Mirabal Sisters clothing collection at Resistance Museum
The Dominican Resistance Memorial Museum is exhibiting a selection of restored clothing sewn and worn by the Mirabal sisters who were slain in 1960 at the orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. The exhibition of the "The Mirabal Sisters Textile Collection" seeks to give people a closer, more human look at the heroines, who have since become symbols of the struggle to eliminate violence against women. Known as the "Butterflies," Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal led an opposition movement against Trujillo (1930-1961).
The sisters were honored by the United Nations when the date of their murder on 25 November by the dictator's Military Intelligence Service was named International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Museum director Luisa de Peña says that the dresses, shawls and lingerie that they themselves had embroidered gives people a better insight into these brave women who led a life of self-sacrifice and chose the path of honor, paying the highest price with their lives. The exhibition will be open through March 2017.
The clothing required a long restoration process that began when Belgica (Dede), the surviving Mirabal sister, warned of the deterioration of all the clothes that had been left in her mother's house, later made into a museum, and where the "butterflies" lived after being released from prison, until they were killed. Their husbands meanwhile had stayed in jail, where they felt less vulnerable.
The collection on display includes some of the 360 items of clothing that had been exposed to the elements for over 50 years and were restored by Patria's daughter Noris Gonzalez Mirabal, who traveled to Guatemala and the United States for training in how to restore the heroines' clothing, with the support of the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic. González recalls seeing the sisters embroidering the clothes when she was a child.*The Resistance Museum is in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo.