Monday, March 8, 2010

I Am Woman Hear Me Roar – Women’s History Month Resources

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I thought I would point out some great sites where you can learn a little about the contribution of women to American history.
            The National Women’s History Project is an educational non-profit organization devoted to promoting the contributions and achievements of women to society. They have all kinds of educational resources on their site, which can be accessed here
 The Library of Congress has a slue of resources available for Women’s History Month. Visitors can view portraits of influential women from the twentieth century at the National Portrait Gallery, or listen to music by female musicians who broke musical barriers at the Smithsonian
There are also a host of resources available to teachers to help integrate the historical contribution of America’s women into classrooms. Check those out here
One cool example of a resource available for teachers and history lovers alike are census records. Here is a description of a now famous resident of the Dakota territory in 1880.  This page shows the census records of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the popular Little House on the Prairie series (and inspiration for a deliciously cheesetastic 1970s TV show). In this census record, she is listed along with her parents and sisters as a member of the Ingalls household. Under “occupation” the census record has listed her main job as “help in keeping house,” just like her mother and sisters.   This trait certainly speaks to the time, but also allows us to have a conversation with the past. How are our lives different today?  Laura was 13 when this census was taken. Think of the innumerable ways in which our expectations for today’s 13-year old girls are radically different than in 1880.
2010 is a census year, so you may soon be answering questions about the occupants of your household to help make sure that each state gets a correct allotment of representatives in the House of Representatives. It may seem like prying to have someone knock on your door and ask you personal questions, but just think, it may help a future historian tell your story someday.

[Image via Indiana]

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