"Modern Wife, Modern Life" at the National Print Museum

by Shawna Scott August 17, 2015

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the National Print Museum in Beggars Bush to see their exhibition "Modern Wife, Modern Life." It featured a huge array of women's magazine covers, competitions, articles and readers questions from the 1960's about how to be the perfect Irish housewife. According to the description:


"Manual on how to be a good wife had been widely available in Ireland at the start of the twentieth century, but with the emergence of new technologies, the advice extended to newly married women and housewives began to change in the 1960's....

...The message, driven by the advertiser, was clear: a 'good wife' was not just beautifully presented, but also used all the latest 'modern' devices. Her home - especially the kitchen - was an extension of her appearance and reputation."


The reader's questions especially helped to shed light on how women thought of themselves, other women, family, and their roles in society. Some of the questions seem silly and quaint now, others were absolutely heartbreaking glimpses into the lives of women whose mental health were suffering greatly and yet were being told to keep the chin up as no one likes a sullen, nagging wife.

There is also a fabulous collection of items on load from the public like a pink portable hair dryer, sewing patterns, and copies of sex and marriage manuals from the Catholic Church, 

The exhibition runs till the 30th of August, so there are just under 2 weeks left to see it. They are also holding 2 free tours with the curator, Dr. Ciara Meehan, at 3pm on the 18th and 22nd. If you're in the Dublin area, I'd highly recommend this exhibition!





Shawna Scott
Shawna Scott

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