This is Part 1 of a two-part article. Part 2 can be accessed here.
SCRC planned an exhibit of materials to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in the fall of 2020. The exhibit was intended to coincide with a panel discussion on the Equal Rights Amendment to be held in Fenwick Library. Each fall the Libraries partner with Mason’s OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) to facilitate an event in which members of OLLI serve as panelists to discuss historical events and movements. A Mason faculty member serves as moderator. The events are open to the university community and the public. SCRC creates an exhibition of its materials pertaining to the theme of the historical event about which the panel discussion will deal. And each year a visit to the exhibition for attendees was part of the program. The title for this exhibit would be “The 19th Amendment in the 20th Century”.
With the prolonged library closures due to COVID-19, we had to adapt both the OLLI event and the exhibition to work in an online setting. We chose the venerable Omeka digital exhibitions platform to create an exhibition of photographs, rare books, and manuscript items. We have used Omeka for about a decade and, while not terribly fancy, we’ve found it to be a fairly stable and easy to use CMS which, essentially, gets the job done. The digital exhibition can be found at http://artemis.gmu.edu/SCRC/exhibits/show/nineteenthamendment100
The exhibit contains 29 items selected from several collections, as well as rare books. It covers about 150 years of the history of the Womens’ Rights Movement, from 1869 to present in 5 sections.:
- The Womens’ Suffrage Movement in the 19th Century
- The Womens’ Suffrage Movement in the Early 20th Century: Gaining Momentum
- Ratification of the 19th Amendment and Afterward: Women Continue the Fight
- Women Leadership in our Representative Government
- The Womens’ Rights Movement Continues
The panel program, Mason Library Oral History Project: The Equal Rights Amendment was held on November 17th via the Zoom meeting platform. Three presenters and about 40 guests participated in the 90-minute event. The program featured personal papers and photographs belonging to the presenters, but also images from our exhibit. So, our goal in creating an exhibit which would complement the panel discussion was realized. Part #2 of this article will detail the Zoom event.
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