Local Activities | March 4, 2016
In 1981, President Ronald Regan signed a Congressional resolution to create Women’s History Week. Congress then expanded the declaration in 1987 by designating the entire month of March as Women’s History Month . It’s a time to pay tribute to the generations of women who have shaped American history and celebrate their invaluable contributions to our society.
Many national institutions such as the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institute are holding special Women’s History Month events. There are performances and exhibits shining the spotlight on women’s accomplishments over the past 200 years at many locations in Washington, D.C. throughout the month.
The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Working To Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government,” Which celebrates the women who have shaped America’s history and its future through public service and government leadership. Every year, the National Women’s History Project designates honorees who have contributed to keeping women in the forefront of history. The honorees vary from women’s and civil rights activists to government officials. Some of the honorees for 2016 include: Barbara Mikulski, the longest serving woman in the United States Congress, Oveta Culp Hobby, the World War II Director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Karen Narasaki, Civil and Human Rights Leader, Nancy Grace Roman, Chief of Astronomy at NASA, and Ella Grasso, the first women Governor of Connecticut.
There are many historical sites across the United States that are holding events for Women’s History Month. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York, was the epicenter for the struggle of women’s rights in the mid 1800’s. You can also visit Val-Kill, the home of First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, in upstate New York. Or you could stop at the home of Clara Barton in Glen Echo, Maryland, Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross. The Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park is one of the newest members of the National Park system. Located in Richmond, California, it honors the Rosie the Riveters who worked in American factories and helped fight the battles on the home front during World War II. You can also visit many women’s historically relevant properties on the National Register of Historic Places .
The National Museum of American History, one of the great museums on the National Mall, has a continuing exhibit on the First Ladies of the United States from inauguration gowns to personal artifacts. This exhibit should not be missed. Women’s History Month is a relatively new celebration that will only grow in popularity over time. There have been many, many women who have played and are continuing to play-roles in shaping our technology, political systems and everyday life. Take time to celebrate Women’s History Month at the Washington, D.C. institutions as well as your local schools and libraries.
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