Women's History Month 2021

As the museum’s first woman director since its opening in 1964, it gives me personal and professional honor to recognize Women’s History Month 2021. Women’s and girls’ histories are inextricably woven into the tens of thousands of years of human occupation of what we know as the United States. Women advocates ensured that this weave was officially recognized by Congress in 1981, asking the President to declare a “Women’s History Week” the following year. After five more years of work, March was recognized as “Women’s History Month” in 1987 to celebrate and recognize the remarkable, if often overlooked and underrepresented, contributions women have made and continue to make to U.S. history.

Your National Museum of American History like so many others had long planned to make 2020, the centennial year of the 19th Amendment barring the discrimination of voting on the basis of gender, the “year of the woman.” The novel coronavirus had other plans for us. Still, we opened Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage in March, and Girlhood (It’s complicated) in October, adding to our “All Work, No Pay” exhibition case that had opened in 2019. We also made our addition to the American Enterprise exhibition, The Only One in the Room, available to online visitors during the museum's closure.Our scholars and educators remain honored to participate in the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative, and please be sure to check out the remarkable K-12 resources the museum has on women’s history.

Over the month of March 2021, the museum will present a variety of programs in honor of Women’s History Month, in addition to sharing material from our incredible women’s history collections on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure and check out one of my favorites, our Latinas Talk Latinas/Latinas hablan de Latinas video series in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center, as new episodes will launch each Wednesday throughout the month!



Anthea M. Hartig, PhD
Elizabeth MacMillan Director

Program Offerings

(All times Eastern time zone)

Smithsonian Social Studies Online: Women's History Month

March 4, 11 a.m.

Join the National Museum of American History for an online exploration into key social studies topics, featuring museum resources from the Smithsonian. This episode will focus on Women's History Month.

Check out more Social Studies Online resources and episodes on Smithsonian Learning Lab.

Trailblazing Women in Entertainment

March 31, 2 p.m.

Join the National Museum of American History as we celebrate Women’s History Month and the upcoming exhibition Entertainment Nation. Explore how women have changed and continue to influence the landscape of the entertainment industry.

Gigi Pritzker, Founder & CEO, Madison Wells
Abbe Raven, Chairman Emeritus, A+E Networks
Anna Deavere Smith, Playwright, Professor and Actress

In conversation with:
Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D., Elizabeth MacMillan Director

Latinas Talk Latinas

In collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Latinas Talk Latinas video series asks Smithsonian Latina staff from across the Institution to explore inspirational Latina women from U.S. history. This ten-part series runs through 2021. New episodes will launch each Wednesday in March, including:

  • Leslie Ureña of the National Portrait Gallery on Celia Cruz 
  • Emily Key of the Smithsonian Latino Center on Ellen Ochoa
  • Ashley Mayor of the National Museum of American History on Diosa Costello


From Our Blog

Group of people led by Dr. Marie Curie and President Harding walking down steps at the White House
One hundred years ago Marie Curie stood among the rose bushes, the press, and a crowd of White House guests, holding a golden key. The key opened a box that contained a gram of radium. Could it also unlock a cure to cancer? Women across America were led to believe as much, rising to the call sent out in their journals and newspapers to fund a gift worth more than $100,000.
Case showing changes in girls' uniforms in exhibition, Girlhood: It's complicated
Three years ago our museum convened a diverse group of scholars and educators to help a team brainstorm a new exhibition about women's history to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. After two days of presentations, discussions, and workshopping, we had a bold new idea—we were going to create an exhibition about girlhood.
See more blog posts