Esse Purse Museum

by | Aug 3, 2020

The permanent collection at Little Rock’s Esse Purse Museum, What’s Inside: A History of Women and Handbags 1900-1999, is a fun, fascinating and revealing glimpse into the foremost female fashion accessory, the purse. Chronicling more than just fashion trends, however, the decade by decade exhibit explores the evolution, revolution, and liberation of women in the 20th-century through the ever-changing styles, colors, materials, shapes, and sizes of women’s handbags, and the contents within. Things like smelling salts, a dance card, a fan, or handbag hanger. Putting things in a broader context, a placard on each display case provides visitors a synopsis of the social, cultural and economic forces at play in that decade.

One of just three purse museums in the world, the only one in the US, and one of a minute number of museums dedicated to women’s history, this museum may be on the small side, but like any good purse, it crams a ton inside. A welcoming and knowledgeable staff, temporary exhibits, and a gift shop round out this museum’s offerings. Don’t forget to weigh your own purse on the dial scale and record its weight in a log book.

Visit the Esse Purse Museum

Esse Purse Museum
1510 Main St
Little Rock, AR 72202

Open Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Admission $10.00, $8.00 for students, seniors, and military, under 6, free.

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Esse Purse Museum

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