10 Museums Worldwide Women Will Enjoy

Museums – Some JourneyWomen love ’em and some won’t go near them when they travel. We’ve compiled a list of 10 museums that might be fun to check out. They are all female-centred and will, in some cases, amuse and in others teach you a bit more about the culture you are visiting. Take a chance!

Textile Museum – Toronto, Canada

Are you interested in the history of fabrics? Do you love to decorate with more than modern design? Imagine a small space filled to the brim with 12,000 objects from more than 200 countries and regions. This charming collection housed in Toronto’s Textile Museum celebrates cultural diversity via traditional fabrics, garments, carpets, beadwork, and basketry. Their tiny museum shop offers unique gifts and books, as well as one-of-a-kind fashion accessories and home decorations by Canadian and international artisans. Website: www.textilemuseum.ca/

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum – Cleveland, Ohio, USA

This museum calls to all JourneyWomen! It is located in the terminal of Burke Lakefront Airport (Cleveland), only seconds from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Currently, the museum has on display the achievements of a number of women who have made an impact in air and space including Amelia Earhart and Katherine Wright, sister to the Flying Wright brothers. Free public tours are offered every Saturday at 1:00 PM. Website: iwasm.org/wp-blog/

Museum of Bags and Purses – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Awesome!This museum describes itself as the ‘world’s foremost bag collection.’ Housed in a historic canal house in the center of Amsterdam, it offers 500 years of history of the Western ladies’ bag. The museum began as the private collection of Hendrikje Ivo, who collected bags for over 35 years. Today, some of the ‘goodies’ displayed include a Versace evening bag (1997), a French goat’s leather bag (16 C.) plus a silk bridal purse (circa 1725. Whether you’re a historian or a fashionista, this museum would be a fun stop. P.S. You can also enjoy an afternoon cream tea in the museum’s cafe but you must remember to reserve your spot ahead of time. Website: www.tassenmuseum.nl/en

Museum of Chocolate – Barcelona, Spain

Is there a woman in the world who doesn’t love chocolate? This Barcelona chocolate museum is located in a former Sant Agusti monastery and it takes visitors on a journey through the origins of chocolate, its arrival in Europe, its medicinal properties and its nutritional value (but thankfully, talks little about calories). You can expect to see intricate chocolate sculptures, an assortment of antique chocolate-making equipment, a shop (yum) and on-site chocolate workshops for you, your girlfriends and any kiddies you have with you. It sounds like great fun to Journeywoman! Website: www.museuxocolata.cat/?lang=en.

National Museum of Women in the Arts – Washington, DC, USA

Founded in 1987 by Wilhelmina Holladay (Billie), this museum is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the work of female artists. The permanent collection is comprised of more than 3,000 works and provides a comprehensive survey of art by women from the 16th century to the present with new acquisitions added regularly. They also have live performances, plus literary, music and film series. P.S. The Museum Shop is a wonderful place to browse for that special treasure to take home with you. P.P.S. We suggest you make time for afternoon tea surrounded by the fine art in their lovely Mezzanine Cafe. Website: www.nmwa.org/

The Vietnamese Women’s Museum – Hanoi, VietNam

This ‘ode to women’ located in central Hanoi was founded in 1987. It houses a collection of more than 25,000 objects, photos, and documents that reflect Vietnam’s cultural diversity and women’s significant contributions to the nation’s development. Highlighted are women’s participation in the VietNam War, the role of female street vendors, original ethnic costumes, traditional handicrafts created by women as well as artifacts owned by famous Vietnamese women. P.S. For those travelling with kiddies there is a ‘fun’ play area to entertain the little ones. Website: http://www.baotangphunu.org.vn/

Susan B. Anthony Museum – Rochester, NY, USA

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House shares the story of suffragette, Susan B. Anthony’s lifelong struggle to gain voting rights for American women and equal rights for all. It’s housed in the home she lived in and contains photographs, artifacts and research materials directly related to her life and work. P.S. When she travelled, Susan B. Anthony, was recognized by two trademarks: her red shawl and her alligator “purse.” You can see the famous alligator bag she carried across the United States and to Europe when you visit this museum. Website: susanbanthonyhouse.org/index.php

Fashion at Victoria and Albert Museum – London, England

The fashion component of the Victoria and Albert Museum is a mini-museum fully capable of standing on its own. Spanning four centuries, the V&A’s Fashion collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world. Key items in the collection include rare 17th-century gowns, 18th-century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s eveningwear, 1960s daywear, and post-war couture. Add to these a growing number of pieces from 21st-century designers and every woman will come away with extraordinary Fashion 101 tidbits. P.S. You absolutely cannot leave this museum without taking time for a good browse in their museum shop. Website: www.vam.ac.uk/page/f/fashion/

Bata Shoe Museum – Toronto, Canada

Women will almost certainly appreciate the treasures of this charming shoe museum. Founded by Sonia Bata, wife of Thomas Bata, founder of Bata Shoes, it houses hundreds of pairs of footwear (from a collection numbering over 10,000). Styles from 4,000 years of history range from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs, glamourous platforms, and shoes owned by modern-day celebrities. A visit to the Bata Shoe Museum shop yields books about shoes, many objects in the shape of a shoe, or anything decorated with shoe images. Website: www.batashoemuseum.ca Drats! None for men!

Women’s Museum – Dubai, United Arab, Emirates

This is the Middle East’s first women’s museum, founded in 2012 by Rafia Ghubash, one of the UAE’s most influential women. “Women here were empowered a long time ago, but we haven’t had a chance to tell our story,” said Ghubash. “Don’t think because we are covered we are not empowered,’ she says. This new museum is a centre of documentation and exhibition which focuses on the historical and cultural roles of women in the UAE. It’s concerned with every aspect of women’s experience in literature, art, culture, and heritage. It also aims to showcase the many facets of the daily lives of women of the UAE. This should make for a fascinating visit! Website: womenmuseumuae.com/eng/

Cowgirls In Museums…

Roy Rogers Archive

Located in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. “The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience, and independence that helped shape the American West, and fosters an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance they inspire.” Website: www.cowgirl.net

In the 1940’s and Fifties, cowgirl Dale Evans and her cowboy hubby, Roy Rogers starred in countless western movies. A collection documenting their work and life together is now available at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. Click here to find out more P.S. The Autry Museum Store carries a vast array of unique items—from books to music to fine art—including a large selection of Native American jewelry, pottery, and baskets. We also offer a wide range of Western memorabilia, local artisans’ work, toys, and gifts.

Image courtesy of High Noon Western Americana, Los Angeles 

Evelyn started Journeywoman in 1994, and unknowingly became the world's first female travel blogger. She inspired a sisterhood of women, a grassroots movement, to inspire women to travel safely and well, and to connect women travellers around the world. She passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on.

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1 Comment

  1. Conceição Brito - Portugal

    I have been very often to the UAE and had never heard of the Women’s Museum – there are so many interesting things to see in the Emirates. And it is the safest country for women to travel!!

    The Amsterdam Museum of the purses has closed. So much the pity, I had also never heard of it.
    Thank you for all the useful information that you provide!

    Reply

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