In celebration of Women’s History Month, the New York State Museum will open a small exhibition March 1 featuring artifacts and images from the woman’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century. “Women Who Rocked the Vote” will be open through March in the Museum’s front lobby window.
The exhibition chronicles the history of the suffrage movement, which was officially launched when Elizabeth Cady Stanton added the demand for equal suffrage to the Declaration of Sentiments at the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls that she helped organize. Modeled on the Declaration of Independence, the declaration condemned male tyranny. It also claimed for women “all the rights and privileges” of citizenship. News of the convention sparked controversy and helped ignite a national movement.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a large wooden wagon that was once covered in suffrage banners and hand-painted signs as suffrage activists used the wagon as both a prop and a speaker’s platform. There also are historic images and a large painted banner carried in a massive suffrage parade up Fifth Avenue in New York City. The parade came just 10 days before the November 1917 election which gave women the right to vote in New York State. Two years later the state ratified the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibited sex-based restrictions on the right to vote.
The New York State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Founded in 1836, the museum has the longest continuously operating state natural history research and collection survey in the U.S. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open daily from 9:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.
Photo: Suffrage Parade, NYC 1912