University of Southern Indiana

Historic New Harmony host women’s suffrage exhibit

Historic New Harmony host women’s suffrage exhibit

8/10/2020 | University Communications
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Historic New Harmony invites you to a special exhibition exploring the centennial of women’s suffrage in the U.S. beginning Monday, August 17 at the Atheneum Visitor’s Center.

“Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” courtesy of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, is a compelling exploration of the women’s suffrage movement and its relevance to American lives today. The exhibition will be on display through the end of the year.

“New Harmony has a rich history of influential women and men who advocated for women's rights. These included Fanny Wright, who was vocal about her support of birth control, equal rights, legal rights for married women and divorce laws, and Robert Dale Owen, who introduced legislation at the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850 that included provisions for women's property rights in the state constitution,” said Claire Eagle, Community Engagement Manager, Historic New Harmony. “Although Owen's legislation was not approved, this early effort to protect women's rights later led to laws that were passed to secure women's property, divorce and voting rights. Hosting this exhibit in New Harmony makes sense as the country celebrates the centennial of women's suffrage.”

The story of women's suffrage is a story of voting rights, of inclusion in and exclusion from the franchise and of our civic development as a nation.” Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” a poster exhibition from the Smithsonian, 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. 
 
The crusade for women's suffrage 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. Based on the National Portrait Gallery exhibition of the same name,  “Votes for Women” seeks to expand visitors’ understanding of the suffrage movement in the United States. The poster exhibition addresses women's political activism, explores the racism that challenged universal suffrage, and documents 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. 

“Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery. This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. 

In addition to the Smithsonian exhibit, Historic New Harmony will be hosting complimentary programming on Saturday, August 29 as a part of the Suffrage Centennial Block Party presented by Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, Indiana Historical Society, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana Humanities, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, and Indiana Statehouse Tour Office.

About the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative

The Smithsonian 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 story of women. It will deepen our understanding of women’s contributions to the nation and the world. More information about the initiative is available at womenshistory.si.edu. 

For more information about Historic New Harmony, contact Erin McCracken Merris, Marketing Specialist for USI Outreach and Engagement, at emccracken@usi.edu.

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Photo Credit: Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative

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