Smithsonian Hosts National Youth Summit on “Woman Suffrage: The Ballot and Beyond”

Museum Connects Students Across the Country for Discussions on Woman-led Activism

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will host its annual National Youth Summit May 21 at 1 p.m. EDT to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of House of Representatives’ resolution in support of the 19th Amendment for woman suffrage. This year’s webcast, “Woman Suffrage: The Ballot and Beyond,” will be streamed online to allow middle and high school students across the county to examine the woman suffrage movement and its effects on woman-led activism today. The event will include a panel of scholars, activists and experts along with an audience of local students at the museum’s Warner Bros. Theater and thousands of students in classrooms across the country. Online teaching materials are available to help classrooms participate in the livestream from their own locations. Smithsonian Affiliate museums are also participating in the summit by hosting events of their own in addition to tuning in to the webcast. 

A Washington, D.C., panel will include Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist, and Page Harrington, a public historian and former Executive Director of the National Woman’s Party at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, to discuss changes in activism over time, power dynamics and democracy. Professor and scholar Caty Borum Chattoo will bring her expertise to the stage from the American University School of Communications’ Center for Media and Social Impact. Finally, 12-year-old gun violence and social activist Naomi Wadler will share her fresh perspective on women’s activism in America today. Some 200 Washington public school students will have the chance to interact with the panelists. 

At Smithsonian Affiliate museums, approximately 500 students are projected to participate in events and watch the panel’s livestream. More than 4,000 students are signed up to watch from their classrooms across the country. Teachers may register a classroom for the webcast or access free, supplementary education materials for all ages at

“Suffrage marked an important moment in the progression of women’s participation in our democracy and civic life,” said Carrie Kotcho, the museum’s director of education and outreach. “The museum’s annual Youth Summit provides a national conversation about important events in America’s past that have relevance to the nation’s present and future.”

The National Youth Summit was designed by the National Museum of American History to provide students with an opportunity to share their views and debate issues as part of a program that aligns with the National History Standards and Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening. Since the program was launched in 2011, the National Youth Summit has engaged more than 60,000 live viewers and many more through the archived programs. 

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums, educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at

The National Youth Summit is made possible by a generous grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. This project also received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. These summits are part of a larger Smithsonian initiative focused on civic engagement intended to help Americans understand the past in order to make sense of the present and to shape a more informed future. The museum has created a vigorous program with curricula, websites and outreach opportunities for students and teachers across the nation. 

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more informed future. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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Valeska Hilbig
Melinda Machado