Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative

American Women’s History Initiative

Women’s stories are the stories of our civilization.

Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, aboard the Earth-orbiting Endeavour. PHOTO: NASA

Women have influenced eras, changed nations and shaped history. Yet countless of their stories are not well known, their contributions not fully integrated into our national narrative.

The Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative will amplify women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present and inspire the future. As the preeminent institution about the American experience, the Smithsonian will tell the critical stories of women to millions of people in Washington, D.C., and around the world, elevating their pivotal roles in building and sustaining our country.

We seek donors who share our vision for women’s history to help launch this initiative. Your support will allow the Smithsonian to hire the best educators and curators to be positioned in museums throughout the Smithsonian. These experts will investigate our vast collection to uncover and illuminate women’s stories—and then plan programs, exhibitions and publications to inspire the next generation and reach a global audience.

Her Story Is Our Story


  • Recruit at least six new curators for five-year terms to work in museums across the Smithsonian and provide start-up funds for their research, exhibitions and programs.
  • Survey the Smithsonian’s collections for objects relevant to women’s history and establish an acquisitions fund to build the collection.
  • Hire an education specialist for a five-year term and allocate start-up funds to develop programs and educational materials.
  • Produce an annual symposium and other public programs, such as lectures, film series and curator talks.
  • Mentor ten paid interns each year.

OUR GOALS FOR THE INITIATIVE are ambitious. We aspire to grow far beyond the foundation of activities described above. With additional gifts, we will:

  • Recruit a senior curator for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and provide funds to help develop a landmark exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020.
  • Create print and digital resources such as books, documentaries, podcasts and a website for a large and diverse audience.
  • Develop Washington, D.C.-based and traveling exhibitions, including a traveling exhibition of posters to reach hundreds of communities across the country.
  • Launch a venture fund, to seed new projects and provide competitive grants for emerging topics in women’s history across the Smithsonian.
To discuss gift, recognition and endowment opportunities, contact
Angela Crowly
Office of Advancement
Smithsonian | 202.633.6104

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