Published: March 24, 2020
As the country celebrates the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted all women the right to vote and was passed in August 1920, museums, galleries, historic sites and historic homes plan special exhibitions to honor Women’s Right to Vote.
Notice: several museum exhibitions discussed below may be affected by closures in response to the Covid-19 virus. Please check the museum information cited on each story to ensure museums are still open before attempting to visit.
Library Of Congress
WASHINGTON, DC – The Library of Congress is hosting an exhibition as part of the national commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” on view through September in the Southwest Gallery, Thomas Jefferson Building, draws from the library’s extensive collections of personal papers and organizational records of such figures as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Church Terrell, Carrie Chapman Catt, the National Woman’s Party, the National American Woman Suffrage Association and others. Documents, images, video and audio recordings trace the movement leading to the women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, the contributions of suffragists who worked to persuade women that they deserved the same rights as men, the divergent political strategies and internal divisions they overcame, the push for a federal women’s suffrage amendment and the legacy of this movement.
“Shall Not Be Denied” opened on the 100th anniversary of the US Senate’s passage of the suffrage amendment that would become the 19th amendment to the Constitution once ratification by the states was certified on August 26, 1920. The library is at 101 Independence Avenue SE. It is open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 am to 4:40 pm, admission is free. For information, www.loc.gov or 202-707-5000.
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
WASHINGTON, DC – The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, operated in partnership with the National Park Service, tells the radical story of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), a community of women who redefined democracy and changed the world.
NWP headquarters since 1929, the monument is home to permanent exhibit galleries and features more than 250 artifacts that tell the story of the historic NWP through photographs, objects and archival materials.
Visit the monument to learn about the women who have dedicated their lives to the fight for women’s rights since 1913, and are still here, fighting for the full equality of all women. The National Park Service conducts tours of the National Monument, and visitors can learn about the origins of the suffrage and women’s rights movements, as well as the women who earned the right to vote and introduced the Equal Rights Amendment. Hour-long tours of the museum are available at 9:30 and 11 am and 2 and 3:30 pm. The monument is at 144 Constitution Avenue and 900 Ohio Drive SW; it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; open from 9 am to 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday; admission is free. For information, 202-543-2240 or www.nationalwomansparty.org.
US Capitol Rotunda
WASHINGTON, DC – Among the most hallowed ground in our democracy, the US Capitol Rotunda displays statues depicting past presidents like Washington and Lincoln, as well as a trio of significant women suffragists. The “Portrait Monument to Pioneers of Suffrage Movement,” was sculpted from an 8-ton block of marble in Carrara, Italy. The 14,000-pound monument immortalizes Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the first women to demand the right to vote, Susan B. Anthony, who proposed the amendment that would pass after her death, and Lucretia Mott, a Quaker preacher who fought for women’s equality in the 1800s.
The National Woman’s Party presented the monument as a gift to the capitol; it was accepted and unveiled during what would’ve been Anthony’s 101st birthday in 1921. Originally in the crypt, it was subsequently moved to the rotunda in 1996.
The Capitol Visitor Center offers a “Votes For Women” tour, Monday through Saturday at 1 pm, in which guests can discover stories of the women who set the stage for equality, the many voices of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the voices of the generations of women who followed. The Capitol Rotunda, open to the public 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday, is on First Street NE. For more information, www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/other-statues/portrait-monument.
Smithsonian National Museum
WASHINGTON, DC – “All Work, No Pay: A History of Women’s Invisible Labor” and “American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith,” are two free and ongoing museum exhibits at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW. These two exhibits showcase women’s experiences through powerful artifacts and storytelling. “American Democracy” features Susan B. Anthony’s red shawl, suffrage buttons, the table on which Elizabeth Stanton drafted the Declaration of Sentiments for the famous Seneca Falls Convention and a women’s suffrage wagon. “All Work, No Pay” highlights, through aprons and housedresses, how women continue to be unfairly responsible for the almost-timeless and endless unpaid work at home. The museum is open 10 am to 5:30 pm, daily. For information, www.americanhistory.si.edu.
WASHINGTON, DC – “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote”, a free women and suffrage exhibit at the National Archives, on view through January 3. The 3,000-square-foot exhibit in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery with more than 90 items, including records, artifacts and photographs, telling the complex story of diverse suffragists in securing women’s voting rights. The exhibit also goes well beyond the 1920s to show the relentless struggle that occurred throughout US history to win voting rights for all women. The National Archives are at 701 Constitution Avenue NW, 10 am to 5:30 pm, admission is free. For information, www.museum.archives.gov.
Museum At The Daughters of the American Revolution
WASHINGTON, DC – On view through April 21, 2021, in the Americana Room at the Museum at the Daughters of the American Revolution is, “Ordinary Equality: DAR Members and the Road to Women’s Suffrage, 1890-1920.” The exhibition and accompanying book look at how members of the Daughters of the Revolution took advantage of increased opportunities for women to participate in social reform activities, in turn helping to make the dream of women’s voting rights a reality. Visitors will find biographies, correspondence and photographs from the DAR archives that highlight the tremendous accomplishments of more than 40 women. The DAR Museum & Archives is at 1776 D Street NW. For information, 202-628-1776 or www.dar.org/museum.
Brandywine River Museum Of Art
CHADDS FORD, PENN. – “Votes for Women: A Visual History” at the Brandywine River Museum of Art includes drawings, illustrations and posters from museums, historical societies and private collections that visualize the complex political messages conveyed by suffragists. Also included are historic photographs of marches, rallies and the celebrated procession in Washington, DC held in March of 1913. Examples of the costumes, clothing, sashes and other emblems of women’s activism worn by suffragists will enliven the presentation, drawing comparisons between the representations and realities of women’s struggle to win the vote.
On view through June 7, the exhibition presents an inclusive historical narrative, recognizing the efforts of women of color and their community networks, which have long been ignored. The visual lessons of the suffrage movement provided a model for later activism, including the Civil Rights and Social Justice Movements up to the present day, making this not just a centennial celebration, but a window into contemporary visual discourse. The museum is at 1 Hoffmans Mill Road. For information, 610-388-2700 or www.brandywine.org.
South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center
PIERRE, S.D. – “The Right is Ours: Women Win the Vote,” an exhibition in the observation gallery on the second floor of the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center museum, gives an overview of the movement, led by three generations of women across both South Dakota and the United States to give women the right to vote in state and national elections. Focusing on 1848-1920, “Women Win The Vote,” also addresses the legacy and lessons of the women’s suffrage movement to the present day. The exhibit follows the women’s suffrage movement from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 through the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution on August 18, 1920. It also focuses on people and events in South Dakota that led to the state legislature in December 1918, granting women in South Dakota the right to vote. The museum is at 900 Governors Drive. For information, www.history.sd.gov or 605-773-3458.
West Virginia University Libraries
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution (granting women the right to vote), and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (enforcing voting rights for racial minorities), the West Virginia University (WVU) Libraries are planning a major art exhibition at the Downtown Campus Library, 1549 University Avenue. “Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing The Politics Of Voter Suppression Since Women’s Suffrage,” focuses on the political process with special attention to efforts to suppress the votes of women and minorities since 1920.
All selected works will be included in the exhibition which will run August 1 through June 1 on the main floor of the WVU Downtown Campus Library. For information, www.library.wvu.edu or 304-293-0355.
Oklahoma Territorial Museum And Carnegie Library
GUTHRIE, OKLA. – “The Yellow Brick Road to Women’s Suffrage,” at the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library celebrates the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. The museum and library at 406 East Oklahoma Avenue are open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, www.okterritorialmuseum.org or 405-282-1889.
Tulsa Community College
TULSA, OKLA. – “Votes for Women: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage,” explores a history of women since 1890 who were among the first in Oklahoma Territory to lobby for the right to vote. November 5, 2018, marked 100 years of the women’s right to vote in Oklahoma, which became the 21st state to grant suffrage to women by a vote of 106,909 to 81,481. This exhibit started with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union who wanted a voice in school elections. The grassroots efforts grew in 1895 when Laura A. Gregg, a National American Woman Suffrage Association leader, came to Oklahoma to push for a universal right to vote. “Votes for Women” is on view at the Tulsa Community College, 3727 East Apache Street, through August 30. For information, www.tulsacc.edu or 918-595-7000.
Virginia Museum Of History & Culture
RICHMOND, VA. – Organized in conjunction with the statewide Women’s Suffrage Centennial, “Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today,” features artifacts from the Virginia Museum of History & Culture’s vast collections and new acquisitions made through a major collecting initiative. The exhibit celebrates a century of women’s social and political activism in the Commonwealth, highlighting the efforts and impact of a selection of female change-makers who brought about positive change in their communities, the Commonwealth and the nation. The exhibition is on view through September 27 at the museum, 428 North Arthur Ashe Boulevard. For information, www.virginiahistory.org or 804-340-1800.
New-York Historical Society
NEW YORK CITY – The New-York Historical Society celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment with an immersive exploration of 200 years of women’s political and social activism. “Women March,” on view through August 30, includes public programs and intimate conversations shining a spotlight on a host of topics women have faced and continue to face today. Historical interpreters portraying suffragists, businesswomen and other leaders bring history to life for young visitors on the weekends.
To encourage first-time voters to learn about our nation’s history and civics as they get ready to vote in the presidential election, New-York Historical offers free admission to “Women March” and the museum’s suite of civics-related exhibitions to college students with ID through 2020.
“Women March” surveys the efforts of a diverse array of women to expand American democracy in the centuries before and after the suffrage victory. On view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, this immersive exhibition features imagery and video footage of women’s collective action over time, drawing visitors into a visceral engagement with the struggles that have endured into the Twenty-First Century.
Other special exhibitions are on view, including “What Women Can Do for America – Geraldine Ferraro and the 1984 Presidential Campaign,” with no end date established.
Another ongoing exhibition is “Collecting Billie Jean King.” A sports icon and a lifelong advocate for equality and social justice, Billie Jean King continues to be an inspiration both on and off the tennis court. An early supporter of the Center for Women’s History, King drew attention to the center’s collections program with the 2016 donation of her extensive archive.
“Children March” is a special installation that examines children’s experience of the suffrage movement. The N-Y Historical Society is at 170 Central Park West. For information, 212-873-3400 www.nyhistory.org.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
NORWALK, CONN. – “From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers,” on view at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum through November 3, explores local, regional and national suffragette efforts featuring rare images, objects, memorabilia, and period costumes that will illustrate the activities and contributions of women and men across the state and the country. This exhibition will also highlight women of national renown, who are part of the mansion’s history, such as author and Titanic survivor Helen Churchill Candee, an active participant in the Washington DC, suffrage parade, and Elsie Hill, who aided Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party and locally, the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association on its 1912 multi-week trolley tour, carrying pennants and banners proclaiming, “Votes for Women.” Also highlighted are Norwalk advocate Alyse Gregory, who managed the 1913 Connecticut tour of the British play “How the Vote Was Won,” and the eldest daughters of US Congressman Ebenezer Hill, Clara and Helena; the latter was arrested four times for picketing the White House, once for carrying the banner, “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” to name a few. The museum is at 299 West Avenue. For information, www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com or 203-838-9799.
AUSTIN, TEXAS – “Sister Suffragists” is a celebration of the movement that brought suffrage to the women of Texas and the nation. On view June 15 to August 31 at the Bullock Museum, suffrage documents including scrapbooks, speeches, letters, posters, pamphlets, and cartoons interpret the suffrage movements of the 1890s and early 1900s, the passage of the 19th Amendment, and the first elections in which women were able to vote. A selection of textiles showing how women’s fashions adapted to reflect the changing roles of women in American society. Voting rights were just the first step in a longer campaign for equal rights. The museum is at 1800 Congress Avenue. For information, www.thestoryoftexas.com or 512-936-8746.
Library Of Virginia
RICHMOND, VA. – In 1920, Virginia’s General Assembly refused to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution to grant women the right to vote. The suffragists lost. Or did they? “We Demand: Woman Suffrage in Virginia” reveals for the first time how women created two statewide organizations to win the right to vote. Virginia suffragists were a remarkable group of talented and dedicated women who have almost all been forgotten. They marched in parades, rallied at the state capitol, spoke to crowds on street corners, staffed booths at state and county fairs, lobbied legislators and congressmen, picketed the White House, and even went to jail. At the centenary of woman suffrage, these remarkable women are at last recognized for their important achievements and contributions. The exhibit will run through December 5 in the lobby and exhibition gallery of the Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad Street, which is open Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. For information, www.lva.virginia.gov or 804-692-3500.
Buffalo History Museum
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo History Museum’s exhibit, “Emblem of Equality: Woman Suffrage in Western New York,” is in honor of those who rallied for equality at the ballot box and the people who argued against it. The display is a centennial celebration of the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It explores suffrage prior to 1885, the progression of the movement, World War I and its effects on suffrage and “The Buffalo Six” – the Western New York women who were imprisoned for picketing the White House. On view through early July, the exhibit was curated by Susan Eck. The museum is at 1 Museum Court. For more information, 716-873-9644 or www.buffalohistory.org.
Church History Museum
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Celebrating 150 years since Utah women became the first in the nation to have the right to vote under an equal suffrage law, “Sisters for Suffrage: How Utah Women Won the Vote,” highlights the pioneering role of the Relief Society in the local and national woman suffrage movements. Intriguing historical artifacts, interactive kiosks and hands-on activities for children make this exhibit an engaging experience for visitors of all ages. Come and learn the inspiring stories of Latter-day Saint women who organized to secure and defend women’s rights in Utah and across the nation. “Sisters for Suffrage” will be on view at the Church History Museum, 45 North West Temple, through January, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 9 pm, Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. For information, 801-240-3310 or www.history.churchofjesuschrist.org.
Museum Of The American Revolution
PHILADELPHIA – Millions of American women were granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which marks its centennial in 2020. But more than a century earlier, women legally voted in New Jersey from 1776 to 1807. In a groundbreaking new exhibition, “When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807” the Museum of the American Revolution explores the little-known history of the nation’s first women voters – and examine how and why this right was ripped away in 1807. Featuring original objects, including textiles, manuscripts, furniture and art, as well as interactive elements and scenic environments, the exhibition brings to life the forgotten stories of the women who first pioneered the vote. “When Women Lost the Vote” is an inspiring story that will encourage visitors to reconsider their understanding of the timeline of women’s history in America, but it is also a cautionary tale about one of America’s first voting rights crises. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South Third Street, from August 22 through March 28, 2021. For information, 215-253-6731 or www.amrevmuseum.org.
National Constitution Center
PHILADELPHIA – On June 10, the National Constitution Center will open “The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote,” tracing the triumphs and struggles that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The exhibit will feature some of the many women who transformed constitutional history – including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells – and will allow visitors to better understand the long fight for women’s suffrage.
The 3,000-square-foot exhibit will feature nearly 100 artifacts, including Lucretia Mott’s diary, a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, a letter from jail written by a White House picketer, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, as well as various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
“The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote” is a key component of the National Constitution Center’s Women and the Constitution initiative, a yearlong effort to convene America’s top women leaders and scholars to examine the historical and constitutional background of the 19th Amendment and the importance of equal citizenship for women today. The initiative includes a series of public programs, podcast episodes and special events. The center is a proud partner of “Vision 2020’s Women 100,” a celebration of American women in the year 2020, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The center is at Independence National Historical Park, 525 Arch Street. For information, www.constitutioncenter.org or 215-409-6700.
Hennepin History Museum
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – At the Hennepin History Museum, 2303 3rd Avenue South, “Votes for Women” commemorates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Minnesota was the 15th state to ratify the amendment in 1919; it was made the law of the land the following year. The women’s suffrage movement in Minnesota started decades earlier than 1919. Many women residents of Hennepin County played a pivotal role in the effort to convince voters to pass the amendment. The exhibit explores the lives of these local suffragists and examines the tactics and methodologies they employed in that quest. On view through July 5 in the main floor gallery. For information, www.hennepinhistory.org or 612-870-1329.
Bush-Holley House Library & Archive Of The Greenwich Historical Society
COS COB, CONN. – In the summer of 1848 as a historic number of women assembled in Seneca Falls, N.Y., Elizabeth Cady Stanton set out in legal terms the grievances of women with a male-dominated society. Her Declaration of Rights and Sentiments was an appeal for equal rights, including the right to vote.
On August 26, 1920 – 72 years after the Seneca Falls Convention – the 19th Amendment was officially adopted, prohibiting states and the federal government from denying US citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. “An Unfinished Revolution: The Woman’s Suffrage Centennial” marks the 100th anniversary of this crucial legislation and examines the work that remains to ensure gender equality. On view at the Bush-Holley House Library and Archive of the Greenwich Historical Society through September 6, and told through stories of several notable figures, this dynamic and timely exhibition features original objects from the Greenwich Historical Society collections, as well as photographs, manuscripts, protest banners, items of clothing and other material from museums, libraries and private collections. The library and archive is at 47 Strickland Road. For information, www.greenwichhistory.org or 203-869-6899.
Santa Monica History Museum
SANTA MONICA, CALIF – The Santa Monica History Museum is hosting, “All Is Possible: Women’s Suffrage in California,” through June 6. The exhibition explores the history of the local, state, and national suffrage movements to mark the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The museum is at 1350 7th Street. The exhibition’s title was inspired by Los Angeles activist Caroline Severance’s motto, “Nothing is impossible for organized womanhood.” The suffrage movement’s success depended in large part on the groundswell of state initiatives and the organization of local women’s clubs at the turn of the century. As the sixth state to allow women to vote in 1911, California served as a turning point, with a population large enough to double the eligible women voters in the country. The exhibition includes photographs and artifacts from local women’s clubs, along with contemporary illustrations from publications such as Puck, and artifacts from suffrage leaders, including never-before-seen personal letters from Alice Stone Blackwell and a Miramar Hotel guestbook signed by Susan B. Anthony and Reverend Anna Shaw during their 1895 visit to Santa Monica to rally support for a statewide suffrage ballot. Replicas of suffrage banners, ribbons, sashes and china will also be on view. The museum and exhibit are open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 8 pm, and Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am to 5 pm. For information, www.santamonicahistory.org or 310-395-2290.
Women’s Museum Of California
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. – The Women’s Museum of California presents a permanent suffrage exhibition at its 2730 Historic Decatur Road, #206, gallery, giving great due to the activists who lived this movement through two general lenses: first, through the stories of individual suffragists themselves, and second, through the greater narratives of the movement at the state and national levels, as well as within communities of color.
The journey toward the American woman’s enfranchisement, spanning the late Nineteenth Century into the early Twentieth Century, was persistently defined by a spirit of female courage, perseverance and loud mobilization. The Women’s Museum of California’s permanent suffrage exhibit honors the journey and those who were active in it. For information, 619-233-7963 or www.womansmuseumca.org.
Herberger Theater Gallery
PHOENIX, ARIZ. – “In Celebration of Women,” a juried art exhibit with 30 female artists’ work, will be on view at the Herberger Theater Gallery, 222 East Monroe Street to April 26; then the exhibition will travel to the Arizona State Capitol Museum, 1700 West Washington Street, from May 14 through September 30. For information on Herberger Art Gallery, 602-252-8497 or www.herbergertheater.org; the Arizona State Capitol Museum, 602-926-3620 or www.azlibrary.gov.
Missouri History Museum
ST LOUIS, MO. – “Beyond the Ballot: St Louis and Suffrage” at Missouri History Museum through August 15 celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment with a major women’s history exhibit. “Beyond the Ballot” showcases women who shaped St Louis from its 1764 founding to the modern-day. It is a 6,000-square-foot exhibit that uses more than 80 artifacts, historic images and new color illustrations created by a local female illustrator to showcase women who made an impact on the local community and the national suffrage movement at large.
“Beyond the Ballot” shares the stories of 32 women who lived between 1764 and 1918 who challenged the status quo and left a lasting impact on the St Louis community. The exhibit puts the diverse and unique stories of these St Louis women into context within the larger narrative of the national women’s suffrage movement. “Beyond the Ballot” also presents a chronological look at St Louis’s role in the nation-wide movement beginning with women’s rights in colonial St Louis, to the role of women during the Civil War, to crucial moments in the suffrage movement that are unique to St Louis like the Golden Lane Parade during the 1916 Democratic National Convention.
The museum is in Forest Park at 5700 Lindell Boulevard. For information, 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org.
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
WINTERTHUR, DEL. – A new exhibit at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library reinterprets history through a woman’s lens: “Re-Vision 20/20: Through a Woman’s Lens,” is on view through April 28.
Drawing upon Winterthur’s vast collections, the exhibit highlights objects and manuscripts that were once solely interpreted in relation to men’s stories but are now revisioned through the lens of women’s history. “Re-Vision 20/20” is about exploring the collection through a new lens to unravel old mysteries and forgotten stories.
Throughout the exhibit, visitors will encounter unexpected stories and objects associated with gender, race, politics, religion and celebrity, and learn about women who were creators, disruptors, influencers and thinkers. Some have long been forgotten by history. Others may be more familiar. From the male-impersonator Ella Wesner, whose persona “Champagne Charlie” graced music halls in both Europe and America, to unknown native American entrepreneurs who masterfully crafted baskets for the tourist trade to Shaker women who saw celibacy as a liberation that allowed them to work, we discover that there is still much to learn about women of the past and that those stories are relevant today.
A blank silhouette of a woman, surrounded by question marks, invites visitors to think about the women’s stories that are not represented in the galleries and whose histories should be told.
Winterthur is on Route 52. For information, 800-448-3883, 302-888-4600 or www.winterthur.org.
Alice Paul Institute
MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – “For Democracy: Celebrating 100 Years of the 19th Amendment” is an online exhibition mounted by the Alice Paul Institute honoring the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. This exhibit features original documents and objects from the Alice Paul Archives at Paulsdale, Alice Paul’s birthplace and a National Historic Landmark at 128 Hooton Road.
The items featured here were chosen because of the story that they tell. Together, they spotlight an often forgotten or marginalized history of how American women actually fought, and even went to jail, for their right to vote. It reveals the tactics used in a long-term, nonviolent campaign of political strategy with calculations of public messaging. The women’s suffrage movement in the United States was a cause conceived and led by women who had no legal standing but who were determined to be full citizens of a nation that modeled true democracy. For information, 856-231-1885 or www.alicepaul.org.
Staten Island, N.Y.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – “Women of the Nation Arise!” presents Staten Island’s unique place in the history of the suffrage movement by recounting stories of local suffragists, their contributions to the national effort, and the tactics they employed to win the vote. The exhibition connects visitors to the history of earning women’s right to vote, as well as the relevance to present-day considerations of civic engagement and voter participation.
Staten Island’s role in the fight for women’s political equality was both innovative on a national level and uniquely suited to the community from which it came. Visitors will learn about the tactics suffragists employed to bring attention and garner support for the movement, including a radical act by Rosalie Gardiner Jones who became the first suffragist to fly for the cause when she dropped “votes for women” leaflets from a bi-plane over Staten Island in 1913. Highlighted in the exhibition will be Drusilla Poole a prominent reform activist who formed an organization to encourage and instruct African American women about civic engagement, and the ardent suffrage activist Reverend Florence Spearing Randolph of Rossville AME Zion Church. The exhibition explores the intersection of race, class and gender in the Suffrage Era, as well as racism and exclusion within the Suffrage Movement. Despite their ingenuity and dedicated involvement in the New York State Women’s Suffrage Party, the stories of Staten Island Suffragists are lesser known, and this exhibition brings them to light.
“Women of the Nation Arise!” has been in development for more than three years with research spearheaded by the museum’s archives manager Gabriella Leone, drawing upon the museum’s collections, original research and loaned items from Historic Richmond Town and other repositories. The “Woman Voter and The Suffragist” have been digitized and made publicly available online, https://archive.org/details/statenislandmuseum. For information, www.statenislandmuseum.org or 718-727-1135.
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