Blank apron with pocket

"Apron Strings is organized into several thematic groups addressing design, historical context, use and cultural message."

The newest traveling exhibition to hit the Chandler Museum takes a deeper look at domesticity, personal expression and craft techniques through the lens of a common textile in many homes – the apron.

Opening Nov. 12, “Apron Strings: Ties to the Past” features 51 vintage and contemporary aprons dating from the late 1930s through the present. 

It will run through Jan. 5 at the Chandler Museum, 300 S. Chandler Village Drive.

The exhibition chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work. It also surveys the wide range of design and craft techniques apron-makers have used to express themselves while still working within creative venues traditionally available to women. 

The exhibition serves as an excellent tool to bring together diverse parts of the community through shared experiences with, and memories of, a common everyday textile.

Apron Strings is organized into several thematic groups addressing design, historical context, use and cultural message. 

Today, artists continue using aprons to explore cultural myths and realities as well as their individual experiences with American domesticity.

“This exhibit will offer many points of nostalgia for guests who grew up with aprons in the household as they see familiar patterns and styles,” said Tiffani Egnor, education coordinator at the museum. 

 “The themes covered in this exhibit give a voice to the common person and weave their story into our cultural history,” she added.

A series of events and programs will accompany this exhibit. 

A reception is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Nov. 21. Two of the Museum’s Saturday Family Programs events coincide with the exhibit: “Embroidery Demonstration Day” with Evelyn Johnson on Nov. 16, and “In the Exhibits” where guests can create their own apron on Nov. 30.

 Both Saturday Family Programs are drop-in programs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additionally, two talks are scheduled that will dive into the family stories and oral tradition surrounding food preparation and meals. 

 “Stories Around the Thanksgiving Table,” at 10:30 a.m.  Nov. 30 will feature Arizona State University Professor Denise Ann Bodman, who will outline ways to capture all of the family stories that are shared at family gatherings and holidays.

“Food Stories,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 and presented by Arizona State University Professor Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Chandler Gilbert Community College Faculty Erica Acevedo-Ontiveros. 

This talk will examine the oral storytelling space that exists when family members cook together and pass down recipes or cooking methods.

Chandler Museum hours of operation are 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday;  1-5 p.m. Sunday; and closed Monday. Admission is free. This exhibition is a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts. 

Information: 480-782-2717, or chandleraz.gov/museum.