The ESSE Purse Museum commemorates the journey of the twentieth-century American woman through the lens of the handbag and its contents. A magnificent array of over 300 unique handbags is on show in the museum. Glitter, Shimmer, and Shine: A Special Exhibit on the Beauty of Bling will be on exhibit.
Little Rock may not be the first location that springs to mind when you think of fashion, but did you know it also has the United States’ first handbag museum?
The ESSE Purse Museum, located on Main Street in the SoMa district, commemorates the journey of the twentieth-century American woman through the lens of the handbag and its contents.
A magnificent array of over 300 unique handbags is on show in the museum—and that’s only a small portion of owner Anita Davis’ collection!
Visitors are welcome to travel through the decades from 1910 to the 1990s as they investigate the connection of women’s history and fashion.
This month, ESSE celebrates Valentine’s Day with a brand-new exhibit, Glitter, Shimmer, and Shine: A Special Exhibit on the Beauty of Bling!
The display will feature the most eye-catching beaded, bedazzled, and dazzling handbags from numerous decades and styles.
ESSE Purse Museum
Although beaded purses were originally seen in the nineteenth century, the Roaring Twenties made all that glitters and sparkles a fashion must-have.
Women didn’t need huge bags to carry their belongings because they made up just around 20% of the labour force at the time and were mostly housewives. As a result, handbags were often small.
Most ladies at the time carried at least two handbags, one for the day and one for the evening.
As 1920s fashion continued to lean towards sparkle and glamour, these evening bags quickly gained popularity.
The glittering handbag became a symbol of a trendy, sophisticated woman as women acquired more independence during the decade.
Although the exquisite embellishments and designs of the 1920s were replaced by practicality in the 1930s, these eye-catching purses never truly went out of style.
From February 14 through May 14, 2023, Glitter, Shimmer, and Shine: A Special Exhibit on the Beauty of Bling will be on exhibit.
Visitors are invited to a Mother’s Day celebration at 1510 Main Street on May 14, the last day of the show.
The ESSE Purse Museum & Store is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students, seniors (60+), and $8 for military personnel.
The ESSE Purse Museum is a museum in Little Rock, Arkansas that exhibits women’s purses and the goods carried in them on a daily basis, illustrating the story of American women’s lives in the 1900s. The museum hosts special topic exhibits and features a gift store.
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