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Meet the 'Victorian Lady'

"Every time I see something new, I pull that thread to see how it leads me to another level of history," said McLane.

She restores outfits and displays them at antique shows. These shows are what led about 25 of her pieces to appear in the movie, "Titanic."

"I have quite a lot of clothing in different movies and theatre performance, most notably 'Titanic' and 'Out of Africa,' which was really one of the first films to use real, authentic clothing," said McLane. "Now more and more people from filmmakers to museums to independent collectors demand antique clothing. I like to think of it as there's now more places for [these outfits] to be saved."

McLane said she lets each article of clothing to share with her its story. She remembers a huge hat she came across from 1910; fur, bleached white with curled edges and a large purple ostrich plume all the way around it. The woman gave her a photo of her grandma, who had worn it, which let her feel a special connection. She also has a wedding dress from the 1890s, which came with charcoal drawings of the couple who wore it, from Schenectady. She said she's discovered clothing from many well-known people but can't say who they are because in the antique business, she said, you quickly learn to be discreet.

Her programs and services are mainly spread through word-of-mouth; although with her new laptop and internet access, she's hoping to put together some type of Web site. The tea party at Brookside was so popular that it was stretched over two days this February and will be repeated over April break for children age five to 12.

More information is available on the Web site, www.brooksidemuseum.org.""

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