All About the ESSE Purse Museum & Store

At the ESSE Purse Museum, Women's History Is in the Bag

As one of the world’s only 3 museums, the ESSE Purse Museum & Store is the highlight of Anita Davis’, the owner, dream of discovering the concepts of history, art, and feminine. ESSE came from Latin infinitive for “to be”, this represents what the visitors will get to find inside the museum – that all purses are not just a practical bag that a woman carries for her necessities, instead, it is a leeway of her essence, personal space, and all the things that makes her “her”. The visitors of the museum will discover that choosing a purse will tell much regarding the woman and her growing spot in the public circle.

More than the history of fashion, the permanent exhibits of ESSE celebrates and honors the 20th-century American woman’s progression decade-by-decade through her handbag and its contents. Through the material culture’s artful display and collection, along with the assistance of ephemera and photography, ESSE has provided a meditative picture of the accomplishments, struggles, and sweepingly of a woman in times that she lived.

Furthermore, ESSE also highlights temporary exhibits quarterly. These exhibits concentrate on the range of expressions and experiences that has touched the core mission of the museum of honoring and empowering all women. This museum is rapidly becoming a cultural center for the storytelling and female heritage of Central Arkansas.

The delightful museum of ESSE offers highly unusual and high-quality handbags. Moreover, you can also find eclectic, quirky scarves, jewelry, books, and more. Also, take note that most of these collections were handcrafted by international, national, and local artisans. The purses here ranges from wood, felt, leather, and other types of fabrics to recycled materials and rubber. With varying prices, its store here can offer something for all – including the distinctive ESSE logo mugs, postcards, and T-shirts.

What to Know

In the world, the dedicated purse museums are so rare. Seoul, Amsterdam, and Little Rock claim the difference of being the home to the 3 brick-and-mortar existing galleries. The museum features the evolving design, contents, and function of a purse and illustrates the story of the America women during 20th-century.

The collection here counts to more than 4,000 handbags. The on-site store sells lower-priced and high-end handcrafted purses as well as vintage purses. Moreover, you can also find jewelry, scarves, note cards, and books inside.

Business Hours

Esse Purse Museum - Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Sunday               10:00am – 3:00pm

Monday               Closed

Tuesday            11:00am – 4:00pm

Wednesday         11:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday             11:00am – 4:00pm

Friday                  11:00am – 4:00pm

Saturday             11:00am – 4:00pm

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