McPherson College sophomore Kortney Jones got an opportunity to put her history studies to use by designing an exhibit for the McPherson Museum.

Jones put together "What Did She Wear: 140 Years of Wedding Dress Fashions," which is on display now through February 2018 at the McPherson Museum, 1111 E. Kansas Ave.

Jones, who is from Brentwood, California, chose McPherson College because of its sports program.

"I originally came here for softball but fell in love with the school and decided to stay," Jones said.

As Jones grew up, she was always interested in history.

"My grandpa is a huge history buff and over the years I became like him," Jones said. 

Jones said she learned about the plans to have an exhibit of wedding gowns from McPherson Museum's director, Anna Ruxlow.

"Anna told me about the exhibit and I got really interested and excited about it," Jones said. "Eventually she asked if I wanted to do it, and I jumped at the chance." 

Planning the exhibit started with an inspection of the museum's collection of wedding gowns.

"I needed to look and see if the dresses were too delicate to set out. I also had to look and see if we had any context about the history," Jones said.

The hands-on experience taught Jones several things about working with artifacts.

"I learned that you have to be careful with certain artifacts because some things are too delicate," Jones said. "I also learned that these are people's memories and the smallest amount of attention you can give an artifact can help show people that you care about their memories."

The gowns in the exhibit are examples of fashion changes spanning 140 years.

"I feel that it's a part of the town's history," Jones said. "People should see the transitions of what brides wore and see the variety of dresses."

The oldest dresses in the museum's collection intrigued Jones.

"My favorite items are the frontier bride dresses — they are so unique," Jones said.

Putting together the exhibit was invaluable for Jones, who hopes to direct a museum herself someday.

"It was a great time and experience," Jones said. "I got to work with amazing people. They are so knowledgeable and I was extremely fortunate to work with them."

The McPherson Museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children and free for students with student ID, seniors and children 4 and under.

For more information, visit http://www.mcphersonmuseum.com or call 620-241-8464.

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.