Remember my virtual vacation? I didn’t actually take any time off that week, I was working the whole time. In fact, I’ve hardly taken any days off this year…and here we are counting down to year’s end and I have roughly a gazillion hours of time and—well, I decided to take a mental health day. Thanks to Twitter, I knew The Women’s Museum had a new exhibit opening, so I decided it was time I went down there to check them out.
The museum is located in Dallas’s Fair Park, in a building that was built to celebrate Texas’s Centennial in the thirties. (Is it just me, or do those s’s — like Dallas’s & Texas’s — make you crazy? I keep looking it up, but apparently it’s correct. Looks so wrong to me, though.)
Where was I? Oh, Fair Park. A very nice place on a balmy Fall day, albeit in a not-very-nice neighborhood. I saw rather more of the neighborhood than I meant to due to following the directions on the museum’s site rather than my nose. (Gate 2 is not such a good option. Gate 3 is what you want. Trust me on this.)
The building has been revamped and restored into a space that’s an intriguing combination of high-tech and history. There’s an electronic “quilt,” ticker-tape style quotes, and the best 3-d projection I have ever seen (Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s welcome speech).
There’s also a multitude of exhibits, chronicling the history and status of women from the middle ages to the present. I was fascinated to read the ups and downs, from women hundreds and hundreds of years ago with status as businesswomen/authority figures to women not so long ago whose status was “property” and back again. I had no idea there were so many ebbs and flows in the tide.
Aside from a long-held hankering to visit the The Women’s Museum, my motivation for going was their new exhibit, “The Purse and the Person: A Century of Women’s Purses.” While (unlike some I could name) I’m not a purseaholic, that just sounded fun. Besides, it wasn’t just purses; the exhibit included contents of representative eras. For instance, Edwardian ladies carried calling cards and smelling salts; flappers added ciggies and makeup; WWII women needed room for ration books, and so on.
Speaking of purse contents, have you ever wondered what Queen Elizabeth carries in her purse? Or why she carries a purse at all? Doesn’t she have flunkies for that?
Anyway, it’s a charming and informative exhibit that—judging from the reaction of two pre-teen girls and their mom, who were also viewing—appeals to women of all ages. The third floor holds another special exhibit, “Women in Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America” which, while I’m not Catholic, I found both interesting and touching.
All in all, The Women’s Museum was an excellent way to spend my day off. If you’re in the Dallas area, check it out! At only $5 admission, it provides plenty of bang for your buck.
And did I mention the gift shop sells shoes? Seriously. I confess, I found myself torn between thinking, “Isn’t this a wee bit stereotypical?” and “Those black boots are fierce!” The Women’s Museum is open noon-5, Tuesdays through Saturdays.