Threads of Tradition

Regional Mexican Dresses

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Threads of Tradition is a collaborative exhibition with the Brownsville Historical Association that will feature 37 traditional outfits representing the states of Mexico. The garments have been selected to represent the traditional textiles, art, dance, and culture of each Mexican state.

The collection on which the exhibition is based was formed by the Brownsville chapter of the Pan American Round Table (PART), a women's group established in 1918 to foster understanding, knowledge, and friendship among the peoples of the Western Hemisphere. In 1932, the women in the Brownsville PART began collecting traditional garments from different Pan American countries and from every state of Mexico. Over the decades, the collection has grown into one of the largest collections of North, Central, and South American textiles.

The dresses reflect both the indigenous and European influences that have shaped Mexican culture and tradition. Weaving, embroidery, and lace feature prominently. Heavy fabrics and multiple layers speak to the climate of Mexico’s mountainous regions. Ruffles and flounces add movement to the dresses worn for dancing and celebration. Some dresses reflect Mexico’s vaquero culture and revolutionary spirit, while other dresses are a connection to Mexico’s deep Catholic faith. Through it all, color and pattern shine brightly as a testament to the vibrant and varied regions of Mexico.


Threads of Tradition is made possible in partnership with the Brownsville Historical Association.

The Bullock Museum, a division of the Texas State Preservation Board, is funded by Museum members, donors, and patrons, the Texas State History Museum Foundation, and the State of Texas.