A Museum for Handbags

Vicki Batman

Vicki Batman

2015-06-29 09:01:36

Many of my friends know of my love for all things handbags. Some have gifted me with treasures. Some have been on my blog and shown theirs. Recently, a friend asked me if I’d heard of the Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas.


I hadn't! So I googled the museum and perused the website. I found many enjoyable things to comment on. I landed on the contact us button and traded an email and phone call with Laura Cartwright Hardy from Public Relations. Here’s what I found out: 

Esse Purse Museum began with Anita Davis who had been collecting handbags for thirty years. She had done many travel museum exhibits, but wanted to recurate her collection in a permanent home. This she did in Little Rock, Arkansas in a former candy/cigarette building which she renovated.

Laura told me there are only three handbag museums in the world and only one in the U.S.: the Esse Purse Museum. Esse comes from the Latin "to be" which translates nicely into women’s essence in handbags. The museum showcases handbags from 1900 to 1999. Each decade is featured in a case. Four specialty cases include: skins, evening, travel, and philosophy. The next temporary exhibit, which opens March 7, will be an antique button collection.

FMI: Esse Museum Website

Esse Museum Shop

Esse Museum Facebook Page

Want to have some handbag fun? How about submitting your handbag for The ESSE Purse Project? As the museum says, “we believe you can get a feel for a woman’s personality through the contents of her purse, as well as from the purse itself. What story does your purse hold and tell? Are you willing to share that story with the world, anonymously or proudly proclaimed?

From the website, here’s how to participate: send a clear, medium resolution photo (no whopper files, please) to essepursemuseum@gmail.com with the subject line “ESSE Purse Project.” Make sure the photo includes your purse and its contents artfully displayed (feel free to censor/omit embarrassing or identifying contents).

Please specify whether you want to share your full name, first name, city – or some other category such as age, job title, mother of three. But if you want to be totally anonymous, that’s fine, too. Please also include this statement:  “I give The ESSEntial Blog full permission to use this photo.”

I’m intrigued! And ready for a road trip!! Who’s in? 

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Vicki Batman


2015-06-29 09:01:36

Ha. My wife would join you for sure!

Vicki Batman

2015-06-29 09:01:36

Hi, Bethesda: I'd love it. Instead, have her sub to the Purse Project!

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