Six Women's Museums to Know
American museums devoted to women's history
by Holly Hartman and Beth Rowen
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
Since 1975 the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, in Fort Worth, Texas, has honored cowgirls and other heroines of the American West. The museum features exhibits, lectures, and other events. Potter Maria Martinez, writer Willa Cather, and Indian guide Sacajawea are among the women who are honored at the Hall of Fame.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, in Washington, DC, is the only museum in the world that focuses on the achievements of women artists. The museum's permanent collection includes more than 3,000 works of art, from sculpture to paintings to photography, and covers the 16th through 21st centuries.
Women of the West Museum
Founded in 1991 in Denver, Colorado, Women of the West Museum merged with the Autry National Center in Los Angeles in 2002. The museum offers traveling exhibits, online activities, and a variety of educational programs. Topics explored in recent exhibits include the early fight for woman suffrage in the West and what life was like for the many women homesteaders who lived in sod houses.
International Women's Air and Space Museum
The International Women's Air and Space Museum, in Cleveland, Ohio, was established in 1986 to honor the history of women who took flight in our atmosphere and beyond. Information covers adventurer pilots such as Amelia Earhart, women pilots in the military, and those who ventured into the new frontier-space travel.
U.S. Army Women's Museum
The U.S. Army Women's Museum, in Fort Lee, Virginia, opened in May 2001. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of women who served in the army from the Revolutionary War through today. It is located on the former site of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) Center and School, where thousands of army women had trained.
The Women's Museum: An Institute for the Future
The Women's Museum, in Dallas, Texas, opened in September 2000, just four years after Cathy Bonner, the museum's founder, literally dreamed of such a place. Smithsonian-affiliated, the museum uses technology and interactive media to chronicle women's role in shaping U.S. history. Exhibits include a Wall of Words that highlights inspirational quotes by women, timelines, historical artifacts that illustrate how women lived and what they valued, and high-tech profiles of women who have made their mark on history. The museum closed on October 31, 2011, due to lack of funds.