National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
2nd Floor, East Floor Plan
The history of girlhood is not what people think; it is complicated. Young women are often told that girls are “made of sugar and spice and everything nice.” What is learned from history is that girls are made of stronger stuff. They have changed history. From Helen Keller to Naomi Wadler, girls have spoken up, challenged expectations, and been on the frontlines of social change. Through their lives, what it means to be a girl—and a woman—has always been part of the American conversation. Girlhood (It’s Complicated) showcases unexpected stories of girlhood, engaging the audience in timely conversations about women’s history.
With a design inspired by zines, the 5,000-square-foot gallery has five story sections: Education (Being Schooled), Wellness (Body Talk), Work (Hey, Where’s My Girlhood?), Fashion (Girl’s Remix), plus seven biographical interactives stories, A Girl’s Life. The design features custom murals and illustrations by artist Krystal Quiles. The exhibition will tour the country through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service from 2023 through 2025.