Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Morning Call: ‘PURSEonality’ to spare: Massive handbags exhibit coming to Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites will host “PURSEonality: A Stylish Handbag History, the personal collection of Ilene Hochberg Wood” Oct. 11 through April 30, 2020.

The exhibit will be at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts at 427 N. New St. and the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem at 66 W. Church St.

The collection’s design style ranges from folk art to contemporary, and is the debut of curated selections from Wood’s collection. With a stockpile in the thousands, it is perhaps the largest assortment of handbags in the U.S., if not the world.

Museum visitors will have the opportunity to experience a timeline of the handbag, which represents the trends and styles of each decade. Also, guests can explore the Handbag Hall of Fame, which features the most rare, unusual and expensive purses acquired by Wood — a lifetime collector of art with a degree in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University.


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