Seneca Falls, NY– Women’s Rights National Historical Park and The Friends of Women’s Rights National Historical Park are pleased to announce the opening of Radical Optimism: The Enduring Power of the Women Who Won the Vote at the Fall Street Visitor Center. The exhibit on the second floor of the museum was commissioned by the Friends as part of the commemoration of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920.
Radical Optimism features an overview of generations of women who dedicated themselves to the struggle for women’s voting rights. Spanning more than 80 years—from the first female public speakers to the vote that changed the future for American women—the exhibit brings viewers through the challenges and obstacles facing the suffragists, even those from within their own movement, and explores how they remained motivated, hopeful, and steadfast through years of frustration, conflict, and division.
“We are excited to tell this complex, yet hopeful story about the women who fought for their voting rights.” says Superintendent Ahna Wilson. “It is especially inspiring to see how they organized for a common goal and persisted in their struggle for equality, despite all the conflict and setbacks.”
“Everyday women from all walks of life made sacrifices and endured countless setbacks in their fight for suffrage,” says Friends’ President Emily McCarter, “but they also found camaraderie and purpose in their work. They were empowered by a radically optimistic worldview—one in which change felt possible.”
In recognition of the State of New York and Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for safe conduct during the COVID-19 pandemic, Women’s Rights is also highlighting the exhibit through an online display and virtual walk-through on the 19th Amendment page on the park website and the park’s social media channels.
This exhibit was funded, in large part, by the Preserve the History of Women’s Rights in America Fund, established in 2015 by the Friends of Women’s Rights National Historical Park. The fund was created to protect and preserve park resources and support exhibits dedicated to the legacy of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, and to the ongoing Women’s Rights Movement in America.
The Fall Street Visitor Center in Seneca Falls is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM to 4PM.