Collection of vintage purses at The Regional Museum in Rzeszow

The Regional Museum in Rzeszów bought a set of 72 vintage purses from the private collection of Hanna Szudzińska via the company “STRICTE” (Magda Jaworek from Warsaw). The purchase was possible due to the funding from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and budget of Podkarpackie Voivodeship.

The valuable collection of handbags complements resources of women's clothing at the Museum, especially fashion accessories, and makes the Crafts Gallery more interesting and attractive.

This unique collection consists of 72 objects which are made in style of 19th century (biedermeier, historicism), the turn of the 20th century (secession) and to the art deco of 1920s and 1930s.

Handbags came mainly from the countries of Western Europe (Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland), but there are also purses from United States of America, Russia and Poland. This collection represents elements with different shapes and sizes: handbags, reticules and purses. The collection is characterized by a variety of materials, from which the objects were made, but there are also a multitude of techniques used to produce them. Metal handbags are a big part of collection: silver and chainmail bags, American handbags (so-called “carry all” – (art deco) tiny purses with gilded bronze and alpacca (new silver)). Handbags are made of fabric (velvet, baize, georgette, wool, brocade (decorated with metallic or silver elements)). Purses are decorated with wonderful ornaments and “au petite point “ (Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo motifs), framed in different openwork metallic frames. Glamorous reticules are another part of collection (floral embroidered patterns with glass or metal beads). The collection also includes elegant leather handbags (silver-rimmed) and bags made of skin of monitor lizard).

This collection of purses, as a separate exposition, as well as group of thing which is connected with the whole museum, presents very interesting history of an important women's fashion accessory of the 20th century, and at the same time “small” part of Art (variety of forms and decorations). Valuable purchases of which the collection is made are important objects of material culture, analogs of which can be found in Polish, but first of all in European museums. These handbags form a set of beautiful objects in the field of arts and crafts by historic value, exceptional quality and aesthetic.


 The exhibition of handbags takes place between 28th June and 31th October 2016. Free entrance.


Tłumaczenie: Polina Prylepska