The Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum has announced an exciting lineup of new initiatives for Women’s History Month March 2024 that will further the museum’s mission to make women’s history more visible. These initiatives mark an important step as the museum enters the next phase of research and programming that will eventually inform the collection and a physical site in Washington, D.C.
The museum’s headline program for Women’s History Month will be “Becoming Visible,” an interactive digital exhibition launching March 8 on International Women’s Day. The exhibition will invite audiences into the work of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum that spotlights how women’s histories have been recorded, remembered, lost and recovered.
Five remarkable stories of women from the past will come to life through objects from the Smithsonian’s collection, archival records, recorded interviews and original illustrations and animations. Curators will narrate each of the five stories, alongside an introduction narrated by actress, designer and producer Rosario Dawson, who serves on the museum’s advisory council. The exhibition will demonstrate how women’s history is often obscured or forgotten—and the critical need to uncover these stories to create a more accurate and inclusive record of American history.
The lack of women’s representation in major databases is another key obstacle to ensuring women’s history is not lost as less than 20% of biographies on English-language Wikipedia are about women. To confront this issue, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum will host a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon March 27 where attendees will edit and create Wikipedia articles about the women represented in “Becoming Visible,” among others.
“This Women’s History Month we are excited to introduce audiences to the future of what will truly be the first national museum to honor American women’s history,” said Melanie Adams, interim director of the museum. “While our museum is still in its early stages, we are already activating our digital platforms, championing new research and engaging the wider Smithsonian community to begin the critical work of making women’s history fully visible. We invite everyone, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to collaborate with us as we build a museum that will inspire generations to come.”
The museum’s other initiatives throughout Women’s History Month include the launch of the Spotlight Program that will invite filmmakers to collaborate with the museum to share women’s stories from their communities and a charter membership program for the public to get involved with the museum as it is built from the ground up. Further details on the Women’s History Month initiatives are included below.
- Charter Membership Program | Launching March 1: With this inaugural membership program, the public can help make history by becoming some of the first supporters of the museum’s mission. Charter Members will get early access to events and programs and be the first to know about the museum’s progress. Learn more on the museum’s website.
- Digital Exhibition: “Becoming Visible” | Launching March 8: Available on the museum’s website, the 10-minute digital experience created by the woman-led digital design firm Forum One will take audiences on a visual and emotional journey through five women’s lives, including Elizabeth Keckly, a memoirist and formerly enslaved woman who became a lauded seamstress and dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln; Margaret Knight, a 19th-century inventor who automated the production of flat-bottomed paper bags; Hisako Hibi, a Japanese American artist who lost much of her work after spending over three years in government detention during World War II; Isabel Morgan, a scientist who was instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine; and Hazel Fellows, a seamstress who worked on the Apollo space suits. A virtual inside look into the exhibition with Smithsonian curators will take place March 14 at 3 p.m. ET. Learn more on the museum’s website.
- Spotlight Program | Launching March 18: The museum will invite up and coming filmmakers from communities across the country to develop short videos that document important histories of women and girls who have been underrecognized in the historical record. This program will be the first of several co-creation projects that will engage artists from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to collaborate with the museum to tell women’s stories.
- Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon | Launching March 27: Less than 20% of biographies in English-language Wikipedia are about women. The Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum is helping to change this with a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon during Women’s History Month. Attendees will edit and create Wikipedia articles about American women represented in the museum’s digital exhibition, “Becoming Visible,” among others. New editors who have never contributed to Wikipedia before will receive on-site training. This event is presented with support from Wikimedia DC.
About the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum
The Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum expands the story of America through the often-untold accounts and accomplishments of women—individually and collectively—to better understand our past and inspire our future. Through new scholarship, diverse viewpoints and innovative forms of exhibition, storytelling and participation, the museum inspires the next generation to create a more equitable world. The legislation creating the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum passed Dec. 27, 2020, and the museum is working with Congress to finalize a site for a building. Connect with the museum at womenshistory.si.edu.
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