Wage Earning Women of the Industrial Age: Representation in Northeastern American Historical Museums
Allen, Rita Lynn
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This thesis provides an assessment of the representation of wage-earning women of the American Industrial Age (1800-1915) at twelve museum exhibitions and presents data that illuminates the contemporary portrayal of women's history. The interpretation and presentation of women's history, has been overlooked or simplified in many historical museums. Consequently, the complexities of women's stories have not been entirely told. Historical museums are increasingly working towards the inclusivity of women's history within their institutions, but lack adequate examples of female representation. For this assessment, data was collected from eleven exhibits at nine museums in the greater northeastern region of the United States. Data collection for this assessment occurred at museums in the following locales: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio. For each of the exhibits within this assessment, an exhibit site survey was completed to document representations of wage earning women of the Industrial Age. The findings show a lack of representation of women within historical museum exhibits. There is a continued need for projects of this nature that will address the underrepresentation of women's histories in American museums. By drawing attention to this issue, museums may be better equipped to increase inclusivity in future exhibitions.
- Museology