12 thoughts on “Telling real women’s stories at historic sites

  1. Pingback: Telling real women’s stories at historic sites | History@Work | FIZZSTORY

  2. Interesting post – thanks for sharing the recommendations. Is there NCWHS interested in opening up an international dialogue on this topic? I am participating in a series of discussions about gender and the museum in the Netherlands over the next few months – perhaps we can include some of these ideas in our conversations and report back on our discussions here?

    • As a board member of NCWHS I’m very much intrigued by your post, and proposal to launch an international dialogue; I’d love to learn/talk more. Have you connected via the NCWHS Facebook page yet?

  3. I think that part of the problem is that many sites base their interpretation on research that was done years ago, and it’s tough to find the time to go through the process of sifting through the information to find the untold stories. But it’s definitely a worthwhile pursuit, and one I hope to pursue at my own museum.

    • That is certainly an issue. I’ve spoken to site supervisors in the past who have vague inklings of stories they could tell but do not have the resources nor the staffing hours they need to research, write, and implement new interpretation. A perennial problem at any number of cultural institutions.

  4. Molly, thank you for this terrific post.
    I’m currently doing a project with a historical society that will be telling – via exhibition and documentary – the long-ignored story of an African American YWCA that was housed from 1920-1965 in the historic house. Currently the interpretation of the house is of the white male family who owned it (one of the founders of the town, etc) but the story of how the women of the YWCA worked together – at times with difficulty with the wealthy white women – to promote education, equality, and cultural pride in a town under “veiled” segregation is finally going to be told. This is a story with national themes which we’ll be bringing out, including how the YWCA was an incubator of sorts for these women and how it helped nuture local involvement in the civil rights movement. So there is at least one other place that is working on telling the women’s stories, ironically in a house that once belonged to a women’s group.

  5. This is a great post. It speaks to a recent story I researched and wrote for a nature magazine in the San Francisco Bay Area. My story is about a world renowned ceramic artist, Marguerite Wildenhain, who was the first woman to study at the Bauhaus in Germany. As a Jewish woman, she fled Europe during WWII for the U.S. She ended up spending 40+ years of her life living and working in what became a California state park north of San Francisco near Guerneville and the Russian River. The iconic work studio she built here from a 19th century barn and her home have been disintegrating since her death in 1985. Now a new national effort hopes to revive this important historic site and engage the public before it is lost for good. If you are interested, the back story and link to the full article are here: http://wp.me/p4OLF-2K0

    • Dear Christine

      Thank you for this post! I wrote about Marguerite Friedlander in my book on Women designers in the Netherlands between 1880-1940 (in Dutch, I’m afraid). She lived and worked in the Netherlands for a short period,

      I’am very pleased to see where she worked and lived in the US. What a beautiful spot it is. I have never been there but knew about her farm.

      It certainly is worth every effort to preserve it!

      Marjan Groot
      University of Leiden
      The Netherlands.

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