Los Angeles, CA (August 4, 2020) – The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) will celebrate the 19th Amendment’s centennial year with the exhibition Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women. Launching on August 18, 2020 with an online component and the video premiere of interviews for an Oral Stories ethnography project, NHM will present the full exhibition on site at NHM later this year. Rise Up L.A. honors 100 years of passion and progress through narratives about everyday women who shaped the suffrage movement and the political landscape through voting, community organizing, and by fighting for rights in the workplace, classroom, and community from the turn of the century through the current moment. Online programs inspired by the exhibition include a discussion series in partnership with Zócalo that kicks off on August 20 to ask, “How Have Women’s Protests Changed History?”
“We are excited to mark the occasion of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment through our Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women initiative,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. “Within the national context of women’s right to vote, Los Angeles has a particularly compelling story and many of our current civic leaders have played a critical role in fighting for equality for decades. It’s an honor to share the stories of Los Angeles women and their impact on the city and beyond. We look forward to engaging audiences online, through livestream events and to showcasing an exhibition onsite at NHM this fall.”
Through this online exhibition, viewers will learn about activists and their platforms through historical ephemera, including buttons from NHM’s collection; interactive activities like voting on measures from California’s 1920 fall ballot and comparing their answers to the 1920 results; exploring at-home activities from sign-making to a DIY Oral Story interview; and registering to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections. Also launching on August 18, NHM’s Rise Up L.A. Oral Stories Project online archive will share interviews with L.A. women 65 and older whose diverse backgrounds and interests offer multiple perspectives on suffrage, womanhood, equity and Los Angeles History. In addition, a range of public programs have been organized around the anniversary, including the three-part When Women Vote discussion series in a partnership between NHM and Zócalo Public Square.
The online component of Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women, will be live on August 18 at https://nhm.org/rise-la.
Support for the exhibition Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women has been generously provided by Megan McGowan Epstein and Alan Epstein, the Santa Monica/Westside Legacy Fund for Women and Girls, and The Seaver Institute. The Rise Up L.A. Oral Stories Project is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Rise Up L.A. is part of Los Angeles County’s Women + Girls 19th Amendment Centennial Celebration Initiative. To learn more about L.A. County’s 19th Amendment programs visit lacounty.gov.
Programs & Events
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 | 6:00 PM PDT
Rise Up L.A.: Voices from the Women’s Movement
Tune in for an engaging conversation between Jenny Bokoch Gillett of Natural History Museum’s Performing Arts Program, and three of the women interviewed for the Rise Up Los Angeles Oral Stories Project. Ms. Gillett has conducted more than 30 interviews, gathering women’s stories on how gender equity and activism has grown and changed in their lifetimes. Their discussion will be followed by a conversation between Bokoch Gillett and Rise Up L.A. exhibition developer Sarah Crawford about the importance of oral story collections and how exhibitions tell a story. Join us for this online event as we share and celebrate some of the voices that have risen out of the women’s movement. Access here.
Thursday, August 20, 2020 | 6:00 PM PDT
How Have Women’s Protests Changed History?
First of three events in the series: When Women Vote: A Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Event Series
There are few forces of nature more formidable than a group of women fed up with the status quo. From the French Revolution—which was sparked in part by a 7,000-woman march from Paris to Versailles—to Black Lives Matter—which was founded by three women—some of the most important protest movements in global history have been women-led. In addition to organizing many of summer 2020’s continuing marches, over the past century women have taken to the streets to rally for voting and equal rights, to condemn sexual and gun violence, and to stand against the current president. But protest has taken other forms too, including the #MeToo movement, anti-colonial movements from Ethiopia to Southeast Asia, women taking the wheel in Saudi Arabia to demand the right to drive, and boycotts and strikes like the Women’s Political Council Montgomery bus boycott that ignited the Southern civil rights movement. How have women risen up collectively to create change—and influenced broader movements in the process? What has made women particularly effective protesters, and what ideas have women come up with that have changed the art of protest? A panel of scholars and activists join Zócalo and NHM to discuss the power of women saying “no” throughout history.
● Francille Rusan Wilson, USC historian and author of The Segregated Scholars: Black Social Scientists and the Creation of Black Labor Studies, 1890-1950
● Rinku Sen, activist and director of Race Forward, Colorlines.com (moderator)
● Valentine Moghadam, sociologist and international affairs/gender studies scholar
Thursday, September 16, 2020 | 6:00 PM PDT
Why Don’t Women’s Votes Put More Women in Power?
Second of three events in the series: When Women Vote: A Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Event Series
In August 1920, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment, giving women the Constitutional right to vote. Since 1964, more women than men have voted in every presidential election. Yet we still don’t have a woman president or vice president; California, a leader in women’s suffrage, is one of 20 states that still hasn’t had a female governor, and Los Angeles has never had a female mayor. When given the opportunity, women often vote for women—but why aren’t we creating those opportunities more often? What would it take for women to achieve political power equal to that of men both locally and nationally? A panel of politicians and scholars visit Zócalo to discuss the impact a century of women voting has made on representation in America, California, and Los Angeles.
Thursday, December 3, 2020 | 6:00 PM PDT What Are Today’s L.A. Women Fighting For? (Draft)
Third of three events in the series: When Women Vote: A Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Event Series
Women have made Los Angeles one of the nation’s most progressive cities, fighting for the rights of children, laborers, immigrants, and other underrepresented groups—including their own—since they gained the right to vote over 100 years ago. The city, which has the lowest gender pay gap of any American metropolis, has been a leader in creating policies designed to create wealth for working- class women in particular, from passing legislation to create the country’s first public bank to raising the minimum wage. But women in Los Angeles still face a number of challenges, including health disparities, housing struggles, and human trafficking. What battles are the women of Los Angeles fighting today, and what are the plans to win them? A century after women won their largest unequivocal victory on the national stage—the right to vote—a panel of change-makers and scholars discuss what all the women of Los Angeles need to truly thrive.
About the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) include the Natural History Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, and the William S. Hart Museum. They operate under the collective vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The museums hold one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history—more than 35 million objects. Using these collections for groundbreaking scientific and historic research, the museums also incorporate them into on- and offsite nature and culture exploration in L.A. neighborhoods, and a slate of community science programs—creating indoor-outdoor visitor experience that explore the past, present, and future. Visit NHMLAC.ORG/connects –a digital portal through COVID-19 closure–for adventure, education, and entertainment opportunities.
About Zócalo Public Square
Zócalo Public Square connects people to ideas and to each other by examining essential questions in an accessible, broad-minded, and democratic spirit. Founded in Los Angeles in 2003, Zócalo Public Square is an ASU Knowledge Enterprise that syndicate journalism to 290 media outlets worldwide and have hosted more than 600 events in 33 cities in the U.S and beyond.