During my travels for billontheroad.com I’ve experienced all sorts of things that I’d never before contemplate as a solo male traveling across America. Broadening your horizons is good. At least that’s what I read once on a bumper sticker. If stepping inside an homage to purses isn’t a step outside the comfort zone – I’m not sure what is.
Located in a section of Little Rock that’s undergone incredible transformation in the last few years is the Esse Purse Museum. Owner and founder Anita Davis admits she can be a bit compulsive at times – and couldn’t stop buying purses, especially the odd, unique or quirky ones she’d find at thrift stores and antique malls.
The entire collection (one of many collections Davis claims to have) makes up the Esse Purse Museum. Each display case shows purses through the decades including a bit of history and also items that might have been inside those purses at the time they were popular. It’s not a huge museum by any means but it’s the only purse museum in the United States and only the third in world.
Attached to the museum is a store of higher end purses and accessories including some smaller gifts that allow just about anyone to walk out with something in their price range.
Davis says that even guys will walk into the museum, though usually dragged in by their wife or girlfriend. Even the most skeptical guys (I’ll put myself in that group) will leave the tour amused and informed. However, let’s not sugar coat it – this is definitely a stop that women will really enjoy.
Ms. Davis is also a major force behind the re-birth of the south main neighborhood of Little Rock, Arkansas though other store owners and residents told me she downplays her role.
Either way, the street is a fun stretch of small businesses and even a beautiful neighborhood garden Davis owns called The Bernice Garden.
Take a quick peek inside the Esse Purse Museum and meet owner Anita Davis in the video below: