I'm Wendy Dager. In my "other" life, I am a professional freelance writer, with numerous writing credits over a decades-long career.
also a long-time collector of vintage clothing. The picture below,
where I am being attacked by vintage purses, accompanied a
newspaper article about my being named one of America's Most Unique
Characters in USA Network's "Show Us Your Character" contest. It was a
very silly experience. But I'm silly, too, so that's OK.
You may also know me from The Vintage Purse Gallery,
a website dedicated to showcasing the art and whimsy of vintage purses.
I created this free, online museum as a way to share my extensive
handbag collection with other vintage fashion aficionados. The Vintage
Purse Gallery has links to its two blogs, The Vintage Purse Gallery Blog and Vintage Purse a Day. We are also have a manufacturer index, which we are continually updating.
Fall 2013 to Fall 2014, I worked toward obtaining a certificate in Art
Museum and Gallery Studies from California State University, East Bay.
final project for the program was to create a feasibility study for a
brick-and-mortar vintage purse and fashion museum in Southern
California, where I live.
I did a lot of research and
consulted with businesspeople and other professionals. My findings were
less than encouraging. I learned it would cost way too much to open the
museum of my dreams.
If I were to bring my idea to fruition, I'd have to get a lot more creative.
Creative... and cheap. Really, really cheap.
That's where the 1961 Aristocrat Land Commander comes in.
My husband Mike, a contractor, and I (not very good with a hammer,
but with an eye for art), purchased it with the intent of making it into
a Rolling Vintage (RV) Purse Museum.
We're going to
completely restore and refurbish this crusty old RV, but with a twist:
it'll be a traveling art installation featuring exhibits from my
enormous purse collection, which now consists of over 500 handbags,
accessories and ephemera.
After its completion, we hope
to take the RV to vintage clothing expos, glamping rallies, businesses
and residences to give people a unique experience and education in
There will be no admission charge. That's right: it'll be completely free for visitors.
In tandem with this project, we have revamped the main museum website, The Vintage Purse Gallery. It, too, will remain free for online visitors the world over.
We will keep you posted on the progress of the RV Purse Museum here, on our other sites and via Facebook and Twitter.
1, 2014: A huge thank you to everyone who supported our Kickstarter!
Even though it didn't fund, we're still determined to complete this
JANUARY 28, 2015: New Vintage Purse Gallery website launched!
FEBRUARY, 1, 2015: Received my certificate in Art Museum and Gallery Studies from California State University, East Bay!
JUNE 1, 2015: Just added a Zazzle store, where you can purchase purse-themed tees!
2015: We added a large viewing window to the side of the RV, which will
enable guests to view the exhibits without going inside. This will
lower the museum's insurance costs. To see a video of the window right
after Mike did his magic, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
JANUARY, 2016: Still reinforcing the interior before we can get to the cosmetics, but it's slowly on its way!
MARCH, 2016: We now have a mailing address: Vintage Purse Gallery, P.O. Box 603, Simi Valley, CA 93062-0603.
2016: We once again looked into a brick-and-mortar building, but rents
are so high that we continue work on the RV. Do you know how hard it is
to get a piece of wood to curve? Mike does!
MAY, 2016: New tow vehicle! Yep, we sold the F-100 and got this cool 1960 Chevy panel truck, pictured below!
JULY, 2016: Plexiglass shelves are now installed in the RV Purse Museum! We're getting there! A HUGE THANK YOU to Mary N., who very generously
donated the funds we needed to order the shelves.
AUGUST, 2016: Mike has spent his "free" time sanding and patching up dings and holes in the trailer's exterior.
OCTOBER, 2016: The very clever and talented Mike put a Rhino-type coating on the top of the trailer, which will keep it from leaking.
NOVEMBER, 2016: We are now in the process of creating an online shop, PursePorium.com, with purse-related items to help fund the museum. Got a lot of fun stuff in the works!
JANUARY, 2017: It's been so rainy and cold in SoCal! Right now we've got the tow vehicle tucked away in our back garage, where Mike has been getting it in great working order. It was much more of a project than we expected, but the tricky engine work is finally complete. Now we have to figure out what color we should paint it, which will also help determine the exterior color of the RV Purse Museum.