Clutch It! The Purse and the Person

Ladies, what’s in your purse? (This reporter’s stash includes cell phone, makeup, and dog biscuits.) Clutch It! The Purse and the Person—A Century of Women’s Purses is an impressive collection of 250-plus handbags and their contents. There are purses made out of bottle caps, cigarette wrappers, and melon seeds, as well as contemporary high-end designs by Louis Vuiton and Prada. What’s inside them is even more intriguing. Flappers from the ’20s carried coins, compacts, and lipstick, while ’50s suburban housewives transported lozenges, children’s toys, and movie ticket stubs. Clutch It! provides an insightful yet playful glimpse at the lives and changing roles of women that will appeal to fashionistas as much as it does history buffs. And it’s certain to make you give greater thought to why you tote around what you do all day. ERIKA HOBART

Nov. 20-Feb. 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2010

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