PHILADELPHIA, PA – This March, visitors to the National Constitution Center are invited to celebrate Women’s History Month with special events and exhibits that pay tribute to women throughout history. In the Center’s Posterity Hall, the original exhibition From the Absence of Many to the Presence of All…The Unfinished Business of Women’s Equality chronicles the ongoing struggle for gender equality in America through an inspiring collection of portraits, murals, and stories. The Center also turns the spotlight on women through programming connected to the new feature exhibition, Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America; learn about women who defied the status quo by serving our country as spies.
The schedule of events includes:
From the Absence of Many to the Presence of All…The Unfinished Business of Women’s Equality
This exhibition follows the uneven path of women’s progress toward equality. Through most of American history, gender equality simply did not exist. Laws and social traditions held that women were not equal to men. This changed in 1920, when American women won the right to vote, the most dramatic victory toward achieving equality. Since then, from the halls of government to the schoolroom to the boardroom, and even in their homes, women have continued to advocate for gender equality. In this exhibition, visitors will learn about the women who started it all and others who have carried on their legacy. The exhibition was commissioned by Drexel University College of Medicine’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership, as part of Vision 2020, a 10-year initiative to promote women’s leadership and equality. The exhibition is made possible by McDonald's Corporation.
Women in Espionage
Created by the International Spy Museum, the Center’s new feature exhibition, Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America, dramatically illustrates the challenge of securing our nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded. Throughout the month of March, a special program in the Grand Hall Lobby will relate how American women were – and continue to be – involved in stories of espionage, treason, and deception from 1776 to today.
Woman of the Day Story Corner
Each day throughout the month of March, the Center will highlight a different woman from American history. Visitors are invited to learn about the “Woman of the Day” in a special story corner within the From the Absence of Many to the Presence of All…The Unfinished Business of Women’s Equality exhibition.
Philadelphia Girl Power
This 20-minute interactive show focuses on the remarkable women who have called Philadelphia home. Visitors will learn the incredible stories of women such as Betsy Ross and singer and civil rights activist Marian Anderson. Philadelphia Girl Power also celebrates “famous female firsts” in Philadelphia, the home of the first women’s medical college and the first Girl Scout cookie sale.
Giant Board Game
Throughout the month of March, the Center’s giant board game, set up in the Grand Hall Lobby, will allow children and their families to test their knowledge of women’s history, while competing to see who can make it to the finish first. Children serve as game pieces as they roll the giant dice, answer questions, and work their way across the board to the finish line.
Self-Guided Tour of The Story of We the People
This self-guided tour of the Center’s core exhibition, The Story of We the People, highlights defining moments in women’s history. At the time when our Founders wrote the Constitution, women could not vote in a national election; yet today, less then 250 years later, women serve as governors, senators, Supreme Court justices, and presidential candidates. Visitors will learn about the struggles women overcame to achieve these remarkable advances.
· The judicial robe worn by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
· A collection of artifacts from Susan B. Anthony and the movement for women’s suffrage, including a letter penned by Susan B. Anthony in 1901, advocating women's suffrage and "equal rights with men... before the law"; a “Votes for Women” pennant from 1915; and a “Votes for Women” plate, featuring a pattern which became a popular way to show support for the women’s suffrage movement.
· The “American National Tree,” which highlights people who have helped shape the Constitution over the last 200 years, such as Bella Abzug, a feminist member of House of Representatives; Myra Bradwell, a feminist denied the right to practice law; Mary Goddard, printer of the Declaration of Independence; Katharine Graham, Washington Post publisher who authorized the publication of the Pentagon Papers; Candy Lightner, Founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving; and Patsy Mink, the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress.
Women of Power
During the Women of Power show, students will learn about extraordinary women throughout history, and the issues they faced while trying to secure equal rights. The show will explore the passing of the 19th Amendment and the new roles of women in society by examining the lives of courageous women who defied the norms of society and paved a path for future generations. Students also will discover how the struggle for women’s rights impacted efforts for equality for all citizens.
Educators also can bring the Women of Power show to their schools through the Center’s Traveling History and Civics Program.
The NationalConstitutionCenter, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising.” The Center also houses the AnnenbergCenter for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues.