Aloha Friday

May 15, 2020

Aloha Friday: A Love Story

Aloha Friday / Exhibitions

By Cathy Crowser, former Autry employee (2004–2014)

My father, Max Bingman, had a gazillion Hawaiian shirts. Actually, he had a closet full, but the one on loan for the Dress Codes exhibition was very special—not only was it his first, it was a gift from the love of his life, my mother, Eleanor Leiwapini Strauss.

Dad fell in love with the beauty and romance of Hawaii the moment he first laid eyes on her in 1946. He was born on a farm in Moscow, Idaho, served as a Sargent in the U.S. Army, and was... Read more

May 8, 2020

Aloha Friday: Aloha Fashionistas

Aloha Friday

By: Carolyn Brucken, Chief Curator and Director of Research

Curators work on exhibitions for many years. Back in 2016 when Dress Codes was just getting started, I was first introduced to Aloha attire in an unexpected way, not through aloha shirts but by a donation of fashionable clothing offered to the Autry by the Assistance League of Los Angeles. The League generously invited me to visit their offices where they had gathered their entire collection. It was as I was working my way through racks of stylish garments that I found the trove included several Hawaiian print... Read more

May 1, 2020

Aloha Friday: Ode to the Lava Shirt

Aloha Friday / Exhibitions

By: Amanda K. Wixon, Curatorial Intern

We bought this shirt at the famous Aloha stadium swap meet in Honolulu several years ago. For my family, this was somewhat unusual as not one of us had ever actually needed a new Aloha shirt. At our respective homes, we each had many Aloha shirts and dresses for all occasions—family parties, dinner parties, birthday parties, anniversary parties, reunions, retirement parties, weddings, and funerals. But in this case, the new Aloha shirt was for my youngest son, who was irresistibly drawn to its volcano and lava theme and very (very)... Read more

April 24, 2020

Aloha Friday: Rags to Aloha Shirts

Aloha Friday / Exhibitions

By: Josh Garrett-Davis, Gamble Assistant Curator of Western History, Pop Culture, & Firearms

I am lending two shirts to the Dress Codes exhibition given to me by my grandpa Walt Garrett. Walt was born poor in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1931—I never learned many details, but I understand his formative years in the Depression and World War II were very difficult. After serving in the Air Force, he moved, like so many Okies before him, to Southern California, where he met my grandma. Through the 1950s and ’60s, they took advantage of the GI Bill, great... Read more

April 17, 2020

Aloha Friday: Truman’s Tropical Duds

Aloha Friday / Collections

By: Kristen Stalling, Museum Curator, Harry S Truman NHS/Independence Multi-Park Facility

This past Sunday, April 12, marked the 75 th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s death and swearing in of Harry S Truman as 33 rd President of the United States. In the year that followed, President Truman secured victory in World War II, began reconstruction efforts and sought peace around the world. By the end of 1946, Truman badly needed a vacation. His personal physician suggested he get to a warm, secluded location to rest and rejuvenate. The Naval Station in Key West fit the bill and... Read more

April 10, 2020

Aloha Friday: Aloha Anniversary

Aloha Friday / Exhibitions

By: Carolyn Brucken, Chief Curator, and Libby Short, Autry Member

When the Dress Codes teams issued a call for aloha shirts for the exhibition, we found a goldmine in the shirts collected over the years by Libby Short and Michael Friedman, longtime supporters and friends of the Autry Museum. In sitting down with Libby, I learned how aloha shirts are simultaneously loved as works of textile art and an expression of love over time. For this Aloha Friday blog, I invited Libby to share the story behind what has become one of my favorite shirts in the show... Read more

April 3, 2020

Aloha Friday: The Wild West Meets the Spirit of Aloha

Aloha Friday / Collections / Exhibitions

By Amanda K. Wixon, Curatorial Intern

Aloha shirts have always been part of my wardrobe. When I visited family in Hawai’i, I wore the colorful dresses and shirts that my grandmother made for me or the ones that were handed down to me from my older cousins. Later, I frequently wore aloha shirts to school, and it became a sort of signature look for me. I would scour thrift stores in Santa Barbara, looking for the most unique and odd shirts I could find. As a teenager growing up in California, the 1990s included a slew of punk rock shows – in garages, in backyards, on the streets, and... Read more

March 30, 2020

Aloha Fridays

Aloha Friday / Collections / Exhibitions

By: Carolyn Brucken, Chief Curator


Over the past few days people around the world have been sheltering at home, working remotely, and cancelling travel plans. For me, this has meant that work on the Autry’s upcoming exhibition Dress Codes has shifted to a make-shift office space surrounded by cats where the dress code is definitely more... Read more