Session 16. Challenging Women’s Suffrage Narratives

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Exhibitions provide archives, libraries, and museums the opportunity to consider new historical narratives, showcase collection materials, collaborate across the profession, and commemorate important historical events, including the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Panelists in this session will address how and why their institution decided to observe the women’s suffrage centennial with a major exhibition. From “restoring” women’s right to vote in New Jersey, to the usage of visual culture and representations as media tactics, each institution decided to focus on different elements of the suffrage narrative and the political strategies suffragists used in their fight for the vote. Inequities in the suffrage movement and the challenges of incorporating contributions of women from all walks-of-life into a more inclusive narrative will be an important focus of the discussion.