FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2020
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New Cincinnati Museum Center exhibition examines the ongoing struggle for suffrage
An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote opens April 4
CINCINNATI – As Women’s History Month kicks off, Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) announces an upcoming exhibition showcasing the courage and resilience of women who have fought for the right to vote. An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote opens April 4.
Voting is considered a civic responsibility, and one of the most fundamental rights of Americans – but it wasn’t always (and, in some cases, still isn’t) available to everyone. The U.S. Constitution didn’t grant voting rights: it allowed states to determine who was eligible to vote, and before 1868, most states limited voting to white men who owned property. That changed when Constitutional Amendments began expanding voting rights, as they did in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote commemorates the 100th anniversary of that ratification and the years of struggle and sacrifice it took to secure it. The exhibition acknowledges that the 19th Amendment didn’t extend real voting access to all women and chronicles efforts such as the Civil Rights movement that work to ensure that all citizens in the United States have a voice in their own government. Documents and objects from CMC’s collections, along with interactives and graphics, demonstrate the power of the vote, leaving guests with a clear impression of why it is worth fighting for.
“As we commemorate 100 years of women exercising their right to vote we recognize those women, and men, who sacrificed for a voice,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “We also recognize that it’s important to consider how gender rights have intersected with many dimensions of identity – such as race, class, faith and sexuality – to both help and hinder true access to the vote over the past century.”
Interactive exhibition elements invite guests to create their own signs and try on a suffrage sash, indicating their support. Local voting records from CMC’s collections, both before and after 1920, illustrate the impact of the 19th Amendment. Stories of women in office, both past and present, will highlight the contributions of women in our government and the laws they championed, including child labor and education laws, civil rights and prohibition.
An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote examines not only the 19th Amendment, but also other amendments that address the larger pursuit for universal suffrage in the face of racial discrimination, age barriers and the disenfranchisement of felons. Interactive elements will challenge guests on what year certain groups gained the right to vote, or whether they can vote at all.
As the exhibition title implies, the right to vote and the opportunity for a voice is an ongoing struggle. An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote encourages guests to use their voting power to enact change. CMC is planning a rich program of lectures and community conversations, accompanied by nonpartisan voter registration drives, to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
“When people choose not to vote or are deprived of the right to vote, they are silenced, rendered idle spectators in their country and community,” says Pierce. “We want to encourage people to remember how powerful their vote can be and hope this exhibition makes them recognize why so many people struggled for so long to make their voices heard.”
An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote will be open in the William L. Mallory, Sr. Gallery at CMC from April 4 to September 27, 2020. For more information visit cincymuseum.org/unfinished-revolution.
CMC is grateful for the support of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund and the Ohio Humanities Council for making An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote possible.
About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of a select few museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and Cincinnati History Library & Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than one million visitors annually. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org.
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