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Museums Rally to Honor Women’s History Month

Correction Appended

Even though we’re halfway through March, there’s still a lot to do in celebration of Women’s History Month. Washington offers a good variety, too, with events ranging from book readings to film screenings.

The national effort to honor women’s achievements is fairly young. The initial step was made by President Jimmy Carter, who in 1980 issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. That same year, Congress acted in tandem with Carter to issue a Congressional resolution designating National Women’s History Week 1981. Then-Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) were the co-sponsors of that resolution. Six years later, largely due to lobbying by the National Women’s History Project, the observance was extended to an entire month. Here’s a calendar of some of the upcoming events.

Through April 16

“Love Me, Quiéreme, Buy Me”: An exhibition by Carolina Mayorga, runs Mondays-Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Art Museum of the Americas. This installation of photographs and video art comments on women’s behavior in relation to popular culture and social norms. The exhibit is a part of the National Women’s History Project’s 2010 “Writing Women Back Into History” program. OAS Terrace Level Gallery, 1889 F St. NW. Free.


Motion pictures of women in WWII: Three short films highlight the role of women in World War II, “Glamour Girls of 1943,” “Women in Defense” and “Furlough” 11 a.m. in the Adams Room, National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free.

A book group discussion of “Our Mother’s War”: Immediately following the film presentations, the National Archive’s monthly book group discusses Emily Yellin’s “Our Mother’s War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II.” Adams Room, National Archives, noon. Free.


Barbara Marx Hubbard and the Rise of Space Advocacy in the 1970s: Part of the Smithsonian’s ongoing “Ask an Expert” series, this talk will be delivered by Roger Launius, chairman of the Division of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum. Meet in the Milestones of Flight gallery on the first floor, Gallery 100, Air and Space Museum, Independence Avenue and Sixth Street Southwest, noon. Free.


Artist talk with Sheila Hicks: Sheila Hicks discusses her use of fiber to present textile art. The lecture’s backdrop is “The Silk Rainforest,” Hicks’ newly restored work that was recently acquired by the Smithsonian. Renwick Gallery, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, noon. Free.

Journalist Hoda Kotb delivers the Library of Congress’ Women’s History Month keynote address. Broadcast journalist and television personality Kotb is the co-host of the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” along with Kathie Lee Gifford. 5 p.m., Montpelier Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free.


“Ayn Rand, a Philosopher Who Lived Objectively”: This Smithsonian seminar examines the life of 20th-century philosopher and best-selling novelist Ayn Rand. The development of objectivism, Rand’s political system of thought, is explored through discussions on her childhood, her experiences as a Broadway playwright, Hollywood screenwriter, political campaigner and lecturer. S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $85 for Smithsonian members, $77 for senior members and $120 general admission.

March 22

Environmental film festival: “Split Estate” is a 2009 film that examines the clash between land usage and property rights over energy extraction. The film’s director, Debra Anderson, will be on-hand for a discussion following the screening. 7-9 p.m. National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. Tickets are $5 for general admission, $4 for members, seniors and students. Reservations can be made at or at 202-783-7370.

March 23

Wellesley College Choir: This concert highlighting women through the ages varies from medieval chants to a piece by contemporary composer Carol Barnett called “Song of Perfect Propriety” with text by Dorothy Parker. National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2-3 p.m.

An evening with Cokie Roberts: Veteran journalist and author of “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters” and “Founding Mothers,” Roberts shares her personal thoughts and insights on her work. Roberts’ talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period, book signing and reception. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, 144 Constitution Ave. NE. Cost is $10 for nonmembers and free for museum members. Call 202-546-1210 for reservations.

Sort-of-Jane Austen reading series: The Innocent Mistress by Mary Pix. Written by 17th-century novelist and playwright Mary Pix, this play delves into the troubles of courtship and married life. 7-9 p.m. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Tickets are pay-what-you-can at the door or $10 in advance. Advance tickets can be purchased at or by calling 800-494-TIXS.

March 24

Women artists in the collection: A Smithsonian docent tours the works and life stories of female artists past and present. 12:30 p.m. at the F Street information desk, American Art Museum. Free.

March 25

Women inventors: As part of the “Meet our Museum” lecture series, education specialist Tricia Edwards discusses the expanding role of female innovators. Since the end of the 20th century, the number of patents awarded to women yearly has grown from less than 1 percent to 12 percent. 12:15 p.m. Flag Hall, National Museum of American History. Free.

Aviation film lecture with Col. Dawn Dunlop: Dunlop, vice commander at the Air Force Flight Test Center, narrates a video about operations and testing at Edwards Air Force Base and discusses the Department of Defense’s policy change admitting women into combat aviation roles. She was the first woman to pilot the F-22 Raptor. 8 p.m. Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater, first floor, East Wing, Air and Space Museum. Free, but ticket required. Visit or call 202-633-2398.

March 27

“Amelia”: This 2009 biopic looks at the life of aviation legend Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to fly around the world. Hilary Swank stars as Earhart and Richard Gere plays George Putnam, Earhart’s husband. Noon. William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives. Free.

March 29

“Words Between Two Reformers: Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt”: Part of the “After Five” performance series, this original theatrical work explores the friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune, a civil rights leader and member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet.” 7 p.m. McEvoy Auditorium (G Street entrance), National Portrait Gallery. Free, but seating is limited. For reservations, call 202-633-8520 or e-mail

March 30

“Women at War: The Women’s Army Corps During WWII.” The Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project takes a look at the role of women in World War II. Noon. Pickford Theater, third floor of James Madison Memorial Building. Free.
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Correction: March 15, 2010

The article misstated the venue for the Friday artist talk by Sheila Hicks. It will be at the American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

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