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Notes from the Boston Exhibit

== by Daniel G., a trip report from Boston, Opening August 1, 2004

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy The Exhibition

Hello all,

I wore my Frodo costume to the Boston exhibit opening yesterday and I have a few comments:

First, find any reason to see this exhibit, it's absolutely amazing. There is so much more detail on these props, costumes, armour, weapons than is possible to photograph except in studio conditions with a high quality camera. There is an original R2-D2 costume that Kenny Baker wore from Return of the Jedi in the same museum (in the computer exhibit) and it looks positively crude next to the LOTR stuff. It really looks more like an archeological exhibit than a movie exhibit.

Second, as it is my personal subject of research I will describe what  I saw of the Frodo costume (the only hobbit one on display). It is the scale double version with the green travel cloak. The description next to the costume says: Hemp-velvet-wool-silk.

The cloak looked like raw silk to me or a rough spun wool, just a  shade lighter than my own wool cloak. I'll find the closest match on some color card later. The fabric is very coarse but tightly woven. It is also fully lined with the same fabric as the linings are not sewn together at the bottom and the inner one is slightly shorter. The bottom hem reaches mid calf approximately (there were no feet on the mannequin). The cloak hood at the back reaches to the height of the middle vest button.

The coat fabric was identical in color and weave to the Em-Be fabric I used for mine except the weave was smaller on the scale costume.  There were swatches of the full and scale coat fabric in another display and the full one is identical except for being described as made of hemp.

The coat buttons were fabric covered in the same color as the coat (a slight shade darker but it could be the lighting) with a plain weave and about 1/2" in diameter. (I'm not convinced the full scale one had fabric covered buttons though as the photo in the Art of FOTR looks more like wood or leather). The coat facing is exactly the same velvet as the breeches.

The breeches are identical in color to the Museum Replicas ones as close as the display would permit comparisons. The velvet covered buttons look quite standard although quite small - about 3/8" diameter. What I could see of the drop front makes me think Museum Replicas made them not open low enough. I couldn't tell if there was a zipper behind though. 

On the subject of drop fronts, I don't know what Nglia was thinking with the velvet covered buttons (they look good but are not very practical)

The vest is the same kind of cotton velvet as the breeches but much more orange rust - slightly more orange than the velvet I found. The vest buttons are slightly aged pewter dome around 3/8" in diameter. The facing behind the vest buttons matches the separate trim piece where the buttons and buttons holes are as far as I could see and was of the same velvet. The lining was satin and a medium brown in color and identical to the lining of the coat.

The shirt is an off-white cream color and looks like linen but the description doesn't mention linen. The buttons are fabric covered metal backed almost identical to those found by Kay Dee in New Jersey at this website: http://www.beltbutton.com/index.htm and are about 3/8" in diameter. If the coat buttons are fabric covered they could make those as well.

Sting is displayed in a separate case with the Mithril shirt, Galadriel's phial and other props. It is between 17-3/4" and 18-1/4" long and thus doesn't match either the United Cutlery nor the Noble versions - it is shorter than both. (I had a fabric tape measure held against the glass - Sting was about 2" in).

In the same display as the coat fabric swatches there is a sample of Frodo's braces (suspenders) in both scales. They're very hard to describe, like the few photos we've seen show there is a trace of a herringbone pattern but there are other patterns in layers barely visible as well. The colors are very close to the ones in the Lothlorien photos, natural linen or wool, dark brown (very little), dark olive green, light grey, medium grey, and a trace of yellow. The back of them was covered with yellow fabric of some sort as in the photo of Frodo in the tree on page 31 of the official movie guide.

The overall costume colors on that photo are very accurate. The heavy looking chevrons barely show on the real ones. The one thing for sure is the weave is primarily at an angle of 20-30 degrees and the edges show that angle. I bought a paperback 2004-2005 Student Planner at the gift shop and the photos inside are printed at a pretty good quality. There is one of Frodo in Mordor which shows the best photo I've seen of the suspenders. BTW forget the hardbound one as the photos in it are not as well printed to see details.Third, as it was the opening day the media were out in force. I was interviewed by 2 local TV stations and by 3 newspapers, one of which took 30 picture of me in front of the real Frodo costume! We weren't allowed to take pictures but of course the media had free reign of the entire exhibit. I'm not sure how many showed up but all day from midnight on there were lots of people that showed up in costume from the simple and cheesy to the awesome and jaw dropping (several Arwens and a Theoden among others). The actor who played Lurtz, the Witch- king, and Gothmog - Lawrence Makoare was there in full orc makeup and costume and later sat down for autographs and photos.


More photos from opening night:

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