Thursday, 9 September 2010

Handbag time capsules

Continuing my research for my collaborative project with Stoke Potteries Museum and Art Gallery I sent a request for items including handbags to Laura the Documentation Assistant. Today I found this email in my inbox,

'Angela, our volunteer, and I looked through some of the handbags yesterday. There are some lovely ones and some with narratives that I thought you may like. Many of them had built-in mirrors in and a few had combs. I am attaching photos, but may have to send them in batches. 3609/3610 belonged to Lady Bagot and we found some old Harrod's toothpicks inside it.

3626/3627 apeared to have some sort of net hair/ bun knot inside it. 3632/3633 had a library card inside, although the date may be a little later than you were thinking. Quite a few of the bags had an odd button in, like this.

3651/3652 had a perfume bottle, lipstick holder and some other type of case inside.

3671 - 3678 are all of the same case, which was a vertiable treasure trove, with a manicure set, notebook and pencil, name and address card, torn up note(s?) and a section for blank telegrams!'

I found all these items really interesting and full of potential for a backstory. I like the fact that these handbags have obviously been left untouched for years even decades before their contents have been rediscovered. As mundane as they might seem I feel excited to be part of unearthing the objects from these time capsules.

The thing which intrigued me most is the torn up note.
What did it say? Why was it torn up? and why was it kept in a handbag? It's questions like these which feed into my interest with belongings and narrative and will definately have some place in my work with the museum.

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