Wyoming Arts Council

"Pocketbook Anthropology" at State Museum

From a Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources press release:

“Pocketbook Anthropology: A Treasure of Handbags,” a display of unique women’s handbags, is on display at the Wyoming State Museum through Jan. 15. The exhibit is organized by ExhibitsUSA, the national exhibition touring program of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the display takes a closer look at this uniquely significant item and its place in today’s society.

For a woman, one of life’s most essential items is her handbag. Of all her belongings—and by whatever name it’s called, whether handbag, bag, purse, or old-fashioned pocketbook—this object is not only one of the most indispensable but also one of the most meaningful and best loved.

“Pocketbook Anthropology” showcases more than 50 purses dating from 1880 to the present day. Visitors will have a chance to view handbags made from a myriad of different materials ranging from cigarette packs to silk to beads to precious metals. There are funky bags, elegant bags, whimsical bags, and utilitarian bags.

The exhibition also features hands-on examples, as well as anecdotes, quips, and literary quotations about this uniquely feminine item.

“Pocketbook Anthropology: A Treasure of Handbags” is organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA. The purpose of ExhibitsUSA is to create access to an array of arts and humanities exhibitions, nurture the development and understanding of diverse art forms and cultures, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. ExhibitsUSA is a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1972.

The Wyoming State Museum is located in the Barrett Building, 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne. For more information about this or other State Museum programs, please call 777-7021.

Photo: Susan Romaine, “This Bag is Not a Toy,” silk-screened fabric, plexiglass and metal, 7 3/8 x 5 7/8 x 3 inches, courtesy Kiara Balish. From ExhibitsUSA web site.

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