As usual, Kelowna has enjoyed some gloriously hot summer days so far this year. For many, that is exactly why they live, work, visit and play in Kelowna. It’s a good time to bust out the swim gear and head down to one of Kelowna’s many beaches, but how much do you know about the history of swimwear? Have you ever stopped to consider why we wear what we do?

If you’d like to brush up on your knowledge of swim trunks, bikinis and speedos, there’s an exhibit currently running at the Okanagan Heritage Museum (470 Queensway Avenue) that’s just for you - Babes and Bathers: History of the Swimsuit. The exhibit presents swimwear trends from the past century.

Babes & Bathers Okanagan Heritage Museum
 Photo by: Kelowna Museums

Babes and Bathers has been brought together by guest curator, Ivan Sayers. Sayers, originally from Summerland, is a fashion historian who focuses on fashions dating from 1700 to the present day - he has been collecting pieces of interest since he was 14.

Not only will Babes and Bathers be a fascinating opportunity to get further acquainted with items that are central to life in Kelowna (history is great at revealing why we live the way we do), but if you want to beat the Kelowna heat for a few hours, a trip to the museum could be just the tonic.

In addition to the swimwear from across the last one hundred years, the exhibit includes a range of photographs depicting Kelowna beach scenes from as far back as the 1910s, showing that as much as things change, the majesty of Kelowna and the pull of Okanagan Lake remains as strong as ever.

Babes and Bathers runs until Monday, September 3rd, 2018, and the Okanagan Heritage Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. There is no charge to visit the Okanagan Heritage Museum, but a $5 donation is suggested.

Keep an eye on the Kelowna Museums Society website, as they regularly have interesting exhibits promoting the heritage and history of our region. Whether Kelowna is home or your favourite vacation spot, you’re sure to enjoy an afternoon at one of our local museums!


Vince Jones

Vince Jones is a Bachelor of Arts graduate from UBC Okanagan and a passionate supporter of local and independent music. In the past, Vince was featured on 102.7 The PEAK in Vancouver, contributed to CBC Radio West and KelownaNow as a music columnist. He has hosted and contributed to indie music podcasts, and has booked, emceed and promoted numerous shows. He is currently the Marketing Manager for Kelowna’s Walker Real Estate

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