Westport Library, 5 – 29 April 2016

The Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition continues its tour of Ireland in 2016, and will be on display at Westport Library in County Mayo from 5 to 29 April 2016. Download a pdf of the exhibition leaflet here.

The Exhibition

Manuals 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 1960s. The concept of being an ‘ideal wife’ became closely bound up with being a ‘modern wife’. This is best identified in the pages of women’s magazines — Woman’s Way, Woman’s View and Woman’s Choice — which came to replace the traditional manual as a source for guidance. The message, driven by the advertisers, 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. ‘Modern life’ and ‘modern wife’ became blended into the one ideal.

The exhibition, curated by Ciara Meehan, covers several themes: the growth of women’s magazines; advice for newly-married wives; beauty and presentation; the Housewife of the Year competition; new technologies and the home; women behind the wheel; and wives who work.

Modern Wife, Modern Life is generously supported by the National Print Museum, by the University of Hertfordshire, and by those individuals who supported a crowd-funding campaign.


Westport Library, The Crescent, Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland.

Library Opening Hours

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 10:00am – 7:00pm

Wednesday: 10:00am – 7:00pm

Thursday: 10:00am – 1:30pm : 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Friday: 10:00am – 1:30pm : 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Saturday10:00am – 4:00pm

Sunday: Closed

Other Venues

Modern Wife, Modern Life is a touring exhibition. For details of other venues, please click here.