Centered around the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote, "She Shapes History" shines a light on exceptional women, their work, and how their accomplishments changed American history. Highlighting women from the Berkshires and beyond, the exhibition explores how societal expectations and opportunities changed for American women from the early 1800s through present day as they marched into leadership positions, became activists, and entered business, science, and politics.
She Shapes History uses biographies of extraordinary women, including local heroes Elizabeth Freeman and Susan B. Anthony, plus fine art and historical objects from Berkshire Museum’s collection and on loan from Berkshire Historical Society, Hancock Shaker Village, and private collections, to trace the expectations of “women’s work” in America over the past 200 years, from the early 19th century homestead to the record number of women holding public office today.
Focusing on the struggle to gain equal rights and access for women in civic life, education, and the workplace, the exhibition highlights technological advancements and innovations that offered independent travel and economic opportunities for women, like the inventions of the bicycle, sewing machine, and typewriter; and the evolution of women’s daily wear from heavy, restrictive gowns to shorter skirts, bloomers, and pants.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.