“Nice Threads” Capps Clothing Co. exhibit opens July 16

“Nice Threads,” a new major exhibit featuring the history of the Capps Clothing Company, will officially open to the public on Saturday, July 16 at the Jacksonville Area Museum in downtown Jacksonville. A special preview for museum members only will be offered on Wednesday evening, July 13.

“Nice Threads” traces the history of the company from 1839, when Joseph Capps started his wool carding business in Jacksonville, through the company’s closing in 1975. Many original artifacts are included in the exhibit, including men’s suits, topcoats, military uniforms, and the company’s famous Indian blankets that were a prominent feature of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Also featured are original fabrics, tools, company records, photographs, and the reminiscences of Capps employees through the years that can be accessed via podcast.

“Capps Clothing Company was Morgan County’s oldest manufacturing firm and the products it produced for more than 135 years were world-renowned for their quality,” said Jacksonville Area Museum Board Chairman David Blanchette. “Many current Jacksonville residents either worked at Capps or knew someone who did, and the factory’s impact on the community’s history is profound.” 

At its height, Capps employed 450 workers and made clothes that were sold in more than 800 retail establishments in 40 states. 

The Jacksonville Area Museum uses original artifacts, storytelling exhibits and the building itself, as well as items from the MacMurray College Foundation and Alumni Association collection, to show people of all ages and backgrounds why the Jacksonville community has been and continues to be one of a kind.

The museum is located in the old Post Office building at 301 E. State Street, and its regular schedule is Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. There is no admission fee but a donation of $5 is suggested to keep the all-volunteer museum operating.