Glencoe Mansion unveils new special exhibit on the American Prom


RADFORD – Some familiar Radford faces are part of a new exhibit featuring Proms through the ages at Glencoe Mansion, Museum & Gallery.

Radford Prom 1966

Glencoe’s new Special Exhibit is called  “The American Prom: Our Customs and Traditions Through the Years,” and will run from July 10 to September 6.

“For so many Americans the prom seems like such a standard part of life that they don’t stop to think about its very recent origins,” explained Scott Gardner,director of Glencoe and the Radford Heritage Foundation. “As far as a public school dance, the prom has only been part of American culture since the early 20th century. At only a little over 100 years old, this tradition has over time become ensconced in the life of the American teenage experience.”

The exhibit invites viewers to “explore through vintage fashions, accessories and objects the evolution of this truly American experience from its humble roots as in informal school dance to now being a multi-billion dollar industry.”

The exhibit has a decidedly local bent, exploring “the history of Radford High School prom traditions, tracing its early days in crepe paper filled gyms to taking place in the Heth Ballroom and beyond,” said Gardner.

“Objects on display are on loan from bridal and formal shop Chantilly Lace, Clare Fugate, the Gardner Family, Garrett’s & Meg’s, Dawn Gunn, Janiele Hamden, Maggie Holliman, Laura Kinzie, Annyce Levy, Montgomery Museum of Art & History, Megan Pugliese, Judy Quesenberry, Radford University Fashion Department, Joyce Sims, Brenda Whisonant and Wilderness Road Regional Museum.”

Other items are also on loan by Helen Bennett of “Buy the Season” whose vintage fashions are available at Antiques by the Market in Salem, Virginia.

Located in the historic Wharton family Glencoe Mansion, the museum provides visitors a three-in-one experience with House Museum, History Exhibits and Art Gallery.

“There is something for everyone to explore at Glencoe Mansion,” said Gardner.


– Heather Bell