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Esse Purse Museum & Store, Little Rock

#5 of 13 in Museums in Little Rock
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Esse Purse Museum & Store showcases more than fashion history, ESSE’s permanent exhibit honors and celebrates the progression of the 20th-century American woman – decade by decade – through the lens of her handbag and the contents within. Through the collection and artful display of this material culture, as well as with the help of photography and ephemera, ESSE provides a contemplative portrayal of the woman’s struggles, accomplishments, and more sweepingly, the times in which she lived.

Not only is ESSE a woman-owned small business, but The Store at ESSE is a supporter of artisans from all over the world – a small business supporting other small businesses. At ESSE, we believe quality craftmanship, ethically sourced products and items that support, not suppress, the people who make them justify a higher cost.

Art is more than a possession, it's a feeling, a memory and a frame of mind – and ESSE sells art in the form of purses, jewelry and more.
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Esse Purse Museum & Store reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
211 reviews
  • The Esse Museum is a true treasure! From the architecture detail to the wonderful collection of displayed purses and related historical views of culture ...we are so lucky to have this in Little Rock....  more »
  • Wow what a great little museum! And I don't even carry a purse! Decade by decade this gem of museum shows you what type of purse they carried and what they had in them. They also sell all sorts...  more »
  • We had considered stopping at this museum earlier as we walked by but wondered if it was worth it. Well, it is! The store was open late for the First Friday event, and on our after dinner walk, we were enticed by the staff to come on in the open door. It was so interesting to see the collection as well as talk with the very knowledgeable staff. My husband enjoyed it as much as I did, which was a bit of a surprise. Not normally his kind of thing. The history there is really something. So many things you recognize and remember. There is a wonderful selection of bags and accessories available for sale, too. So glad that by just happenstance on out last night in Little Rock we got to see this little gem of a museum.
  • What a treat of a Museum with lovely hosts on a fabulous road in downtown Little Rock! I spent an hour visiting the Esse museum with my 3 little daughters and we were transported back in time and memories as I recognized handbags that my grandmother used, then the types of handbags that my mother/their grandmother used and finally the type of handbags I used as a kid in the 80's and 90's! My daughters loved the different stories and styles! My 8-yr old wanted to walk through the museum again and spend all her pocket money on handbags and jewelry in the shop full of eye-candy delights!! We will most definately return when my girls are a bit older for another fun mother-daughter date and shopping spree!!

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