SPECIAL POST! We answer your questions about The Vintage Purse Museum


Brocade shoes and matching clutch, one of The Vintage Purse Museum's most popular social media photos.

SPECIAL POST: Wendy Dager, curator of The Vintage Purse Museum, answers your questions.

Wendy Dager answers commonly asked questions about The Vintage Purse Museum collection. If there’s something you’d like to know that was not answered here, please email info@vintagepursemuseum.com.

Question: Who owns The Vintage Purse Museum and where is it?
Wendy Dager: The Vintage Purse Museum is owned by my husband Mike and me in Tucson, Arizona. I do the curating and acquisitions, as well as uploading of photos to our websites and all of the social media postings. I also research, write and post historical articles about handbags. Mike builds and updates the accommodations in our storage facility, and is the contractor behind our pet project: a mobile handbag exhibit inside a vintage trailer.

Q: Can I visit the collection?
WD: Not at this time as it is housed in a private location. The Vintage Purse Museum started in 2012 as an online exhibit so anyone anywhere in the world could see the collection. This idea ended up inadvertently being ahead of its time when Covid happened. The collection is viewable on social media—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, where we post photos, videos and information. I also do in-person handbag lectures and exhibits, although not in 2020, for obvious reasons.

A sampling of our collection.

Q: Do any of the website photos show items that are NOT in your collection? 
WD: Everything you see here, aside from a few photos provided by relatives of handbag makers that we’ve interviewed, or other source-credited ephemera (such as old newspaper ads and online public documents), is part of The Vintage Purse Museum collection.

Q: What’s in the collection? Are any bags for sale?
WD: We have over a thousand bags of all styles and materials, purse accessories (such as compacts, lipstick cases, etc.) and handbag-related ephemera, including vintage photographs, old advertisements and more. None of the items in The Vintage Purse Museum are for sale, however we plan to sell vintage clothing from my personal collection to help with the construction and maintenance of our mobile exhibit. Info coming soon!

Primary-color "telephone" coil cord bags from The Vintage Purse Museum collection.

Q: How long have you been collecting and why purses? 
WD: I have been a collector of vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories for over 30 years. I also have many pieces of vintage and antique furniture and lots of vintage home d├ęcor, which I happily display in my 1951 ranch-style home in Arizona. I especially love things that are quirky and unusual. Purses as an extreme collectible were sort of a natural evolution of my interests because to me they are such joyous, funny, whimsical or even breathtaking works of art on such small "canvases." Good things not only come in small packages, they're great conversation-starters. 

Lucite and rhinestone bag by Wilardy.

Q: What is your background?
WD: When I was a young adult I had a boring corporate job. After my children were born (1988 and 1991), I was a stay-at-home mom, writing and selling humorous greeting card copy, magazine articles and newspaper essays when I had time. I eventually became a professional freelance writer and embraced many types of writing, from really fun assignments to the boring corporate kind. I also worked as a “stringer” for a newspaper for twenty years, writing an opinion column, feature articles, entertainment stories, real estate advertorials and more. No regrets! Everything I've worked on is an experience and I've met a lot of incredible people along the way. When my younger daughter was in college, I went back to school (online) and got a certificate in Art Museum and Gallery Studies from California State University, East Bay. I wanted to open a vintage handbag and clothing museum in California (near Los Angeles), where we lived at the time, but it was not financially feasible. We moved to Arizona in 2020 and are currently exploring our options as to how to best serve a fabulous purse museum experience to an amazing vintage-friendly community. I continue to write, except now it's all purse-related history, including a book about the federal handbag tax of 1944-1965 and its impact on fashion, feminism, politics and more.

Midas of Miami embellished wicker frog purse.

Q: What’s the plan for The Vintage Purse Museum?
WD: Our long-term plan is to do in-person events in Arizona via our mobile handbag exhibit, built inside a 1961 Aristocrat Land Commander trailer. We will still have the online museum and social media pages for everyone to enjoy from home, with our primary goal of educating the public about vintage handbags before their history is lost to time. Keep checking our pages for photos of bags, accessories and ephemera, as well as articles about handbag makers. And, hopefully, a calendar of events. We're grateful to everyone for their support!

Photos and articles: Vintage Purse Museum Photo Archive or here
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vintagepursegallery
Twitter, Instagram and TikTok: @vintagepursegal
Vintage Purse Share and Information (non-sales Facebook group page for anyone interested in vintage bags:) https://www.facebook.com/groups/vintagepurseshare
Wendy Dager's writer bio 
Mobile handbag exhibit: Rolling Vintage (RV) Purse Museum

 Wendy Dager, curator of The Vintage Purse Museum. Questions, comments and a possible explanation about the small man on her head in this photo, please email info@vintagepurseumuseum.com.