Catherine Bishop: Everyday Objects & the Lives of Women in the 19th Century

Catherine Bishop returns to SMSA to explore how the everyday objects we find in museums tell stories of the lives of women in the 19th century.

What story does a sewing machine tell – one women’s domestic lives as wives and mothers as they sewed clothes for their growing numbers of children?

Or is there another story of women’s working lives as milliners and dressmakers?

Which story we hear depends very much on who is doing the telling and, perhaps, on the audience.

Focussing on several museums and objects in New South Wales and Australia – and on the stories they tell and why they tell them – Catherine Bishop uncovers the truth and the fiction via some fascinating idiosyncrasies of which Lettice Douffet, the irrepressible National Trust guide of Peter Shaffer’s play, would approve.


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