The sites include famous statues of women, the Suffrage Movement which gave women the right to vote 100 years ago, and a memorial to women in the military.
Many women’s history sites are part of the National Park Service.
Women’s History Sites in NYC
Statue of Liberty
Certainly, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous women in the world.
At a graceful 305’ tall, she is a towering symbol of American freedom.
The statue was sculpted by French artist Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and gifted to the United States by France in 1875 to commemorate the countries’ alliance during the American Revolution.
In her right hand, Lady Liberty holds a torch above her head. In her left hand, she carries a tablet inscribed with JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
The statue can be viewed from various vantage points along the Hudson River. For an up-close- and-personal look, take the ferry that departs from Battery Park to Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty stands. The same ticket includes Ellis Island, and its excellent museum where you can trace the arrival of your own family.
There is also a FREE ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island that passes Lady Liberty, but does not stop there.
New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
This museum includes a Center for Women’s History with a variety of exhibits, information, and artifacts from and about women who have shaped American history.
That includes the women who designed and created the iconic Tiffany stained glass lamps, and such sports figures as Billie Jean King.
In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro (1935–2011) became the first woman nominated for national office by a major political party when presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected her as his running mate.
At the time, Ferraro was one of just 24 women serving in Congress. Today, there are more than 100 female lawmakers in the Senate and the House, and also women Governors, including New York State.
“Women’s Voices” is a multimedia digital installation that includes profiles of:
- Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice;
- Barbara McClintock, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist;
- Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S;
- Misty Copeland, a trailblazing dancer and principal ballerina; and
- Chien-Shiung Wu, the Manhattan Project physicist who was snubbed by the Nobel Prize committee.
Women’s History Sites in New York State
Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls
The fight for women’s right to vote began in upstate New York with the suffrage movement.
In July 1848, two brave and determined women, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized the first Women’s Rights Convention with approximately 200 women in attendance at Wesleyan Chapel.
At the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, “meet” the five women who organized the convention and Sojourner Truth, a former slave who became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.
Learn more about the convention, its organizers, and what they thought would happen after the convention.
Outside, the park includes Wesleyan Chapel (where the convention was held), the homes of three suffragists (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann M’Clintock), and Declaration Park & Waterwall, which features the text and signers of the Declaration of Sentiments.
The Declaration was written by Stanton to protest women’s inferior legal status and included 11 resolutions for equal rights – the photo is Stanton’s house.
Be sure to check the park’s website to experience one of the many ranger talks (conducted outdoors) about the pivotal events that happened on the park’s grounds.
The National Susan B. Anthony House & Museum, Rochester
Susan B. Anthony can be considered one of the world’s greatest revolutionaries. She dedicated 50 years of her life to the women’s suffrage movement and was arrested for voting in the 1872 Presidential election in Rochester.
After a two-day trial in 1873, she was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and court costs.
The museum shares Anthony’s inspiring story and preserves her National Historic Landmark home, which was the headquarters for the National American Woman Suffrage Association during her time as president of the organization.
She died at age 86 in 1906 after giving her “Failure is Impossible” speech in Boston.
Women’s History Sites in Washington, D.C. & Maryland
Born in 1821, Clara Barton’s humanitarian legacy continues today with the American Red Cross. In 1881, at age 59, she founded the American Red Cross and led it for 23 years.
Prior to establishing the Red Cross in the United States, Barton dedicated years of her life to the soldiers of the Civil War. She initially began by collecting much-needed supplies and later traveled to the front to deliver them and provide assistance in any way she could.
Barton put herself in constant danger as she went to the major battles of the war to nurse, comfort, and care for wounded men. For her constant self-sacrifice, she came to be known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.”
After the Civil War, Barton established the Missing Soldiers Office to locate Union soldiers who hadn’t returned home. She and her team initiated searches on behalf of the women who were looking for their lost husbands or sons.
Barton and her team wrote more than 100 letters a day to contacts in the U.S. Army and family and friends of the missing. By December 1868, she and her team had located more than 22,000 missing soldiers.
Visit the preserved rooms where Barton lived and worked during the Civil War and where she and her team spent thousands of hours in the Missing Soldiers Office.
Arlington National Cemetery
Just outside of D.C., Arlington National Cemetery is worth a visit since a number of pioneering military women have been honored with a burial at the Cemetery.
Lt. Ollie Bennett was the first female medical officer commissioned in the U.S. Army. During World War I when she joined the Army as a contract surgeon, she was told there were no uniforms for female surgeons, so she had to design one herself.
- (Section 10, Grave 10938-LH)
On February 14, 1870, Seraph Young became, according to many accounts, the first woman in the United States to vote under a women’s equal suffrage law.
Two days earlier, Utah (then a U.S. territory) had passed legislation granting women the right to vote. Young, a schoolteacher, became the first woman to cast a ballot when she exercised her newly granted right in a Salt Lake City local election.
- (Section 13, Grave 89-A)
Major General Marcelite Jordan Harris retired in 1997 as the highest-ranking female officer in the Air Force and the highest ranking African American woman in the Department of Defense.
A graduate of Spellman Academy, she was commissioned in 1965, rising through the ranks to become the first African American female brigadier general in the Air Force in 1991. Many of her assignments represented “firsts” for women in the Air Force.
- (Section 30, Grave 621)
Also be sure to visit the Military Women’s Memorial near the entrance, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
The first major museum in the world focusing exclusively on women artists, it re-opens in October 2023 after an extensive two-year renovation. Although closed now, you can visit virtually.
The re-opening exhibit, The Sky’s the Limit, features large-scale sculptures by 12 artists, including Petah Coyne, Cornelia Parker, Mariah Robertson, Shinique Smith, Joana Vasconcelos and Ursula von Rydingsvard.
Sculptures will be suspended from the ceiling, arc across walls and project outward from corners, inspiring close encounters with artworks.
The museum is housed in a 1908 building that was originally a Masonic temple.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park, Church Creek, MD
Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery in Maryland and escaped to freedom in Philadelphia, is the Underground Railroad’s best-known conductor.
She risked her life many times, returning to Maryland to rescue at least 70 enslaved people, including her parents, brothers, family members, and friends.
After the American Civil War broke out, her bravery continued as she became an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the movement for women’s suffrage.
To see where Tubman was born, lived, labored, and where she fled from, follow the scenic, self-guided driving tour of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway that includes 45 sites.
The Byway winds 125 miles through the beautiful landscapes and waterscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and continues for 98 miles through Delaware before ending in Philadelphia. A free map and audio guide are available on the Byway website.
On the Byway, don’t miss the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park in Church Creek, MD, to learn about Tubman’s life and how her upbringing equipped her with essential outdoor skills that allowed her to successfully lead dozens of people out of slavery.
The National Park Service site also includes educational video clips by Park Rangers about Tubman’s life, which included being an early environmentalist.
Women’s History Sites in Alabama
Helen Keller Birthplace, Tuscumbia
The life of Helen Keller was full of hard struggles and amazing accomplishments. When Keller was just 19 months, she suffered a severe illness that left her blind and deaf. When she was six years old, her parents hired Anne Mansfield Sullivan as her teacher.
Sullivan, who had partial vision, was 20 years old and a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind. Miraculously, in less than a month, Sullivan was able to reach Keller through sign language and open the world to her.
Keller became one of history’s remarkable women. She dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind around the world, lecturing in more than 25 countries.
Wherever she appeared, she brought courage to millions of blind people.
When visiting Keller’s birthplace, do not miss the water pump where Keller had her life-changing breakthrough, a famous scene in the iconic 1962 film, The Miracle Worker, about the life of Helen Keller and her relationship with Annie Sullivan.
While cool water gushed over Keller’s hand, Sullivan spelled “water” into her other hand. Suddenly, Keller connected the spelled word with the flowing liquid. Keller immediately began touching the elements around her, wanting to learn their names.
Keller’s home includes her complete library of Braille books, her original Braille typewriter, plus mementos and gifts from her travels around the world.
Women’s History Sites in Texas
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Fort Worth,
The National Cowgirl Museum is the only museum in the world to honor the courageous, resilient, and independent women who helped shape the West.
Hands-on activities for adults and children, along with computer-enhanced archival photographs, bring these trail-blazing women and the rough-and-tumble time to life.
Through a hologram, hear from sharpshooter Annie Oakley and learn about the Wild West Shows that traveled the globe from the 1880s to the early 20th century.
Be sure to visit the Hall of Fame that honors modern-day cowgirl Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, along with the winningest female roper in the world, an American equestrian and Olympic show jumping medalist, a cowboy hat designer, and a country music superstar.
Women’s History Sites in Kansas
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison
Amelia Earhart demonstrated that the sky’s the limit for women.
She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. During her flight to circumnavigate the globe, Earhart disappeared on July 2, 1937 somewhere over the Pacific. She was just 39 years old.
As a champion for women in aviation, Earhart was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
Visit her childhood home on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River to get a glimpse of life inside the Earhart family. Another Earhart attraction is an earthwork portrait of the aviator created in 1997 by Kansas artist Stan Herd.
Made from plantings, stone, and other natural materials, the one-acre portrait is on a hillside overlooking Warnock Lake. A viewing deck is on a nearby hilltop.
Women’s History Sites in Idaho
This center pays tribute to Sacagawea (c. 1788 – 1812) and her important contributions to the team that surveyed the Louisiana Purchase and Pacific Northwest.
Sacagawea was a bi-lingual Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition in 1805–1806. Her skills as a translator were invaluable, along with her intimate knowledge of the difficult terrain.
Remarkably, Sacagawea made the arduous exploration while caring for her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, who had been born just two months earlier.
The Interpretive Center is part of a 71-acre park that includes a bronze statue of Sacagawea holding Jean-Baptiste and two scenic walking trails.
The area is famous for its abundant wildlife – elk, eagles, bighorn sheep, deer and mountain goats.
Women’s History Sites in Vermont
Bennington Museum, Bennington
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860–1961) started painting in her seventies and within years was one of America’s most famous artists. Moses, known as a folk artist, painted scenes of rural life that captured an idyllic, bygone era of the United States.
The Bennington Museum has the largest public collection of paintings by Grandma Moses and a collection of artifacts from her life, including an 18-century tilt-top table she used as her painting table and her paint-stained apron.
In addition, the museum is now home to the schoolhouse where she studied as a child.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
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