I’ve been looking into a lot of digital history exhibits – for business and pleasure – but along the way, I took a look at the National Women’s History Museum (NWMH). Check it out at www.nwhm.org.
I’ve been following the NWHM on and off this past year, mostly through Facebook updates and Twitter from others. Reading about the establishment of a women’s history sounded awesome – but knowing that ground wasn’t breaking on the Mall, I couldn’t quite comprehend what sort of newsworthy information was being passed around. It wasn’t until this semester that I really started looking into what was actually going here.
NWHM is still under construction – to be fair, it hasn’t even reached construction yet. Right now, the website is its primary source of attention, and they have done an awesome job on it. The first thing you see is the photo slider, filled with quotes from famous American women and pictures of Congress in action. Just below it, plastered everywhere are links to their social media, trying to show off new events in their progress. It’s quite a crowded first impression to make, but it says something – excitement, energy, and seeking support.
Another exciting feature of the website is their legislation center. Right from the museum’s website, you can contact your senator or representative for their support in establishing the museum. (I did so – one of my senators, Elizabeth Warren, is a actually a cosponsor on the bill and responded to me with a very nice email.) The National Women’s History Museum Commission Act (S. 398) established a commission to study the possibility of putting the NWHM in a space on the National Mall or in the Washington, D.C. area. The bill passed through the House of Representatives back in May, so here’s to the Senate’s help as well.
The NWHM also has a great collection of lessons plans and exhibits for a number of women’s history topics. Looking for a walking tour of historic sites related to the cause in your area? You can find it under “Activities.” Want to see the Lecture Series NWHM hosted at the Wilson Center? It’s right under “Videos.” Want a biography of women explorers and adventures? It’s all available for your perusal. A wealth of knowledge is at any viewer’s disposal – super cool for everyone, historians and students alike. It’s more than some other museum websites offer, and it really shows much effort has already gone into research and planning.
The best part of the NWHM is that it’s still in this building phase. It’s hard to find “big” museums making their way into existence in this way, and NWHM is truly making their visitors a part of that experience. NWHM is engaging people across the web – I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.