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Former nurse bids adieu to patients, tends to history

Susan McLane serving tea from a pot of the Victorian era. She’ll be presenting a program on the Titanic at the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa on Sunday, April 15.

Susan McLane serving tea from a pot of the Victorian era. She’ll be presenting a program on the Titanic at the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa on Sunday, April 15.

— Sue McLane, The Victorian Lady, used to look to the health of her patients as a nurse, but now she’s making history come alive.

She and members of the Victorian Social Club will be giving a presentation on Sunday, April 15, at The Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission for the event is $5, and light refreshments will be served. Stone Soup Antiques at 19 Low Street is sponsoring the program.

Setting Sail on the Titanic will give the audience a glimpse into what it may have been like to be a passenger on an ocean liner in the early 1900s.

McLane’s first career was in nursing — critical and cardiac care to be exact. Then she “fell into” dealing antique furniture in the mid 1980s. But after seeing a Victorian era dress at an auction, she was so smitten with its details and the craftsmanship with which it was made that she entered into its world – one where etiquette and ways of life were much different than those we know today.

“All of a sudden this gorgeous Victorian dress came up and I fell in love with it and I bought it. I started buying more and more of this antique clothing because nobody wanted it back in the 1980s. On occasion a theater group would come by and buy something, but really nobody was giving it any due so I bought it,” she said.

She paid $35 for that first of many dresses.

It wasn’t long after her dress encounter that people started asking her all sorts of questions about her purchases and requesting her to present what she knew to their various clubs and organizations. Over the years, she dove into fashion history and subsequently what life would have been like, especially for the women who wore the dresses, in the 1800s and 1900s.

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