Modern Wife, Modern Life Exhibition One Year On

L to R: National Print Museum, dlr LexIcon, Wexford Town Library, Westport Library.
L to R: National Print Museum, dlr LexIcon, Wexford Town Library, Westport Library.

Just over one year ago, Modern Wife, Modern Life: an Exhibition of Women’s Magazines from 1960s Ireland opened at the National Print Museum in Dublin (1 July – 30 August 2015). Since then, it has gone on to visit dlr LexIcon in Dún Laoghaire, Wexford Town Library, and Westport Library in Mayo. Leaving Ireland this summer, the exhibition travels next to the UK. Keep an eye on the exhibition website for details of venues and dates.

While the exhibition was on display at the various locations, I organised a series of related events. I gave curator’s tours at the National Print Museum and, in conjunction with the excellent Press Cafe, we held a 1960s cake afternoon. At dlr LexIcon, I was joined by author Lorna Sixsmith and we discussed expectations of marriage in 1960s Ireland; you can find the podcast here. And I spoke on International Women’s Day at Wexford Town Library about feminist themes in the magazines.

The exhibition, which looks at expectations of women as seen through the lens of magazines from 1960s Ireland, has proved popular, attracting individual visitors, women’s groups, and school / university groups from around Ireland and beyond.

How times have changed! Not sure I’ll be taking any of the advice – loved the quizzes though, learnt a thing or two!

~ Victoria from London

A wonderfully engaging exhibit. A unique insight into an earlier Ireland.

~ Sharon from Dublin

Very funny! Enjoyed it.

~ Myra from Sligo

Brilliant exhibition. Definitely belongs in a museum though!

~ Ian from Wicklow

 Very interesting exhibition!

~ Paola from Italy

So glad this time has passed!

~ Dianne from Richmond, USA

The exhibition also received a lot of media coverage, including pieces in the Irish TimesIrish ExaminerIrish IndependentThe Farmers’ Journal and

A special word of thanks is due to all at the National Print Museum – especially Carla Marrinan – for giving me the opportunity to display the exhibition, for their advice and guidance, and for financially supporting the endeavour. Thanks are also due to those people who supported a crowd-funding campaign and to my employer, the University of Hertfordshire, for further funding that helped make the exhibition possible. I extend my appreciation to the National Library of Ireland and Aine Toner at Woman’s Way for permission to reproduce images from the women’s magazines on display. The original exhibition of magazines at the Print Museum was supplemented with everyday objects crowd-sourced from members of the public – to everyone who loaned me items, thank you! A particular word of thanks is due to David Kenny who kept the project ticking over in my absence while I was busy during teaching term in the UK.

Published by Dr Ciara Meehan

Reader in History at the University of Hertfordshire.

One thought on “Modern Wife, Modern Life Exhibition One Year On

  1. Congrats Ciara. So good I went to see it twice! (Print Museum and DLR Lexicon). Although sadly I missed the cake. Looking forward to the book.

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