Eastside Political Women Honored at MOHAI

MOHAI Celebrates Centennial of Washington Women's Right To Vote

Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices Exhibit at the Museum of History & Industry

This year MOHAI celebrates the 100th anniversary of Washington State women gaining the right to vote in our state, a decade before an amendment to the Constitution extended the national franchise to all women.  To honor this achievement MOHAI is hosting the exhibition Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices which explores the history of women’s civil rights in Washington State, and the contributions that political women have made to our communities.

To accompany this exhibit MOHAI presents an oral history project entitled Eastside Political Women. This project documents the experiences and perceptions of six pioneering council members and mayors of Kent, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland in the 1970s and 1980s.  The women include Nan Campbell, Doris Cooper, Christine Himes, Isabel Hogan, Doreen Marchione, and Beth Bland Winn. Each mayor recorded a lengthy digital video oral history interview; all of which are transcribed and are available to the public at the MOHAI library upon request.  A set of podcasts – available on MOHAI’s website and linked here:http://seattlehistory.org/exhibits_and_collections/exhibit.php?exhibit_type=2&id=j- showcase clips of these interviews.

On August 5, 2010, MOHAI honored these women at a reception at the museum.  Representatives of various women’s organizations, including the American Association of University Women and the League of Women voters, joined family members and friends to recognize the achievements of these women Mayors.

Although each Mayor had different experiences and fought for a variety of issues, these interviews also highlight a series of similarities among these women.  When they began their political careers, each woman was motivated by concern about a trigger issue – parks, the environment, social services or city growth management.  As they began, these women were all homemakers and volunteers who shared the qualities of confidence, vitality, common sense, and a sense of humor.  As they grew politically, they learned how to compromise, accept responsibility, and to take criticism.  They all learned the art of political success, and each one of them perceived the personal as political and the local as regional.  Their oral history interviews document these perceptions. MOHAI is honored to recognize and celebrate their achievements.

One hundred years ago, women were not allowed to vote, but were required to pay taxes and abide by laws their male counterparts voted into place. Women from all economic and ethnic groups banded together to persuade the men of Washington to give them the right to vote. Find out how women in Washington State campaigned for women’s suffrage in Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices, a new exhibit at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI).

On display through October 3, 2010, learn how women’s voting influenced territorial and state history as well as the strides women have made in the past 100 years. Through more than 200 artifacts, interactive kiosks and oral histories, discover how women have made a difference in Washington.

The items on display include famed suffragette Susan B. Anthony’s dress, cloak, glasses, inkwell, and diary; a rare copy of the Declaration of Sentiments, the original manifest of women’s rights supporters, and historic photos. All are on loan from several Washington agencies, the Women's Rights National Historical Park, Susan B. Anthony House, and Rochester Historical Society.

“MOHAI is delighted to host Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices in Seattle,” said the museum’s historian, Lorraine McConaghy. “When women gained the vote in 1910, Washington took a significant step toward creation of a civil society.”

To commemorate the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage in Washington State, MOHAI will be offering interesting and dynamic programs in July, August, and September. Activities range from “Herstory” walking tours of Seattle, lively discussions led by the Washington Historical Society to a Front Porch Theater performance of The Scarlett Letter presented by MOHAI and Intiman Theater. For more information and a complete listing of events, please visit www.seattlehistory.org.

Following its three month show at MOHAI, the exhibition will travel to the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane on October 30, 2010 through June 26, 2011. The exhibit was organized by the Washington Women’s History Consortium, under the auspices of the Washington State Historical Society, and the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane

MOHAI has grown to become the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington, attracting more than 60,000 visitors annually from the Northwest and beyond, including thousands of school children. MOHAI collects, preserves and presents the rich history of the Pacific Northwest. Its engaging exhibits and programs, its collection of nearly 4 million historic artifacts, archives and photographs, and its award-winning educational programs have created an appreciation for the Northwest's diverse cultural, social and economic history.

MOHAI is located in McCurdy Park in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood and is open 10 AM to 5 PM every day of the week.  For further information on MOHAI including special programs and admission rates, please visit www.seattlehistory.org or call 206-324-1126.