National Archives’ Rightfully Hers Exhibit Visits Trinity

Olivia Papp ’23

Features Editor

The Rightfully Hers exhibit has recently been presented by the Watkinson Library. Months of planning has gone into attaining this exhibit from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Any member of the Trinity community interested in seeing this pop-up exhibit can do so by signing up for library appointments until the COVID-19 alert level is lowered from orange. 

This pop-up exhibit includes a detailed account of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. This year celebrates the centennial of this ratification. As such, the creators of this exhibit, which include both the National Archives and the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, planned to commemorate this achievement by giving academic institutions the exhibit. Contingent upon a lengthy application process, Trinity College was amongst 2,500 schools to be awarded this exhibit. 

Director of Special Collections & Archives in the Watkinson Library Christina Bleyer recounted the process of attaining the exhibit, and described the process involved in contacting the National Archives over the summer to be considered. “We happened to be one of the institutions selected. There are great photos and great information in this exhibit,” said Bleyer.

This exhibit is an excellent way for the Watkinson Library to further educate students and faculty about this election-altering moment in history, and according to Bleyer, “it gave women fuller citizenship, which provided a more expansive democracy for our nation. This exhibit has simple messages about the expansion of the vote.” 

Bleyer continued to describe the challanges posed by holding the exhibition in the midst of the pandemic, stating that it is “not a document, but rather a cardboard exhibit with descriptions. We originally had planned on doing a larger exhibit throughout the library which highlighted Connecticut suffragettes. However, COVID-19 put a stop to that,” Breyer explained.

“The pop-up is still great. I’m glad we’re still able to celebrate a little bit of the hundredth anniversary.” 

“We were one of the institutions that were chosen to receive this special, historic exhibit.” As Breyer explained, anyone feeling uncomfortable about seeing this exhibit in person, can access online exhibits, records, and primary source sites that include information about the nineteenth amendment.

As long as members of the community are doing their part to follow CDC guidelines by wearing a mask and remaining socially distant, it is possible to see this exhibit which illustrates such a crucial turning point in American history. 

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