Clutch It! The Purse & The Person

Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Through Monday February 14, 2011

Purse - peacock feather patterned bag, circa 1920

The Purse & The Person: A Century of Women’s Purses brings together life stories buried right under our noses—in the purses carried by our mothers and grandmothers. Developed from a private collection of over 3,000 purses and accessories, this exhibition looks at purses from the inside out, examining day-to-day life reflected in a very personal, very female artifact—a woman’s handbag.

This exhibit uses purses and their contents as a window on the changing roles of women over the past hundred years. Eight exhibition vignettes examine iconic women of the 20th century, from the Edwardian matron to the Superwoman of recent decades. Glimpse into the lives of Edwardian matrons, flappers, wartime Rosie the Riveters, suburban housewives, hippies, businesswomen and more. The women of the 20th century reveal their personalities, their fashion sense, and their day-to-day concerns brought out in the mysterious depths of their purses.

Look inside the purses and discover the personalities of the past and find familiar objects as well as items whose purpose has long since faded. Specific purse contents may bring to mind the demands of wartime, the excitement of travel or the paraphernalia of motherhood. Major themes of the 20th century – prosperity, hardship, war, peace, women’s rights – are clearly visible among these purses and their contents.

Curated by the Curatrix Group, San Francisco, California

For more information click here.

Thank you to the Museum of History & Industry for this information!

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