Nevada First Ladies’ Gowns on Display

A glimpse into Nevada’s First Ladies Ball Gown collection is now on display in the “Nevada Stories: Objects Found In Time” Gallery at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. 

The exhibit has just recently been updated to feature our current First Lady, Donna Lombardo’s inaugural gown, which she wore in 2023. Paired with the oldest ball gown, worn by Una Reilly Dickerson to the opening of the Governor’s Mansion in 1909, Mrs. Lombardo’s dress is an elegant black off-the-shoulder gown.

Over one hundred years of fashion history is represented by these two gowns. Mrs. Dickerson’s dress is made of a fine silk, with lace and beadwork, with hooks and eye closures. While Mrs. Lombardo’s gown is made of an athleisure fabric, which is a stretchable knit, having no closures, slipping on over the head.

The exhibit also includes photographs of the Nevada First Lady Ball Gown collection held in the State Museum’s archives —14 gowns from 13 different women. Each First Lady since the 1940s has donated her inaugural ball gown to the Nevada State Museum. 

“This collection gives us a look into the lives of Nevada’s First Ladies, who played influential roles in their husbands’ administrations while developing their own interests and passions,” said Jan Loverin, Curator of Clothing and Textiles at the Nevada State Museum. 

The Nevada State Museum, located at 600 N. Carson Street in Carson City, is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular Museum admission is $10 for adults and free for members and children ages 17 and younger.