Women’s Stories Waiting to be Told in D.C. at NWHM

Washington, D.C., is a city of symbols. So what does it say when there is no museum to honor the women who have shaped this country?

The National Women’s History Museum mission affirms the value of knowing women’s history. One way it does this is through its online women’s history education. It has produced 19 online exhibits and corresponding lesson plans.

NWHM is pursuing a building site at 12th Street and Independence Avenue SW, a federal property on the Mall. Because the land the museum seeks is adjacent to the National Mall, Congress must pass legislation authorizing its purchase at fair market value. The National Federation of Press Women is one of many organizations that supports the museum through the NWHM National Coalition.

I recently spoke with Joan Wages, president and CEO for NWHM, who emphasized the need for such a museum. “Women are left out of the story,” she said. She noted that in today’s textbooks only 1 out of 10 figures is a woman. Only 1 in 5 statues is a woman.

“It’s remarkable what women have done to change our nation,” she said. “And yet so much of women’s history is missing.”

NFPW joined others in support of the National Women's History Museum.

Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney reintroduced legislation to negotiate with the GSA for the museum’s site. On the day the legislation was introduced Carol Pierce and Gloria Watkins, both of NFPW’s management team, attended a press conference on behalf of NFPW showing support for the legislation.

If the legislation passes, Joan said it will be five to seven years before the doors open. “First we’ll have to raise the funds,” she said.

In the meantime, you can show your support by visiting the website.

Stamps Continue To Make History

As a child I had a stamp collection. Collecting didn’t last terribly long but I’ve always been fascinated by the stories behind the stamps. Today the USPS even prints details about the stamps on the sheets.

The National History Women’s Museum has unveiled its new cyberexhibit, “Leaving Their Stamp On History.” It features the first 26 stamps highlighting women that were issued by the U.S. Post Office.  The first stamp issued for a woman is of Spain’s Queen Isabella, who sponsored Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America. The exhibit ends with Lucy Stone, who led the First National Women’s Rights Convention in 1850.

The stamps follow in order of the US Post Office’s issuance, from 1893 to 1968, and depicts authors, educators, reformers, and organizations that shaped history. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if one day an NFPW member had her own stamp!

To view the exhibit, please go to http://www.nwhm.org/exhibits/stamps/index.html.