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T H U R S D A Y

For years, junior-high civics students would traditionally journey to the nation’s capital. And somewhere between visits to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and the Jefferson Memorial, there was a stop at the Smithsonian to see the first ladies’ dresses. Clamorous eighth-graders would parade in front of glass cases to see the glamorous (Jackie’s was elegant), the typical (turn-of-the-century wives wore too much pink), and the pathetic (Nancy Reagan’s poor excuse for a potato sack was too small even for our preteen bodies). The exhibit has recently been curtailed to make room for more modern tchotchkes, but this week Conservator of Costumes Polly Willman will discuss inaugural attire as well as dresses worn at the 1889 and 1905 balls in the slide lecture “All-American Inaugural Gowns.” At noon at the Museum of American History, Reception Suite, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 357-2700. (TP)