The World Bags and Luggage Museum is an ode to the beauty and legacy of the bag, a shrine that bag lovers everywhere can “worship” at. This is all thanks to the extensive handbag, travel bag and suitcase collection of Ryusaku Shinkawa, the founder of ACE, a Japanese luggage manufacturer.
Hidenori Hirosaki, the director of the museum says that there is “no other museum with this concept in the world”. And indeed, you will not see any other museum where every piece, from satchels and steamer trunks, backpacks and portmanteaus, clutch bags and briefcases, is treated like a work of art. Located at the seventh floor of the ACE corporate headquarters in the Asakusa district in Tokyo, the museum owns around 600 pieces but only half of them are on display. The late Mr. Shinkawa was a man who was passionate about his business and dedicated his life to “pursuing bag as divine vocation”. Hirosaki, who has worked for ACE all his adult life, has clearly inherited his passion, although he is very partial to leather and has great love for the workmanship that went into classic Italian luggage of the 1960s.
The museum houses both exotic and luxurious bags, as well as the modern and the practical. You’ll see displayed historic pieces like a navy blue Panam flight bag made in the 1960s as well as exotic ones like zebra skin travel bags, an elephant hide suitcase once owned by a Kuwaiti emir plus various other bags made from different animals (and which might cause animal rights activists to faint). You will also see a grey aluminum box with an orange Bakelite handle, which was designed by the famous explorer and traveler Richard Halliburton himself. There is even a larger box that was used by the Apollo 11 crew to store moon-rocks during their space journey.
ACE is the only remaining luggage manufacturer in Japan, something that Hirosaki is both proud of and sad about, and he often waxes nostalgic for the glory days of luxury travel and the “exquisitely crafted” bags that went with it. This museum is his homage to that era, a reminder that bags are more than just storage cases, but they can be so much more.
[ via CS Monitor ]
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