August 25 – March 31, 2021 @ Birthplace of Country Music Museum
BRISTOL, Va./Tenn. — The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is marking the centennial of women's suffrage in the United States with two poster exhibits, "Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence," from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Service, and"To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women's Fight for the Vote," from the Tennessee State Museum. The public may also participate by loaning their own items to the museum for display.
"If you have photos, newspaper articles or ephemera related to women's right to vote in this region, we want to hear from you," said BCM's Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. "We always try to make local and regional connections withany outside exhibits we bring to the museum, and anything that is loaned to us will be used to create a small display in the museum's 'Community Case.'All items will be returned when the exhibits end."
Anyone with items related to women's right to vote or the exercise of that right — past or present — in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee is asked to email Dr. Rodgers firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both exhibits are a way to learn about and celebrate this historic milestone in our nation's history, and learning resources are available for families, teachers and students.
The crusade for women's right to vote is one of the longest reform movements in American history. Between 1832 and 1920, women citizens organized for the right to vote, agitating first in their states or territories and then, simultaneously, through petitioning for a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence"celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment and explores the complexity of the women's suffrage movement and the relevance of this history to Americans' lives today. Itis the story of voting rights, of inclusion in and exclusion from the franchise, and of our civil development as a nation.
Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery,Votes for Womenseeks to expand visitors' understanding of the suffrage movement in the United States while addressing women's political activism, exploring the racism that challenged universal suffrage, and documenting the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment which prohibits the government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. It also touches upon the suffrage movement's relevance to current conversations on voting and voting rights across America. The project received support from the American Women's History Initiative. The American Women's History Initiative, "Because of Her Story," is one of the country's most ambitious undertakings to research, collect, document, display, and share the compelling history of women, and its work will deepen our understanding of women's contributions to the nation and the world. More information is available at womenshistory.si.edu.
"To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women's Fight for the Vote"is a new traveling exhibition created by the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library Archives. The exhibit explores the history of the women's suffrage movement, Tennessee's dramatic vote to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, and the years that followed.
The exhibition offers a touch-free experience of archival images, engaging stories, and introductions to the leaders of the fight for and against the cause. The stories begin by detailing the early challenges of racial gender discrimination and continuing to the organization of African American and white women's associations to encourage political engagement. Visitors will also learn about Febb Burn of McMinn County, Tennessee, whose letter to her son, Harry T. Burn, resulted in a last-minute vote that helped change women's history in the United States forever. The exhibit includes a Tennessee map, highlighting suffragist activities across the state.
Funding for"To Make Our Voices Heard"was provided by The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Women's Suffrage Centennial and partially funded by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum assures each of its guests that museum staff and volunteers are making health and safety a priority during the pandemic and has received Healthy Business Certification from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry for its disease prevention plan. Protocols include social distancing of groups and heightened sanitizing practices. For more information, visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org and go to the Museum section of the website. Click "Plan Your Visit" for more information.