Modern Wife, Modern Life extended at DLR LexIcon until January 2016

Modern Wife, Modern Life is an exhibition exploring the ‘ideal wife’ turned ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland as seen through the pages of women’s magazines. Curated by Ciara Meehan, it opened at the dlr LexIcon in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin on 3 October and was due to close on 14 November 2015. However, due to popularity, it has been extended until 15 January 2016. The exhibition is on display on the fifth floor, which is wheelchair accessible.

Download a copy of the press release here.

DLR Poster

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, 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 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.

In addition to the magazines, a series of objects — many of which are on loan from the Irish public — are also be on display.

Modern Wife, Modern Life is a touring exhibition, and it first opened at the National Print Museum (Dublin) on 1 July 2015.

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Some of the 1960s-inspired cakes baked by Elaine of the Press Café for the opening night of the exhibition at the National Print Museum.

1960s-Inspired Afternoon, Press Café at the National Print Museum

Join us at the Press Cafe at the National Print Museum on 6 August for a 1960s-inspired afternoon! Pictured above are the cakes that Elaine from Press made for the opening of the exhibition. On 6 August she will be baking 1960s-style cake once again, and people are invited to sample her creations and share their memories of the decade.

If you have any recipe books either published in the 1960s or in use during that period, bring them along!

There is an entrance fee of €10 to cover costs, and this includes your tea / coffee and all you can eat cake! Booking is essential. To reserve your place, please email info@nationalprintmuseum.ie

4pm | 6 August | Press Cafe | €10pp

Modern Wife, Modern Life now open at National Print Museum

Modern Wife, Modern Life is an exhibition exploring the ‘ideal wife’ turned ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland as seen through the pages of women’s magazines. Curated by Ciara Meehan, it is now on display at the National Print Museum in Dublin and runs until 30 August 2015.

Download a copy of the press release here.

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, 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 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.

In addition to the magazines, a series of objects — many of which are on loan from the Irish public — are also be on display.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ciara Meehan speaking at the National Library of Ireland.

Publishing Values? at the NLI

I had the opportunity to talk at the National Library of Ireland on 20 May about the 1960s women’s magazines held in their collection. My talk, Publishing Values?, explored the extent to which magazines emphasised a continuation of traditional values, while at the same time challenging attitudes about the position of women in society.

David Kenny, who has worked as a research assistant on my project, live tweeted the evening, and you can read the collected tweets here.

Road Show: Monaghan, 10 June 2015

Join us for a lively discussion of Irishwomen and everyday lives in 1960s Ireland as part of Social Inclusion Week. Ciara Meehan (senior lecturer in history, University of Hertfordshire, and curator, Modern Wife, Modern Lifeexhibition) will open this road-show-style event.

Using extracts from women’s magazines and objects that will be on display at the National Print Museum from July, she will briefly explore the representation and expectations of different generations of Irishwomen in the 1960s. Members of the audience will then be invited to share their memories of that decade.

If you have any objects, photographs, letters, etc. from the 1960s, please do bring them along! There will be an opportunity to have them scanned, and they will be recorded in a ‘people’s history’ archive that will be made publicly available on-line. Interviews will also be arranged with anyone who wishes to have their memories recorded. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to leave a record of your life for your own family and for future generations.

10 June 2015 | 3pm | Monaghan County Museum | All welcome

Advertisement for the road show in Limerick, 29 June 2015.

Roadshow: Limerick City, 29 June

Join us at The Georgian House in Limerick City on 29 June from 1 pm for a lively discussion of Irishwomen and everyday lives in 1960s Ireland. Ciara Meehan (senior lecturer in history, University of Hertfordshire, and curator, Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition) will open this road-show-style event.

Using extracts from women’s magazines and objects that will be on display at the National Print Museum of Ireland from July, she will explore the representation and expectations of different generations of Irishwomen in the 1960s. Members of the audience will then be invited to share their memories of that decade.

If you have any objects, photographs, letters, etc. from the 1960s, please do bring them along! There will be an opportunity to have them scanned, and they will be recorded in a ‘people’s history’ archive that will be made publicly available on-line. Interviews will also be arranged with anyone who wishes to have their memories recorded. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to leave a record of your life for your own family and for future generations.

29 June 2015 | 1-2.30pm | All welcome | Free Entry