Last weekend, I took a trip to Newbridge in Co. Kildare, which of course, is home to Newbridge Silverware – one of Ireland’s best known jewellery and homeware designers.
The Newbridge Silverware headquarters is open to visitors, and while there is a chance to buy a piece of silverware as a gift or for yourself, there is also an opportunity to take a tour of the factory and visit the Museum Style of Icons which is located upstairs on the premises.
The Museum of Style Icons was my main reason for making the trip, and for the fact they had a Betty White exhibition showing until September 1st, complete with ‘Golden Girls’ memorabilia, clothing, accessories and a Screen Actors Guild award belonging to actress and comedian Betty White. These items will soon to go to auction so I knew I had to see the collection before it left Ireland.
I first visited this museum about 6 years ago, and I remember really enjoying my time there but it had been so long since my last visit, I was excited to go again.
Sure enough, I walked up the stairs into the museum and once again, I was in awe. The darkened stairs illuminated by LED lights, with a soundtrack of ‘Moon River’ and storytelling of Audrey Hepburn instantly transports you back in time.
From the top of the stairs, you are greeted by countless of dresses worn by Audrey Hepburn, outfits and accessories belonging to the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana. I didn’t know where to look first!
It is amazing to see there are so many areas dedicated to icons of stage, screen and music. There are narrators in the background giving you an insight into the careers and lives of countless actors, musicians and how classic movies or songs came to be.
There are suits worn by and gold records from The Beatles, autographed letters and records by John Lennon & Yoko Ono. A sports jacket owned by Elvis Presley and a wall decorated with every magazine cover Audrey Hepburn ever graced.
What I also found interesting was an Elizabeth Arden salon receipt for Marilyn Monroe which she had signed in pencil back in 1961, which is still preserved to this day.
It is mesmerising to see pieces of hand written papers and clothing of icons from the past and I mean, decades into the past. There is just something about being that close to parts of history and life gone by that’s hard to explain.
As for the woman of the hour, legendary Betty White’s exhibition was up next and I totally lost my cool (if I ever had it..). To the right of the exhibition was an extensive display of outfits worn by Betty White for many different occasions – think red carpets and premieres – each one as extravagant as the next. To the left, a collection of accessories such Christian Dior sunglasses, pearls and jewellery could be seen. As well as her lifetime achievement Screen Actors Guild Award, which she received in 2009. This was all accompanied by a projection of some of Betty White’s best comedic moments on screen. I was genuinely blown away by the sheer volume of items on display, it was such a fantastic fan experience.
Even though it will be sad to see the Betty White exhibition go, there are so many permanent pieces on display in the Style Icons Museum and it is ever expanding. Newbridge Silverware have done a great job at making such an immersive experience that it almost feels like you have entered another world as soon as you walk in.
For any fan of the original icons spanning across stage, music and screen, I would certainly recommend paying a visit. Not to mention, that admission to the museum is free, and there are not many experiences such as this being offered for free these days, so we are very lucky to have it!