Ladies First

When officials at the Herbert Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa, asked Barbara Bush for the loan of a gown, she declined -- because she's "still wearing all of my clothing." Along with her regrets, she sent Millie's dog dish and a personally needlepointed bag, to be exhibited in the show of First Lady-abilia at the library through the end of October.

Chronicling what director Richard Norton Smith calls the "costs and pleasures of life at 1600 Pennsylvania" are dresses -- from Mamie's dowdy fuchsia ensemble to Jackie's sleek white Oleg Cassini. Equally eloquent on White House life are Abigail Adams's corset, Eleanor Roosevelt's riding habit, Eliza Monroe's tiara and Mary Todd Lincoln's commitment papers.

Call the library for more information at (319) 643-5301. Meanwhile, let's pass the plate for a new dish for Millie. Picturing Indonesia

With the Festival of Indonesia in town for the next 18 months, why not satay over to the International Monetary Fund for the Art Society's latest show -- 47 paintings by Affandi currently holding their own in the fund's hyper Hyatt-esque atrium? Affandi was one of Indonesia's foremost artists, "yet few Americans know him," laments society president and IMF economist Martin Gilman. The artist's compelling, colorful portraits and landscapes depict both Indonesian and American scenes and subjects.

To acquaint Washington with the art of its member countries, the Art Society presents eight such shows a year. "Affandi: In America" continues through Oct. 19. It's open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. Information: (202) 623-8378.

Bach to Vermont

What more could you want than the colorful Vermont fall? How about the New England Bach Festival, and its equally colorful artistic director and presiding spirit, Blanche Honegger Moyse, widely acclaimed for her moving interpretations of Bach? Every fall, Moyse pointedly features Bach's lesser-known cantatas and lots of passion -- St. John's, St. Matthew's... . For more information on the festival, which runs through Nov. 8, call (802) 257-4523. TRAVEL TRIVIA What is the origin of the Aran sweater?

ANSWER BELOW TRIVIA ANSWER: THE SWEATERS, NOW HIGH-FASHION WEAR, WERE FIRST KNITBY FISHERMEN'S WIVES IN DISTINCTIVE PATTERNS AS A MEANS OFIDENTIFYING THE BODIES IF THEIR HUSBANDS DROWNED. ADVISORY WATCHEl Salvador. With guerrilla attacks still occurring in the San Salvador area and in the eastern and northern parts of the country, visitors should exercise caution. Arrive in time to clear Customs and depart the airport by 5:30 p.m., and remain indoors after 1 a.m.

Nepal. Conditions are unpredictable because of strikes and demonstrations, and Americans should closely monitor events before travel.

Tanzania. Severe restrictions on photography are being enforced, and the U.S. Embassy is not always notified of Americans' arrests. Street crime is a problem.

Trinidad and Tobago. Though conditions in Port of Spain are improving, they have not completely returned to normal after the recent hostage crisis. A nighttime curfew remains in effect.

For details, and the most current information, contact the Citizens Emergency Center, (202) 647-5225.