Panacea Museum in Bedford puts spotlight on Edwardian women with never-before-seen items

The museum is free to visit

Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:53 am
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:54 am
The exhibition includes items that have never been on display before

A newly-opened exhibition at the Panacea Museum in Bedford is putting the spotlight on the history of Edwardian women - with many never-before-seen items on display.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see personal items belonging to Panacea Society Members, including clothing, books and musical instruments.

Of the 12 women who first formed the Panacea Society, most were in their 50s or 60s.

A spokesperson for the museum explained: "Joining the Panacea Society gave them freedom from previous family ties. Despite their wealth and education, it was common to have spent years fulfilling domestic expectations, such as looking after elderly relatives.

"Those women who had received an academic education and had professional ambitions felt unfulfilled and marginalised by society. A woman could study religion and theology at University, yet the most she could hope for was running the local Sunday School.

"The world of politics was male-dominated and seen as an unsuitable path for women to follow in Edwardian England. As for the Church of England, only men could be priests and preach.

"Joining the Panacea Society gave frustrated women an opportunity to pursue political, academic and religious activities and to have their voices heard."

Among the items on display are Edwardian textiles, numerous archive materials, personal objects and artworks which help tell the story of some truly incredible women.

The exhibition is open now, and will run until October 24, Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.

Entry to the exhibition and main Museum is free, with no need to book.

More information can be found at the museum's website.