With virtual vacations now replacing actual getaways for the foreseeable future, now is a great time to explore the National and State Parks and the National Historic Sites across America devoted to women’s history. Now you can visit these destinations from the comfort of your own couch during National Park Week (April 18 – 26). Author and historian Wallace Stegner said of the U.S. National Parks: “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” We’re captivated by these six historic sites devoted to women’s history, and we’re packing our virtual bags to visit. Hope to see you there!
- Clara Burton National Historic Site: Take a tour of this Glen Echo, Maryland site to learn about Barton’s remarkable life and meaningful work. Clara Barton was the founder and first president of the American Red Cross. When it was established in 1974, Clara Barton National Historic Site was the first national historic site dedicated to a woman.
- Mary McLeod Bethune Council House: Tour this Washington, D.C. National Historic Site once home to Mary McLeod Bethune, an advisor on African American Affairs to four U.S. presidents. The preserved home was the first headquarters of the civil rights organization she founded, the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
- Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site: Visit this New York Historic Site, known as Val-Kill, where First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt launched Val-Kill Industries, a training program for rural family farmers who needed extra income during hard economic times. The program, which focussed on furniture-making, metalwork, and weaving, was a prototype for national New Deal projects.
- Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park: This 28-minute CSPAN video tour, conducted by a park ranger gives virtual tourists a first-person perspective of the Maryland museum devoted to Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave, abolitionist, Civil War spy, and suffragist. This video is ideal for students learning U.S. history during distance learning.
- Women’s Rights National Historical Park: Watch this 8-minute CSPAN video (tip: start at the 1 minute 10-second mark) tour of the sites dedicated to the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, which took place in 1848. Learn about the paths of women reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann McClintock, and Amelia Bloomer— who helped write the Declaration of Sentiments, where women formally demanded equality in the eyes of the law and education.
- Rosie The Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park: Take a video tour of the Richmond, California sites dedicated to the estimated 18 million women who went to work in America’s factories during World War II. Bonus content, watch this video of 98-year old park ranger Betty Reid Soskin talk about the park and this video, which compiles the oral histories of several of the Rosies.
Take Action! As we approach the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August, take this opportunity to do some distance learning (and teaching) by brushing up on women’s history.