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Marietta exhibit celebrates 100 years of women voting

Photo by Michele Newbanks Jann Adams, president of the Washington County Historical Society, started the setup Wednesday of the Ohio History Connection exhibit, Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change at the Armory in Marietta.

A women’s suffrage exhibit will run through July 25 at the Armory in Marietta to tell the story of Ohio women who participated in the movement.

The Washington County Historical Society is commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage with the Ohio History Connection’s exhibit called ‘Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change.’

“We gave a great deal of thought to bringing the exhibit to Washington County during the pandemic,” said Betsy Cook, historical society member. “We thought visiting the exhibit could be done safely by following the CDC guidelines.’

The exhibit will be 12 banners that tell the story of Ohio women, such as Washington County native Frances Dana Barker Gage and Gloria Steinem, who participated in the movement.

“I felt it was very important to bring the exhibit to our area,” Cook said. “It is an anniversary worth celebrating,100 years since the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote and all the changes that have occurred since.”

Jann Adams, president of the historical society, said the Ohio History Connection studied to find women for the 12 banners. The state-wide exhibit was designed to travel to colleges, historical organizations and libraries through 2020, although COVID-19 restrictions have curtailed its travels.

Each banner has questions about voting and women’s role in the process. Questions include ‘How do women support each other?’, ‘What does voting give you the power to do?’, ‘What does it mean to be a woman?’, and ‘How do you experience discrimination?’.

Adams said the exhibit can also be viewed online at http://resources.ohiohistory.org/omeka/exhibits/show/suffrage.

“As a retired social studies teacher, I thought it was important that people were reminded of the hard work and struggle that women had to go through to make the passage of the 19th amendment possible,” Cook explained. “Our Constitution was written in 1787, giving only half the population of the United States the right to vote.”

She said Abigail Adams asked her husband to ‘remember the ladies’ but they did not. Black men were given the right to vote in the 15th amendment passed in 1869. Elizabeth Cady Staton and Susan B. Anthony lobbied for women to be included but they were not.

“Finally, the 19th amendment in 1920, 133 years after the US Constitution was written, the other half of the American people, women, got the right to vote,” Cook noted.

The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. It will be open until 9 p.m. during Marietta’s First Fridays event.

“Women helped build this country without a say in our democracy, without the right to vote, for 133 years,” Cook said. “Women have had the right to vote for 100 years. I hope each and every woman and man will exercise this important right in November. A healthy democracy cannot exist without the vote of the citizens.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

If you go:

• What: Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change exhibit.

• Where: Ground floor of Armory, 241 Front St., Marietta.

• When: Through July 25, excluding Sundays.

•Times: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

• Cost: Free and open to the public. Donations welcomed.

• Exhibit can be viewed online at http://resources.ohiohistory.org/omeka/exhibits/show/suffrage.

Source: Washington County Historical Society.

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