readied it in its exhibition case. Grossmark and Murton have spent more than a decade with the exhibition, caring for and installing the clothing on view, which also includes 28 dresses from Diana’s public life.
“Wherever we go with (the dress), people’s reaction is different every time but there’s always the sense (that Diana) was someone that they really respected and loved and it’s very sad that she’s no longer with us,” said Grossmark.
The dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, cost $1,900 (bridesmaid dresses included in the price) and took more than four months to hand craft. In order to protect the vestment, the dress is hermetically sealed and kept under fiber-optic lighting. All exhibition cases are regulated, as well.
“Diana: A Celebration,” produced by Arts & Exhibitions International and on loan from the Althorp Estate, the Spencer family’s ancestral home in England, includes nine galleries with more than 150 personal pieces, such as family heirlooms, mementoes, diamond tiaras, jewels and rare home movies. The Royal Wedding gallery features Diana’s brilliant gown, diamond tiara, veil and 25-foot train, as well as her shoes, parasol and bridesmaids’ dresses.
Presented by Chase and JP Morgan, the 7,500 sq. ft. exhibition inside the Frazier Museum explores the life and humanitarian work of one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women. The exhibition has averaged 100,000 visitors at past venues and is expected to draw another large, faithful crowd in Louisville. A portion of proceeds generated to the Althorp Estate from the exhibition benefit charitable causes including the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
“Diana: A Celebration” is on display at the The Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St., through Jan. 13, 2013. Admission to “Diana: A Celebration,” which is optional and includes entry to the Frazier Museum permanent galleries, is $21.50 for adults (ages 15 to 59); $19.50 for seniors (60+) and $10 for children (4 to 14); children 3 and under are free. For tickets, call 888.71.842.5387 or visit www.fraziermuseum.org. Advance tickets are recommended. Online and phone service fees apply. Special rates for museum members and groups are available.
During “Diana: A Celebration,” museum operating hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday until 8 p.m. The museum is hosting a series of Princess Tea parties and a Girls Night Out event during the run of the exhibition.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune