Small Bags for Big Events: 100 Years of Pretty Purses

January 13, 2016 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
White River Valley Museum
918 H St SE
Auburn, WA 98002
$5 for adults, $2 for children and seniors.


With a century of handbags to choose from, the White River Museum’s new exhibit Small Bags for Big Events: 100 Years of Pretty Purses shows us just how lovely they can be. Covering every material you can think of from beads to brocade, and mesh to mother-of-pearl, the display presents examples from as early as 1860 through the 1960s. 

Typical of this Museum, it is not just a show of pretty purses, although for sure it is a dazzler. Woven throughout are displays and statements about what a woman of each era might carry in her bag. A tiny linen hanky might fill a drawstring lace bag of the 1870s. But by the 1920s, both scandalous and not-so -daring young women would fill their gold beaded bag with…deep breath…rouge and powder! By the 1950s a women’s sizable flower-patterned, plastic handbag most likely contained car keys, lipstick, a mirror and cash! Each story tells us something about women’s’ roles as they attend the special dress-up events of their lives.