Special exhibit features women’s history, from suffrage to #MeToo

Take your picture in a women’s suffrage scene, record your own video about your experiences with women’s history and immerse yourself in historically important speeches by women at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums’ next special exhibit.

“Women of Spiegel Grove” opens Friday, July 12, and will remain on display through Sunday, March 29, 2020. Access to the exhibit is included with regular admission, and members are admitted for free.

The exhibit will feature stories of women who were connected to the Hayes family and Spiegel Grove, as well as national women’s history from suffrage to the #MeToo movement.

The exhibit also coincides with the 100th anniversary of Congress passing the 19th Amendment that extended the right to vote to women.

 “The history of women in America is an ongoing and evolving story,” said Kevin Moore, associate curator of artifacts. “It is not a subject that should be learned about passively. We are adding interactive components to Women of Spiegel Grove’ because we still interact with these concepts on a daily basis today.”

The exhibit will feature influential women in the Hayes Family, including Lucy Elliot Keeler, a prolific photographer and writer; Mary Miller Hayes, who served in the Red Cross and YMCA during World War I and founded what is today ProMedica Memorial Hospital in Fremont; and Winnie Monroe, a former slave from Kentucky who worked for President and Rutherford Lucy and later started her own businesses in Washington, D.C.

Their stories are put into the greater context of women’s history, from colonial women at the birth of the United States to the “new woman” of the late 1800s who worked and was educated to women’s suffrage.

 “It is one thing to learn about movements and trends throughout history, but something else entirely to see how these things affected real people,” Moore said. “Lucy Hayes’ life as a woman was significantly different from either her mother, Maria’s, experience of womanhood or from her daughter, Fanny’s.

“Yet, in a lot of ways, even women living today will identify with some of the issues all three women faced. This exhibit is about personalizing a subject that is still relevant in 2019.” 

The exhibit also ties in modern women’s history and issues, such as the gender wage gap, raising the “glass ceiling” and the #MeToo movement.

In addition to the exhibit, a “Women of Spiegel Grove” themed tour of the Hayes Home will be offered on certain days throughout the summer and fall. For the schedule of special activities, including this tour, visit rbhayes.org/visit-us/scheduled-museum-activities-and-themed-hayes-home-tours/.

The tour will show the Hayes Home through the context of the experiences of the women connected to Spiegel Grove and featured in the exhibit. It will also include some behind-the-scenes looks that are not on the standard Hayes Home tour.

“This tour will share the stories of the women in a way that brings them to life,” Moore said. 

The exhibit and tour are part of Hayes Presidential’s “Finding Her Voice” program, which will include events focusing on women’s history throughout the year.

“Finding Her Voice” is sponsored by title sponsors the Reed Fund of The Toledo Community Foundation and major sponsors The Randolph J. & Estelle M. Dorn Foundation and ProMedica Memorial Hospital. “Finding Her Voice” is made possible in part by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

The "Women of Spiegel Grove" exhibit is sponsored by The Andersons; Bemis Foundation; Christy Lease in Memory of Maude Lease Cosmopolitan Club & Coterie; City of Fremont; Sandusky County Republican Women; Soroptimist International of Fremont; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2947; Walmart-Fremont; Walmart – Port Clinton; Walmart-Tiffin.

The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is America’s first presidential library and the forerunner of the federal presidential library system. It is partially funded by the state of Ohio and affiliated with the Ohio History Connection. The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is located at Spiegel Grove at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues.

For information, call 419-332-2081, or visit rbhayes.org. Like HPLM on Facebook at fb.me/rbhayespres and follow on Twitter at @rbhayespres and Instagram at rbhayespres.