Thursday, 23 July 2015

Exhibition Highlights Women

Photograph by Katie Harvey

The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum presents a new exhibit which highlights the role of women in the household, and the history of women's beauty. The exhibit on beauty contains such items as: jewellery boxes, hair pins, a gold brooch and a very unique powder case.

Photograph by Kenneth J. Harvey

Powder cases, more commonly known as compacts, date to the early 1900s. In those times, make-up had not gained widespread social acceptance, and so were concealed by women. Purses had special compartments to store your compact, and later they were attached to finger chains so they could be displayed. 

It was considered taboo for women to talk about going to the bathroom, so they would excuse themselves to go “powder their noses.” Compacts were reusable in the past, but in the 1960s they began to be manufactured as disposable. 

Photograph by Kenneth J. Harvey

In the past, the household was strictly the woman's domain. She was responsible for taking care of the children, and tending to any housework that needed to be done. Darren Hynes writes:

"Housework was year-round and was exclusively the woman's domain. Women and girls had to cook, set the table, wash the dishes, do the wash, iron, sew, sweep the [floor], and rock the baby. Some activities took place on certain days, for example, scrubbing might be done on Saturday, as was polishing shoes, cleaning the cutlery, and preparing Sunday clothes. Added to the round of housework and child-raising were activities such as carding and spinning wool and knitting it into garments, 'fancy work', sewing (making clothes and joining quilts), and making mats."

The exhibit displays artifacts that women would have used to wash and iron clothes, as well as a beautiful old spinning wheel which was used to spin wool. Come visit the museum and learn see how women lived in the past.

-Katie Harvey

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