These fraternal collars caught the eye of our curator of philanthropy, Amanda Moniz. When Moniz began researching them, she discovered Lizzie Bowser, a seamstress, made this collar for the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, the largest black fraternal organization in the 1800s. A seamstress, Bowser made her livelihood making collars and more for members of voluntary organizations like fraternal groups. Along with the her husband, an artist, Lizzie Bowser used her talent as a seamstress and her position in society to fundraise and advocate for the rights and needs of other African Americans. #PAHistory#PennsylvaniaHistory#PhiladelphiaHistory#BlackHistory#AmericanHistory#TextileHistory#WomensHistory#WomensHistoryMonth#philanthropy
Hamilton fans, you were willing to wait for it, now it is here. How lucky you are to be alive right now!
The suit Lin-Manuel Miranda wore in “Hamilton: An American Musical” is now on display in our “Giving in America” exhibit, along with Sting’s guitar, Misty Copeland’s ballet shoes, Kermit, and more! Together, these artifacts explore how Americans both support the arts and use the arts to support causes they care about. Don’t throw away your shot to see these incredible objects—many of them will rotate off view in July 2018.
This well-worn typewriter belonged to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A San Francisco poet, artist, and publisher, Ferlinghetti was an influential figure of the 1950s Beat Generation and the social revolution of the 1960s.
In 1956 Ferlinghetti was arrested and tried on obscenity charges for publishing and selling Allen Ginsberg’s poem "Howl." This landmark case established a key legal precedent for the publication of controversial literary pieces. His victory expanded the right to free speech and opened the way for an explosion of new works that tested the boundaries of literary expression. #WorldPoetryDay#FirstAmendment#FreeSpeech#SanFranciscoHistory#ConstitutionalHistory#AmericanHistory#AmericanDemocracy#NationWeBuildTogether
It’s going to be chilly today, don’t forget your jacket!
This jacket belonged to Louise Rogers in the 1970s. Rogers’ jacket represented her role as a “Sweetheart,” or social ambassador, for her chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Future Farmers of America is a national school-based organization for students in grades 7 through 12. Founded in 1928, for decades women were not allowed to be members of the organization or wear the group’s signature blue members jacket. While many young women participated in FFA activities, not quite equal, they wore white corduroy jackets, instead of the blue ones worn by members.
In 1969, FFA began admitting women as full-fledged members. When Louise Rogers was sporting her white jacket in the 1970s, she also had the option of the blue members jacket that many of her friends—both young men and young women—wore, as the picture of Rogers with her best friend, Shellie Wallace, shows. #NationalAgDay#AgDay#FFA#AgricultureHistory#WomensHistory#WomensHistoryMonth#RuralHistory#AmericanHistory#Clothing#CostumeHistory#FutureFarmersofAmerica
This performance costume was worn by Bernice Johnson Reagon—activist, scholar, and founding member of the all-woman, African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Costumes like these are an essential part of the group’s musical performances . This costume is part of a set designed by Chicago artist Dana Easter in collaboration with the group. Though this particular piece’s dominant colors are purple and pale green, a closer look shows that its has been brushed, spattered, and streaked with turquoise, gold, and yellow. A final flourish: black block print motifs, including fertility figures and abstract netting patterns, decorate the piece.
This is just one of a set of costumes donated to the museum on the occasion of the group’s 30th anniversary. Swipe right to see the group and their costumes onstage. #WomensHistoryMonth#WomensHistory#AfricanAmericanHistory#MusicHistory#Acapella#CostumeHistory#AmericanHistory#ManyVoices
Prints made by artist Helen West Heller carry strong messages about people and their labors.
An activist during the volatile period of the 1930s, Heller attended the first American Artists’ Congress, Artists Against War and Fascism, in 1936. The group selected this woodcut, “Reforestation,” as one of 100 prints featured in its publication, "America Today,” and circulated it nationwide in a series of exhibitions characterized by socially conscious images that reflected the world outside the artist’s studio.
Over her career, Heller worked in mosaics, oils, and murals, but she is best known for her woodcuts, which feature elaborate textures and patterns. Her artistic credo, as outlined in a letter to Smithsonian curator Jacob Kainen in 1949, focused on composition. “Composition is a science: in its lower levels it is a branch of mathematics, in its exalted uses it is a branch of psychology. Next in importance is powerful line, simple enough to be penetrating, not so simple as to become static.” Follow the link in our bio to learn more about Heller—and see more of her woodcuts—on our blog. #ArtHistory#GreatDepression#NewDeal#Printmaking#Woodcuts#WomensHistory#WomensHistoryMonth#AmericanHistory
What do you do on a Saturday evening? In the 1890s and early 1900s, a group of young, mostly immigrant women spent their evening at the North Bennet Street Industrial School library in Boston, to put on plays, discuss literature, and make pottery. The group, nicknamed the “Saturday Evening Girls,” was supported by some of Boston’s wealthiest philanthropists.
In the early 1900s, the leaders of the Saturday Evening Girls opened a pottery studio, Paul Revere Pottery, for the young women to make their own money. The young women worked making pottery like this vase in a well-ventilated, clean, and safe environment, very different from the dangerous conditions at many of the other jobs available to young immigrant women at the time. Learn more about the Saturday Evening Girls by clicking the link in our bio. #Pottery#Ceramics#BostonHistory#WomensHistory#WomensHistoryMonth#ImmigrationHistory#Philanthropy#BusinessHistory#LaborHistory#AmericanHistory
Dress designer Ann Lowe was known as “society’s best-kept secret.” From the Rockefellers, to the Roosevelts, to future First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress; Ann Lowe was the go-to designer for high society. "I love my clothes and I'm particular about who wears them," Lowe told Ebony magazine, "I do not cater to Mary and Sue. I sew for the families of the Social Register." Lowe made this dress for Polly Duxbury to wear at her 1967 debutante ball.
From a respected designer to bankruptcy and back, discover Lowe’s story through the link in our bio. #TextileTuesday#WomensHistory#CostumeHistory#VintageClothing#1960s#WomensHistoryMonth#BlackHistory#AmericanHistory
This jersey and soccer ball tell the story of an unlikely team. These objects were donated to the museum by Luma Mufleh, coach and founder of the Fugees soccer team.
In 2004 Mufleh, a naturalized citizen from Jordan, started a soccer team and academy for refugee youth in the Atlanta suburb of Clarkston, Georgia. Through the team and academy, young people from twenty-three countries—including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burundi, Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan—were able to form social connections, practice speaking English, and develop leadership skills. The team that they formed embraced the name The Fugees—short for “Refugees.” [ courtesy Luma Mufleh]
In the 1890s, bicycles offered many women mobility and independence. Bicycles were not invented in the 1890s, but a new model of bike, the “safety bicycle,” had two equal sized wheels and therefore was safer to ride in a skirt. Skirt-wearers rejoiced. Susan B. Anthony called the bicycle a "freedom machine." ♀️ Not everyone’s “freedom machine” looked like this though. Tiffany and Co. introduced this bike in the 1895 holiday season, at the height of the bicycle craze. This particular one once belonged to Mary Noble “Mittie” Wiley of Montgomery, Alabama. To learn more about this bicycle, check out the link in the bio.