Social Icons

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Museum of the American Revolution Special Exhibit When Women Lost the Vote

Millions of American women were granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which marks its centennial in 2020. But more than a century earlier, women and free people of color legally held the vote in New Jersey for more than thirty years.

In the groundbreaking new exhibition When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776 – 1807, the Museum of the American Revolution will explore – as no book, exhibit, or other medium has before – the little-known history of the nation’s first women voters and examine how and why this right was stripped away in 1807. The exhibition will run from August 22nd, 2020 through March 28th, 2021 and will be included with regular Museum admission.

Featured in the exhibition will be several recently discovered poll lists including the names of women voters, tracked down by the Museum’s curatorial team during an extensive examination of voter records. To date, the team has located nine poll lists featuring the names of 163 women at local institutions and state archives. Prior to this, little proof of women voting during this period was known to exist. Though a property requirement for voters excluded the enslaved and some free men and women, neither race nor gender in itself legally precluded voting in New Jersey.

It also will feature original objects including textiles, manuscripts, furniture, and art, as well as interactive elements and scenic environments.
Museum of the American Revolution Special Exhibit  When Women Lost the Vote

“While the rest of the country is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Museum is also celebrating more than 200 years since women first voted in the United States,” said Dr. Marcela Micucci, Curatorial Fellow in Women’s History for the Museum. “In this exhibition, we are reconstructing the long-forgotten stories of America’s first women voters and will explore how the next generation of suffragists stood on the shoulders of the women who first pioneered the vote.”

Although New Jersey ultimately restricted the vote to only propertied white men in 1807, women’s fight for equality did not end there. Rather, that earlier Revolutionary fight became a rallying cry as another generation of women took up the mantle of the suffrage movement decades later. When Women Lost the Vote is an inspiring story that will explore how the American Revolution shaped women’s political opportunities and activism and will encourage visitors to reconsider their understanding of the timeline of women’s history in America. It is also a cautionary tale about one of America’s first voting rights crises.
Museum of the American Revolution Special Exhibit  When Women Lost the Vote

The exhibition will explore issues related to race and suffrage, as the loss of the vote for women and people of color were inextricably tied. It will examine the promise of the American Revolution for women and people of color, the betrayal of that promise in 1807 when both groups were disenfranchised, and the renewed fight for equality that took place in the reform movements leading up to the Civil War. It took more than 100 years for voting rights for both groups to be restored nationally.

“The Museum of the American Revolution is committed to presenting the past accurately and in a way that helps us better understand the present,” said Dr. Philip Mead, Chief Historian and Director of Curatorial Affairs for the Museum. “New Jersey faced many of the issues Americans struggle with today, including accusations of voter fraud in a highly partisan political climate. This exhibition will encourage visitors to consider that societal progress is not always linear, and that rights and liberties require constant vigilance to preserve and protect.”
Museum of the American Revolution Special Exhibit  When Women Lost the Vote

The 5,000 square-foot exhibition, developed by the Museum of the American Revolution’s in-house exhibit team, will be located in the Museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery, the exhibition’s exclusive venue. Please visit the museum's website for more information about the special exhibit.

No comments: