Opening October 2023
Entry: Included with Museum Admission | Location: Union Terminal
Girls are made of much more than sugar and spice
Girlhood (It’s complicated) explores the diversity of girls’ experience over more than 200 years and through approximately 200 objects. The exhibition examines the ways American girls, from Minnijean Brown to Naomi Wadler, have spoken up, challenged expectations and used their voices to effect change. By examining, preserving and sharing the complexity of our past, we can empower people to create a more just and compassionate future.
The exhibition looks at how girls have changed history in five areas:
- Girls on the Front Lines of Change – news and politics
- Being Schooled – education
- Hey, Where’s My Girlhood? – work
- Body Talk – wellness
- Girl’s Remix – fashion
Discover the stories of the Girl Scout experience, skateboarder Cindy Whitehead and the impact of Title IX on girls’ athletics and Veronica Mendez’s quinceañera – her 15th birthday coming of age ceremony. Among Girlhood’s object highlights are a makeup table from 1820, a 1900s gym suit, a 1958 dress worn by Brown (one of the Little Rock Nine) and a 2018 knit scarf worn by Wadler when she spoke at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
Designed in the style of magazines and zines that have been written for and by girls, Girlhood features custom wall-sized murals and illustrations by artist Krystal Quiles based on historic photos. Historic videos including a makeup video, footage of historic student-led school walkouts, a compilation of U.S. government-produced sex education films from 1919 to 1957 and several others help tell the stories of girlhood over two centuries.
Girlhood (It’s complicated) was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition originally opened at the National Museum of American History during the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and was on view from October 2020 to January 2022. It was supported by the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative, the precursor of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.
Includes Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science and The Children's Museum
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Open Thursday – Monday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day