History Colorado’s Center for Colorado Women’s History Announces New Women/Work/Justice Exhibit to Expand Understanding of Justice and Activism
Opens on March 30, Commemorating Museum’s Anniversary
DENVER, March 13, 2019 – Well-timed with National Women’s History Month and the one-year anniversary of the first-ever Center for Colorado Women’s History, local museum officials announce the opening of an important exhibit that analyzes the intersection of human, civil and economic rights for women. The Women/Work/Justice exhibition opens on March 30, at the Center for Colorado Women’s History, exploring complex and timeless issues through the stories of Colorado-based women groups and movements that pioneered local and national workplace shifts, between 1914 and the 1980s.
The Center for Colorado Women’s History is a museum of History Colorado, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and an agency of the State of Colorado. History Colorado strives to be a place of belonging for all Coloradans and to serve as a platform for community connection and diversity.
“History teaches us that justice and rights are never granted by the power structure. Instead, they are earned, expanded and fought for by the people,” said Jillian Allison, director of the Center for Colorado Women’s History. “In our new exhibit Women/Work/Justice, we will profile groups of Colorado women who changed the world collectively through grassroots movements. Their causes intersect with an ongoing fight for justice – groundbreaking in the 1900s and just as influential today.”
The exhibit features themes that connect the past with contemporary issues, including the following: women activism and advocacy; personal safety in the workplace; activism against sexual harassment; equal job access; equal pay and treatment; and women/union organizing. The exhibit content is not just highlighting women’s roles in certain social movements; rather, it is spotlighting movements in which women actually drove the change. The exhibit is well-timed to share stories that generate new knowledge and perspectives for today’s workplace, as well.
Women/Work/Justice was created with input from local women scholars and community leaders who participated in meetings throughout the one-year planning period, to develop content that was inspiring and inclusive. According to Allison, “We wanted the stories to bridge issues that were relevant in today’s workplace, as well. And who better to guide that content than a committee of Colorado women leaders who were once excluded themselves – and who continue their grassroots efforts.”
The exhibit overlaps with the onset of the centennial commemoration of the women’s vote across the country. In fact, History Colorado is the agency supporting the newly-formed Women’s Vote Centennial Commission (WVCC), which was established by former Governor John Hickenlooper in his final executive order, and is being chaired by History Colorado Chairperson Cathey McClain Finlon, to commemorate 100 years since women were granted the right to vote.
“Through our involvement with the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission, we will be working statewide to connect Colorado residents with our unique history in voting rights and democracy,” said Steve Turner, History Colorado Executive Director & Colorado State Historic Preservation Officer. “With this month’s opening of Women/Work/Justice, we can talk about the activism and movements that have taken place outside the voting booth. We learn so much from different viewpoints and experiences about work and justice, and this exhibit will set the stage for other work that History Colorado will be doing this year – advancing important conversations.”
About Women/Work/Justice Exhibit
In its entry gallery, Women/Work/Justice will feature the grassroots efforts, stories and photos of groups of women and movements that created fundamental change in U.S. history, including:
Mary Petrucci and the Ludlow Massacre and Coalfield Strike, which focused on workplace freedoms and safety (1914)
Jane Street, who organized domestic workers and negotiated higher wages for them through the Housemaids Union (1917)
Laundry Girl Law, which focused on workplace safety and industrial hours (1912)
Marie Greenwood, the first African American teacher in Denver Public Schools, who opened opportunities for others (1935)
Lupe Briseno and the Floral Workers Strike, who inspired similar advocacy for agricultural workers and the Colorado Chicano Movement (1968-69)
Janet Bonnema and the Eisenhower Tunnel, a civil engineer who successfully fought against gender discrimination to be able to work on the Eisenhower Tunnel (1972)
Bell System Telecommunications Workers, who organized to create management opportunities for women telecom workers (1970-80s)
The Women/Work/Justice exhibit will be located in the gallery entrance of the Center for Colorado Women’s History and will be free for the public. Beyond the gallery exhibit, tours of the Byers-Evans House Museum do require an admission ticket: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, students and teachers; and $4 for children 12 and under. The Women/Work/Justice exhibit will remain at History Colorado’sCenter for Colorado Women’s History through March 2020. The Center for Colorado Women’s History is located inside the historic Byers-Evans House Museum at 1310 Bannock St., Denver. For more information, visit the Center’s website and Facebook page.
About the Center for Colorado Women’s History
The Center for Colorado Women’s History opened on March 21, 2018, as the first state museum focused on the past, present and future achievements of Colorado women, including scholarships, research, public programs, narrative, lectures and exhibits that expand the understanding and collective memory of the history of women in Colorado. The museum is an innovative space for adventurous dialogue and challenging questions that generate new knowledge and perspective of women’s role in history – within Colorado and beyond; reflect the diverse audiences of Colorado; share and collect stories that represent the lives and work of all women in Colorado’s past and present; amplify stories of the women who work within communities; and connect local stories to the broader stories of women’s history worldwide. The Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House is a museum of History Colorado.
To encourage new opportunities, the Center for Colorado Women’s History is now accepting applications for its Fall Fellowship, with a deadline of March 31. Scholars, activists and artists who want to help inform the understanding of women in Colorado’s history – specifically through women’s studies, gender studies, and/or race and ethnic studies – should apply here. Three fellows will each receive a stipend of $5,000.
About History Colorado
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The charitable organization and historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. With eight museums around the state, History Colorado shares the cultures and stories that define Colorado’s past and present, including: History Colorado Center, its flagship museum (Denver); Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver); El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo); Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad); Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center (Fort Garland); Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville); Ute Indian Museum (Montrose); and Fort Vasquez (Platteville). Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.
For photos of Women/Work/Justice exhibition and the Center for Colorado Women’s History, please click here.