Explore Women’s History in Kansas City at #AASLH18!

Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

By Megan Byrnes, incoming co-chair, AASLH Women’s History Affinity Group

Whether you are attending this year’s AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, in person or online, there are many opportunities for you to explore women’s history and discuss ways to highlight women’s stories at your institution. The Women’s History Affinity Group (WHAG) invites you to check out some of the following fascinating women’s history sessions at the conference, and to learn more about how to get involved with our affinity group. We look forward to seeing you in KC!

Thursday, September 27

12:15 pm-1:30 pm AASLH Women’s History Affinity Group Luncheon
First, join us at the Women’s History luncheon. Meet others who are interested in women’s history, and enjoy a presentation by Kimberlee Ried, Public Programs Specialist from the National Archives and Records Administration. Ried will share ways to uncover women’s sources in the archives, and highlight her own research on early divorce records in Kansas and wrongfully incarcerated women in Leavenworth Penitentiary (cost: $40).

1:45 pm-3 pm “Winning the Vote: How to Prepare Your Site 100 Years in the Making”
Are you and your site planning to observe the upcoming centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020? Panelists will share current initiatives that are already underway for 2020, and discuss ways to engage audiences, inspire action, and confront problematic narratives surrounding the movement for women’s suffrage. *Please note that this session will also be featured as an online conference session.

“Mrs. J.J. “Molly” Brown Presenting Trophy Cup Award to Capt. Arthur Henry Roston, For His Service in the Rescue of the Titanic.” May 29, 1912. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, #98509447.

1:45 pm-3 pm “Written and Erased: A Great American Writer, Her Partner, and a Small Nebraska Town”
In a new exhibit installed in Red Cloud, Nebraska, an exhibit designer, a museum educator, and a foundation president work to address the sexuality of American writer Willa Cather.

4 pm-5:15 pm “Getting Sexy at Historic Sites”
Incorporating the history of sexuality into museums and historic sites allows us to explore questions of societal power, create perspectives on modern sexual politics, and increase audiences. Join the speakers to discuss how to incorporate this topic in a way that is historically accurate and respectful, rather than simply prurient.

Friday, September 28

8:30 am-9:45 am “Telling the Truth About Woman Suffrage: A Roundtable Discussion”
Join your fellow practitioners, historians, and educators to discuss how to expand the critical narrative of women’s suffrage to include women of color and women from different socio-economic backgrounds.  Session participants will be asked to share feedback on the development of AASLH’s 2020 Suffrage Value Statement.

12:30 pm-1:45 pm “Moving Past Stereotypes and Myths: Improving Women’s Interpretation at History Sites and Museums” (Joint session featuring the Historic House and Women’s History Affinity Groups)
What messages and stereotypes of women do we present in tours and exhibits? Using a newly developed methodology and two field case studies from the Molly Brown House and the Atlanta History Center, this joint session will discuss how race, gender, and material culture are used and interpreted at historic sites.