Study centre to celebrate the women of New York

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The New-York Historical Society plans to opens a space dedicated to women’s achievements next year

Suffragettes leaving City Hall, New York, 1908. Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress

The New-York Historical Society is due to open a centre for the study of women’s history in December 2016. The institution will present exhibitions and films about the lives and contributions of influential New York women, from the author Zora Neale Hurston to the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The historical society has raised two-thirds of its $30m goal for the project.

The centre, which is to occupy the fourth floor of the society’s Upper West Side facility, will debut with a permanent exhibition, “New York Women in a New Light”, which recounts the securing of national women’s suffrage. Another highlight of the inaugural presentation is a new, all-glass Tiffany Gallery, designed by the architect Eva Jiřičná. The gallery will showcase research by historians and curators from the New-York Historical Society, begun in 2005, which reveals that Clara Driscoll and her team of women designers were responsible for many of the most iconic Tiffany lamps.

“The new Center for Women’s History will become a destination for discovery of the crucial role that New York women played in our nation’s social, political and cultural evolution as women struggled for and eventually won the right to vote,” says Louise Mirrer, the president of the New York-Historical Society, in a statement. “We will highlight the women who changed the course of our history, giving voice, in many cases, to the voiceless, who ushered in the Progressive era and emerged triumphant in the struggle for women’s suffrage.”

This has been an eventful year for women’s history. In May, the US House of Representatives passed legislation to form a commission dedicated to establishing a National Women’s History Museum on or near the National Mall in Washington, DC. The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate.

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