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The Purse and the Person at The Women's Museum

The Purse and the Person: A Century of Women’s Purses
The Women’s Museum
Through January 24, 2010

The Purse and the Person: A Century of Women’s Purses, an exhibit of vignettes and artifacts from the 20th century will open at The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future on November 13, 2009. This exhibit brings together life stories as told through the purses and possessions of our mothers and grandmothers. Developed from a collection of over 3,000 artifacts, this exhibition looks at purses from the inside out, examining day-to-day life reflected from a very personal perspective. This exhibition will remain on view at The Women’s Museum until January 24th, 2010.

Purse and the Person explores iconic women of the twentieth century, including Edwardian matrons, flappers, wartime Rosie the Riveters, suburban housewives, hippies and businesswomen. As visitors look at what’s inside the purses, they will find familiar objects they’ve known and used 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.

Exhibit vignettes explore the changing role of women, from the counterculture flappers and hippies to homemakers and fashionistas. Both fashionable and functional, these artifacts illustrate the changing priorities, culture, economics and role of women of the 1900s through items that women carried with them every day. This nationally-touring exhibit was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Women’s Museum, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only comprehensive women’s history museum that chronicles the lives of American women through interactive exhibits. The Women’s Museum is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays). For more information, please visit

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