She's Got Pursenality!

Historic Arkansas Museum - Sunday, February 22, 2015

What's the oddest thing(s) you carry in your purse?

Pennysaver Purse and Contents from the exhibit The Purse and the Person

We asked visitors to our Purse and the Person exhibit to answer this and other purse-related questions in our "Pursenality" Quiz. All of the questions and answers are held in a very full three-ring binder with (at last count) 298 entries that sits by a "pursenality scale" in the exhibit area.

Recently, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Kyle Brazzel wrote a piece in his Top of the Rock column about the contents of this binder and we were inspired by his article to let you in on some of the answers, too.

People logged in information about wallets, purses, diaper bags, backpacks and baskets.

First up, the dreaded weigh-in. As bad as the doctor’s scale, you’ll find the weight of your purse might be a big surprise. Purses (or the like) weighed in at anywhere between ¾ ounces and a back-breaking 25 pounds and 1 ounce. One person claimed their purse weighed 40 pounds and said they would wear it until it no longer matched their shoes.

For the most part exhibit goers were split as to whether they knew the brand or maker of their purse; and browns, blacks and beiges ruled for purse color.

The oldest purse on record thus far is 32 years old (having been made and purchased 1974 and worn off-and-on since then) and the newest 2 weeks. Some people noted that they change purses throughout the day and others will wear the same one, “until one of us dies.”

Here are some answers (from the mundane to the truly odd) to the question, “what’s the oddest thing in your purse?”

-wallet, organizer, gum, dental floss, dried cranberries, butter packet from lunch, membership card in Kansas City Barbeque Society, fortune cookie prediction from 10 years ago, Tide-to-go, whistle, flip flops, CPR instructions, pig flashlight, bag of Arkansas corn grits, animal figurines, nails, a police warrant card and badge, a padlock, jalapenos, a can of tuna, earplugs, lab reports, the red hair pick the dog chewed on, kitty breath mints and a can of “Possum Bits” from the Mt. Ida Possum Picnic

And to the question, “What does your purse say about you?”

-Fashionable yet functional

-Organized and rather conservative

-This is my grown-up purse; hopefully it says I’m 24, not 14, like most people guess.

-I like to be near my purse at all times—and I’m willing to suffer shoulder pain for the privilege.

-I don’t have much cash.

-I appreciate locally-made products.


-I love “bling!”

-I am a breast cancer survivor.

-Functional enough to go anywhere, small enough to dance with under my arm, nice enough to wear with an evening dress.


-I need a bigger one.

-I’m crafty but not up-to-date.

-“Mistress, if you really need to carry a lot, you can count on me because I have a lot of room. I’m glad you picked me. Your smaller purses envy me and I envied other purses before you started using me.”

And to the last question, “Anything else you would like to share about you and your purse?”

-I consider purses a work of art.

-I love it: I can rest my feet on it when I’m in a meeting, I can write on the top (use it as a solid surface), my little kids can sit on top of it—it is durable.

-I lost 30 pounds on my body much easier than I can lose 2 pounds from my purse.

-My purse hopefully promotes awareness of the ancient Calusa people who once lived in Florida.

-It’s a blessing and a curse to carry around.

-Me and my purse against the odds.

-We’re inseparable.

If you would like to share your purse facts, stop by the exhibit and add your two cents!

If you find the subject of purse contents fascinating, check out What’s in My Bag on Flickr, the photo management and sharing site, where you can browse through thousands of photos people have taken of their purses and their contents.