In honor of the 100th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote approaches, a new exhibit on the women’s rights movement with a station for visitors to register to vote is now open at the New-York Historical Society.
“We hope the exhibit is a call to action,” said Valeria Paley, senior vice president, historian and director of the museum’s Center for Women’s history.
“Women March” chronicles the history of women’s public protests and gatherings in the continuing fight for equality. The exhibit snakes around the fourth floor of the museum forcing visitors to take part in their own mini-marches as they look at glass cases housing faded notebooks, banners and photographs dating back to the 1820s when women started rebelling against the idea that the only true woman was a pious and submission wife and mother. After passing through the 19th century, visitors walk into the 1920s, when the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified, to the 1970s liberation movement and then finally to today all while listening to the sounds of speeches from suffragettes like Frances Harper to the shouts of protests past for a fully immersive experience.
“It’s a little bit controversial to be a history museum and to engage directly with our own time because it hasn’t yet taken on the patina of history,” said Paley.
In the last leg of the exhibit, p*ssy hats and posters decorated with #MeToo hang from the ceiling, and videos from climate strikes and Latin American ‘El Violador Eres Tu’ flash-mobs play are projected on the walls. Just before the exit, visitors are invited to learn more about lesser-known feminists on touch screen monitors all to demonstrate how multi-faceted the women’s rights movement has become.
“But I think it’s safe to say that we can see a true trajectory from the 19th century into our own time,” Paley added. “Women March” will be open to the public starting Feb. 28 until Aug.30 of this year.