May 15, 2017
A substantial portion of the New-York Historical Society’s fourth floor has reopened as the Center for Women’s History, a cutting-edge museum and scholarship hub. This landmark initiative is the country’s first permanent, public exhibition and educational center dedicated to women’s history. It highlights the significance of women’s history to the study of America’s past and demonstrates how women across the spectrum of race, class, and culture exercised power and brought about change even before they could access the ballot box. Women and the American Story is the educators’ companion to the Center for Women’s History. The planned nine units of the curriculum include “Native Americans and Early Encounters, 1492–1660”; “Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1660–1790”; “Saving Washington: The New Republic and Early Reformers, 1790–1860”; “Country in Crisis, 1840–1900”; “American Expansion, 1804–1900”; “Industrialization, 1865–1890”; “Modernizing America, 1890–1929”; “Great Depression and WWII, 1929–1945”; and “Growth and Turmoil, 1945–present.” Unit 3, “Saving Washington: The New Republic and Early Reformers, 1790–1860,” is the first unit to appear on the site. Each unit will include an introductory essay; primary images, documents, and artifacts from the New-York Historical Society’s collections, as well as from other repositories; descriptive text to provide historical context; and biographical portraits of individuals whose lives cast special light on the topic at hand. All of the materials are written for students. Teachers’ materials include background essays and Classroom Notes with suggested activities and discussion questions. The center will launch two new units approximately every six months until Women and the American Story is complete. The curriculum will continue to evolve thereafter to incorporate the latest research generated by the Center for Women’s History and exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society.