We recently visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art and encountered this fashion timeline - all constructed of plain cotton fabric and only about three foot tall.
The signage encouraged touching and even gave directions on what to look for underneath, for instance, the cage crinoline under the 1860 example.
I found it to be very well done - the use of a single neutral fabric, really highlighted the lines of each dress, without overlooking the typical placement of trimmings for each era.
I was also pleased by each having proper underpinnings too; I know I've frequently been asked "what's under there" when dresses in period clothing and I'll usually oblige with an explanation and a bit of lifting my skirts.
Perhaps another project....