Throughout US history there have been some amazing women who have helped to shape history—Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm, Jane Adams, Sally Ride, Amelia Earhart, Susan B Anthony, Rosa Parks. The list of these groundbreaking women in all walks of life is long and varied.
This is a great month to visit some of our museums/national parks dedicated to celebrating women’s contributions to American history.
Here is a short list of suggestions.
Eleanor Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly her stance on racial issues. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. On a few occasions, she publicly disagreed with her husband’s policies. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees.
Val-Kill in Hyde Park, New York (Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage) was originally a furniture factory started by Mrs. Roosevelt to teach young men from the area a trade during the depression. When the factory closed, Eleanor Roosevelt converted the factory into a retreat home. It became Mrs. Roosevelt permanent residence after the death of FDR in 1945. It was the only place Eleanor Roosevelt called home.
The Roosevelt family enjoyed picnics and swimming parties at Val-Kill. They also entertained world leaders such as the king and queen of England, Winston Churchill, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Princess Martha of Norway as well as child star Shirley Temple at Val-Kill. A visit to Val-Kill is by guided tour only. The tour begins with an introductory film, followed by a 45-minute tour of Val-Kill Cottage.
Amelia Earhart is one of the world’s most celebrated aviators. She is a symbol of the power and perseverance of American women, and the adventurous spirit so essential to the American persona.
Amelia Earhart made great strides in opening the new field of aviation to women. In 1935, she became the first person to fly from Hawaii to the American mainland. By doing so, Amelia became not only the first person to solo anywhere in the Pacific, but also the first person to solo both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Her birthplace and museum is a lovely Victorian overlooking the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. This was her grandparents’ residence, and it was also where she spent her early school years, attending a private school. Personal memorabilia and historical photos are throughout each of the rooms.
The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House shares the story of Susan B. Anthony’s lifelong struggle to gain voting rights for women and equal rights for all. The Susan B. Anthony House was the home of the legendary American women’s rights leader during the most politically active period of her life, from 1866 until her death in 1906.
In the early nineteenth century, very few occupations were open to women. Once married, a woman could not open a bank account, enter into a contract, rent a place to live, or sue someone against whom she had a grievance. Any income that she earned was considered to be the property of her husband.
Susan B. Anthony worked for many reforms, including suffrage, temperance, and abolition, but found that women were hampered by their lack of power—their lack of money.
The inconspicuous, yet well-preserved home of women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony can be found on a quaint, ordinary-looking street in Rochester, New York. This is the home where she was arrested in 1872 for voting just a few days beforehand.
Long before the Women’s Movement, the Rosie the Riveters of WW11, knocked down the doors for women’s rights. It was a man’s world up until 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Between 16 and 20 million women went to work during the war building planes, ships, tanks and all necessary equipment that the country needed to win the war. And these women showed everyone that they were every bit as good at the jobs as men were, some were better.
Rosie the Riveter was the most successful recruitment tool in American history. It has often been said that if it hadn’t of been for Rosies role in WWII, we may be speaking German or Japanese today.
Learn more about the stories of the American WWII Home Front in Richmond, California. Learn about the people who worked in the defense industry and other home front jobs, home front activities, daily life, and social changes accelerated by the changing home front culture.
Juliette Gordon Low envisioned an organization that would prepare girls to meet their world with courage, confidence, and character. In 1912 when women in the United States did not have the right of suffrage, she sparked a worldwide movement that inspired girls to embrace their individuality, strength, and intellect, together.
The small gathering of 18 girls Juliette Gordon Low hosted over a century ago has grown to global movement that includes nearly 3 million Girls Scouts in 92 countries and more than 59 million alumnae.
The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia hosts 65,000 visitors each year from all 50 states and from countries around the world. The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace has been owned and operated by GSUSA since it was saved from demolition in the 1950s. Guided tours and special programs are available throughout the year.
March is Women’s History Month—a month long celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Women’s History Month grew out of a small-town school event in Sonoma, California in 1978. The United States has observed it annually throughout the month of March since 1987.
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