Next Monday marks International Museum Day, a day aimed at raising awareness around the importance of museums and the role they serve in our community. Each year a theme relevant to the cultural moment is selected. This year’s theme, Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion, couldn’t be any more timely. The International Council of Museums selected this theme with the hope of driving change and using the holiday as “a rallying point to both celebrate the diversity of perspectives that make up the communities and personnel of museums, and champion tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what they display and the stories they tell.”
Women’s stories have long been written out of history books and excluded from the halls of museums. Thankfully, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) has been a shining example of an institution that has been fighting for equality, diversity, and inclusion. As the largest online cultural institution for women’s U.S. history, NWHM is doing the work to ensure that we will finally have a complete view of American history. With herstory being made every day and women taking the reigns during COVID-19, the NWHM isn’t missing a beat. You can honor a history-making woman, submit your own story documenting life during coronavirus, or check out the museum’s virtual collections on their website. This International Museum Day, you can celebrate women’s stories by taking a stroll (or scroll) through these five virtual exhibits that are just as relevant as ever.
We may have seen an unprecedented amount of women running for President this election cycle, but women have always fought to claim their space in the White House—with women running for office even before gaining the right to vote. From Victoria Claflin Woodhull, the first woman ever to declare herself a presidential candidate, to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, learn about the women who broke ground in the “First but Not Last” exhibit.
As women became more active in the public sphere during the fight for women’s suffrage, there was the realization that there were no political images that captured women and the movements they represented. In “Creating a Female Political Culture,” get a history lesson on how images and rhetoric in political culture expanded to include women’s voices.
Though remarkable men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X played a major role in the Civil Rights movement, “Standing Up Against Change” highlights the many incredible women that spurred this historic fight towards equity. This online exhibit proves that “African American women were the critical mass, the grassroots leaders challenging America to embrace justice and equality for all.”
With the field of nursing historically dominated by women, nursing has long been considered a feminized sector. In the current pandemic crisis, deep-rooted gender inequality in our healthcare system has been further illuminated. Here, the National Women’s History Museum offers a timeline of American nursing and the notable women in the sector that have “proven their intellect, dedication, bravery, and patriotism” in spite of the obstacles they faced.
With women making up a majority of immigrants in the U.S., American social norms and policy influence the lives of a significant number of women and girls seeking a start in the United States. “New Beginnings” takes you on a journey through the struggles immigrant women face in pursuit of the American Dream and their important contributions to the economy, politics, and activism.
Take Action! Conquer quarantine boredom with a tour of these fascinating exhibits on women’s history. You can also visit the National Women’s History Museum website for ways to support the institution that’s amplifying women’s stories.