Want to fill in a few of the gaps your high school history books and mainstream museum visits have left when it comes to the contributions of women over the centuries? These seven museums throughout the country fill in some of the blanks as they celebrate the stories of women in the armed forces, sciences, arts, politics, and more.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
The only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), seeks to inspire dynamic exchanges about art and ideas with collections, exhibitions, programs, and online content.
The museum’s permanent collection contains more than 5,000 objects by over 1,000 artists like Frida Kahlo, Grandma Moses, and Georgia O’Keefe, as well as names that aren’t as well known, but should be. Each year the NMWA hosts ten world-class exhibitions featuring women artists. The museum is also a resource for facts about gender disparity in the arts.
- Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 12pm-5pm
- Admission Fees: Adults – $10; Seniors 65 and up – $8; Students – $8; Children 18 and under – Free
- Location: 1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
United States Army Women’s Museum, Fort Lee, VA
The United States Army Women’s Museum is the only one of its kind – a museum dedicated to showcasing the history of contributions of women in the Army. From the American Revolution (where women had roles like laundresses and cooks) to the inception of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) to present-day where women serve in combat, stories of female patriots are preserved within the halls of the museum.
The museum is also an educational institution that provides military history training to soldiers and civilians.
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm
- Admission Fees: Everything is always free
- Location: 2100 ‘A’ Adams Avenue, Fort Lee, VA
International Women’s Air & Space Museum, Cleveland, OH
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum goes beyond Sally Ride and Amelia Earhart to document the history of all women in aviation and space, both past and present. Begun by a committee of Ninety-Nines (an international organization of women pilots), who saved memorabilia of women pilots, the museum opened in 1998.
The museum and its collection of artifacts, photographs, articles, textiles, art work, and paper items are located very close to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center, and should not be missed when planning a visit to one of the other two.
- Hours of Operation: Daily from 8am-8pm
- Admission Fees: Free
- Location: Burke Lakefront Airport, Rm 165, 1501 N. Marginal Rd., Cleveland, OH
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Located on the Spelman College campus, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is the the only museum in the nation that emphasizes art by women of the African Diaspora. These dynamic, important works are presented through exhibitions and programs.
The museum’s permanent collection dates back to the 1940s and is comprised of over 350 objects – including ethnographic, African, three-dimensional, polychrome, and wooden artifacts – that include African art and works by celebrated artists of African descent. The museum features female artists of descent from Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and other regions.
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm; Saturday noon-4pm; closed holidays, summers, and official college breaks
- Admission Fee: Adults – $3 suggested donation
- Location: 350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta, GA
National First Ladies’ Library, Canton, OH
Where can you find a collection of miniature First Lady gown reproductions? At the National First Ladies’ Library. The museum isn’t about only the fashions of president’s wives, though. It’s the foremost repository of scholarly research, information, and education on the country’s First Ladies.
Part of the museum is located on the site of the family home of First Lady Ida McKinley. Another part of the museum – the education and research center – is at the former City National Bank building just a block away from the McKinley home. In the library is a rotating exhibit space, a 91-seat Victorian Theatre where films and documentaries on the first ladies are shown and lectures are held. The library also houses a collection of books somewhat similar to the first White House Library.
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Saturday 9am-4pm; Sundays in June, July and August only 12pm-4pm
- Admission Fees: Adults – $7; Seniors – $6; Children 17 and under – $5
- Location: Museum/Saxton McKinley House. 331 S. Market Avenue; Education and Research Center, 205 S. Market Ave. Canton, OH
Pioneer Woman Museum, Ponca City, OK
Since 1958, the Pioneer Woman Museum has preserved the legacy of women who contributed to Oklahoma’s development. The 10,000 square-foot museum showcases the influence women had on the development of the state as well as the nation as a whole. In the museum’s education center visitors will find craft demonstrations, special exhibits, an interactive timeline, and the Pioneer Woman Walk of Fame.
The building’s entrance represents the iconic sunbonnet of pioneer women, and written on 20-foot tall copper bonnet are the words, “I See No Boundaries” – fitting words for a museum dedicated to the enduring spirit of women—past, present, and future. Outside the museum is the Pioneer Woman, a 30-foot tall bronze statue of a pioneer mother (in a sunbonnet, of course) with a Bible in her hand and courage and determination on her face.
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
- Admission Fee: Adults – $7; Seniors – $5; Students 6-18 – $4; Children 5 and under, and Active Military Personnel – Free
- Location: 701 Monument Road, Ponca City, OK
National Women’s Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, NY
2017 inductees to the National Women’s Hall of Fame include food activist, Alice Paul; athlete, Aimée Mullins; playwright and essayist, Lorraine Hansberry; and geneticist, Janet Rowley, M.D. These diverse women are just a handful of the females, honored in the museum, who have influenced other women and the country. The museum is purposefully located in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American Women’s Rights Movement.
This hall of fame is the nation’s oldest membership organization dedicated to honoring and celebrating the achievements of distinguished American Women. This group is 260+ women strong and grows each year. With special exhibits, events, and its annual Induction Weekend, the hall uses the stories of its inductees to help drive inspiration, innovation, and imagination.
- Hours of operation: Wednesday – Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday – Tuesday 12pm-4pm
- Admission Fee: Adults – $4; Students and Seniors – $3; Families – $8; Children 5 and under – Free
- Location: 76 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY