- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The exhibition of Arkansas’ first ladies’ gowns at the Old State House Museum is to temporarily close, starting Sept. 7.

The museum said Tuesday that the closure is necessary so the gowns can be assessed for conservation.

In recent weeks, the museum staff noticed some of the garments were deteriorating and two of them were immediately removed from display.

Officials say the assessment will be conducted by Textile Conservation Services, which will work with the museum staff to develop a conservation strategy.

The gowns exhibit opened in 1955 and the oldest dress is from 1889. That gown belonged to Mary Kavanaugh Oldham Eagle, the wife of Gov. James Philip Eagle.

Until the exhibit closes, museum patrons can see 28 of the 30 gowns that make up the display.

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