Photo: Propaganda fan for the Federal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division of the Internal Revenue Service, about 1965
Cape Fear Museum’s collection of 75 hand fans, dating from the 1890s through 2012, showcases the variety of styles and materials used to create what was once an essential fashion accessory.
Fans were bought as souvenirs of trips abroad, commemorative gifts, and collectible works of art. Wilmington businesses and politicians also used inexpensive paper fans to advertise their products and campaign for office. View a selection of these practical keepsakes, including silk pleated fans, feathered Jenny Lind fans, wooden brisé fans, and more.