Celebrating Women's History in Connecticut Last Updated 3/20

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which legalized women’s right to vote – what an exciting time to celebrate Women’s History Month in March. Connecticut is rich with stories of female trailblazers who influenced American history. Explore the state that spawned the first boarding school for women of color, the home of one of the nation’s first female architects, and more! The Connecticut Women's Heritage Trail is filled with ways to celebrate strong women from our state. Here are some historic landmarks on the trail and events to honor Women’s History in Connecticut.

Suffragette Presentations and Events

To celebrate Women's History Month, check out these inspiring events happening March of 2020.

  • Get a visual of Connecticut’s women’s history at the “Rise Up, Sisters!” Exhibit running from March 2 to 13 in East Hartford. This display will showcase the diverse group of Connecticut women who were crucial to the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Become inspired by the stories of Connecticut women who fought for women’s suffrage at the “Votes for Women” Talk on March 3 in Essex. This lecture will explore the efforts of women at a local, state, and national level which supported women’s rights to vote.
  • Celebrate the trailblazing efforts of Connecticut women by visiting “An Unfinished Revolution: Women’s Suffrage Centennial” which will run until September 6 in Greenwich. This exhibition showcases the role Greenwich women played in receiving the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment. It features a variety of historic objects from museums, libraries, private collections and descendants of suffragists.
  • See the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame present on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The event, Live Learn Lunch "Votes for Women," will take place on March 16 in Litchfield and will be followed by lunch and a Q&A. Learn about women who fought for women's suffrage and whose efforts continue to give a voice to women today.
  • Explore a "taboo" subject throughout history at Suffragettes in Corselettes: Underwear and the 19th Amendment on March 4 in West Hartford. Learn about women's underwear and how it changed throughout history to parellel the evolving role of women in society. 
  • Explore the exhibit “Unlacing the Corset, Unleashing the Vote” which runs through September at the Windham Textile & History Museum in Willimantic. The exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Events to Honor Strong Women

  • Join author Gretchen Caulfield, President of the American Rosie the Riveter Association for an inspirational presentation about working women during World War II and their impacts on the war effort. The event will take place on March 7 in Oxford and will be followed by a book signing.
  • Honor Women’s History by getting active at this Historical Yoga Hike on March 21 in Derby, which combines exercise with learning about influential women.
  • Celebrate the strong women who continue to soar in aerospace and engineering careers at Women Take Flight on March 7 in Windsor Locks. You’ll have the chance to participate in hands-on STEM activities, use flight simulators, and climb aboard historic aircrafts including a Lockheed 10-A Electra – the same model aircraft that Amelia Earhart flew during her attempted around the world flight in 1937.  
  • Explore the role of women in the U.S. Armed Forces at the Film and Panel Discussion – The Hello Girls on March 5 in Wilton. Watch the documentary, The Hello Girls and hear from a panel of Ret. Captain Doris Lippman, EdD, US Army, Vietnam Veteran, Dr. Amy Pettigrew, granddaughter of “Hello Girl” Ellen Turner, and Dr. Darla Shaw, Professor Emeritus, Western Connecticut State University.
  • Discuss the role of women in art history at ARTalk – Women’s Work: A History of Art with Dr. Molleen Theodore on March 8 in Ridgefield. Enjoy a lecture on both modern and contemporary art created by women.
  • To honor the progress made in women's rights since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, enjoy an afternoon of food, drink, live jazz, an auction and more, all in celebration of five of our state’s African American female executive branch members. The event, Celebrating Women of Action will take place on March 8 in Hartford.

Connecticut’s Tributes to Women’s History

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford

Explore the home of famous abolitionist and author, Harriet Beecher Stowe at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. The museum features Stowe's life story and her literary works, and it colorfully illuminates her 19th-century world in Hartford. The Stowe Center is part of the Nook Farm complex, home to Stowe and her influential family, including many strong, successful women. The Center is home to regular programs that connect issues of the past to modern day problems of gender equality.

 

Florence Griswold Museum

Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

Admire art at the former home of influential Connecticut woman “Miss Florence” Griswold. Florence Griswold helped cultivate American Impressionism by hosting painters in her home, turning Old Lyme into a thriving artists' colony in the late 19th century. Today, the Florence Griswold Museum, is filled with American Impressionist Art and preserves Griswold's legacy as a patron of the arts.

 

Hill-Stead Museum

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington

Did you know that one of the first female architects in the nation lived and designed right in the heart of Connecticut? The Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington is located in a house designed for her parents by architect Theodate Pope Riddle. On a tour of Europe, Riddle and her parents picked up the impressive collection of Impressionist art that is now displayed throughout the museum. The Hill-Stead also boasts a restored sunken garden, walking trails, and a stunning 152-acre landscape.

 

Bush-Holley House

Greenwich Historical Society, Cos Cob

Visit the house of two influential women, Josephine Holley and her daughter Constant, who ran a boarding house for writers and Impressionist artists and fostered an artist colony in the village of Cos Cob. However, Holley was not the first remarkable woman to occupy the home. During the Revolutionary War, while her husband was imprisoned, Sarah Bush defended her house and family against attack. Both women's stories are interpreted at the Bush-Holley House.

 

Prudence Crandall Museum

Prudence Crandall Museum, Canterbury

Did you know that the nation’s first boarding school for young African American women was right in Connecticut? The Prudence Crandall Museum's efforts for equal education helped affirm attitudes against slavery and ultimately won the founder, Prudence Crandall a spot in the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995. While the museum is currently under renovation and has not yet reopened, you may soon be able to attend one of the talks which will be offered throughout the state while the museum is closed. Organizations and institutions interested in hosting a talk can contact the museum at crandall.museum@ct.gov. The remodeling process will allow for new exhibits and the opportunity to bring forward the voices and stories of the students who attended the academy, offering a fuller picture of the tumultuous seventeen months that the school was open for African American young women.

 

Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Old Saybrook

See a show at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and honor the legacy of famous actress and daughter of suffragist, Katharine Hepburn. The center, nicknamed “The Kate” presents a full repertoire of cultural and performing arts programming for all ages and provides a lasting legacy for America’s iconic actress.

 

Danbury Museum

Danbury Museum , Danbury

Honor Marian Anderson, an African American woman who triumphed over racial discrimination and became a famous opera singer of the 20th century. At the Danbury Museum, you can visit her studio and learn about her life.

 

Connecticut Audubon Society

Honor the work of Mabel Osgood Wright by attending a program by the Audubon Society. Wright dedicated her life to preservation and natural beauty, ultimately founding the Connecticut Audubon Society and earning her spot in the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame.

 

Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail

Connecticut Women's Heritage Trail, Statewide

Visit more on the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail and see how many stops you can visit during Women's History Month in March!