The Center for Colorado Women’s History is set to unveil “Rumors of Bloomers,” an exhibition exploring the evolution of women’s undergarments and their impact on society. This display, opening tomorrow in downtown Denver, features previously unseen items from the History Colorado Collection, including corsets, bloomers, swimming costumes, petticoats, and Mother Hubbard gowns, offering a unique perspective on women’s history through the lens of fashion.

“Rumors of Bloomers” emerges from the insights gained at the Women’s History Symposium in November and challenges visitors to contemplate how undergarments have shaped women’s liberation, concealment, and social roles, unraveling the hidden stories, myths, and facts of women’s history, according to museum officials.


“There are so many individual threads that make ‘Rumors of Bloomers’ remarkable, including how it directly builds off of the lively discussion and new scholarship that was explored during last year’s symposium,” said Susan Fries, deputy community museum officer and director of the Center for Colorado Women’s History, in a news release. “The expertise shared by panelists enriched our understanding of these hidden histories and expanded our comprehension of how undergarments have influenced the lives of Colorado women.”

The exhibition features stories of women like Amache Ochinee Prowers, a Cheyenne woman who navigated Victorian culture without conforming to corset use, and Amelia Bloomer, whose eponymous outfits symbolized freedom and comfort, aligning with the era’s evolving women’s rights. The clothes of Beatrice Lewis, a Black dressmaker in Denver known for her corsetry, and the societal implications of Mother Hubbard dresses are also explored.

“Rumors of Bloomers is an exciting example of the Center for Colorado Women’s History’s commitment to display collection items that explore the nuances of womanhood,” Fries added. “By displaying these objects that are so closely tied to the experiences of those who identify as women we forge a better understanding of the barriers, opportunities, and decisions that guided their lives.”

For a more immersive experience, the museum offers a docent-led “Bloomers Tour,” providing additional artifacts and insights into the history of women’s undergarments. The tour is available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., starting March 29, with tickets priced at $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Due to limited capacity, advance purchase is recommended.

Located at 1310 Bannock Street in Denver, the Center for Colorado Women’s History is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Admission for kids 18 and under is free.