Women's "Unmentionables" On Display In Little Rock Museum

Jan 30, 2018

A sample of the display of women's undergarments in the new exhibit "Exposed" in Little Rock.
Credit David Monteith / KUAR News

Starting Tuesday history of women’s undergarments will be on display in Little Rock at the nation’s only purse museum.

ESSE Purse Museum’s newest exhibit, Exposed, features what the museum refers to as women’s “unmentionables” from the 1900s to the 1960s.

“We really try and stick with things that can be connected to women and can tell the history of women in a unique way,” said Ally Weaver, the museum’s director.

Exposed is a temporary display that will run through the end of April. It’s designed to complement the permanent display of purses and handbags and the stories they tell.

“We’ve got the 1900s, 1910s, and 1920s and just in these three cases you can see so much progression already starting to happen, from the really bound and restrictive corsets and undergarments to a much looser fitting number in the '20s,” Weaver said.

When asked about the impact of the recent attention brought by women’s marches and the #metoo campaign, Weaver said, “It’s been really exciting because there is this spotlight on women right now and trying to give women a voice and a way of not only appreciating where we’ve come from in the past but also looking forward to the future and where we can go from now on.”

ESSE, founded in 2013 by Anita Davis, is one of only three purse museums in the world.