The Sixteenth Berkshire Conference was held in Toronto, Canada May 22-25. A panel, Making the Case for a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall, included seven participants with varying museum and exhibit expertise. NWHM President Joan Wages was pleased to be on the panel with such distinguished members as the Chair, Jean Pfaelzer, Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, Kathleen Franz, Ph.D. American University, Karen Offen, Ph.D. Stanford University and the International Museum of Women, Gail Reimer, Ph.D. Jewish Women’s Archive, Faith Davis Ruffins, National Museum of American History, and Jennifer Brier, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ms. Wages described the challenges of building a national museum on federal land that is on or near the National Mall and other panelists offered their experiences. NWHM gathered many suggestions from participants and attendees. While some will be contemplated after the Museum secures a building site, there were ideas that can be implemented in the short term.
NWHM has the greatest respect for the 40-50 years the “mothers of women’s history” have been working to enhance and expand the body of knowledge on women’s history. NWHM looks to serve as the bridge for that information to be disseminated to the general public. Just as the field of women’s history has evolved and changed over the years, NWHM looks forward to developing new and better ways to communicate the wealth of information on women’s history to enlighten and inspire future generations.
The Berkshire Conference is held every three years and draws the most forward thinking historians in the field.
On May 20, 2014 NWHM Program Director Liz Maurer chaired a panel at the American Alliance of Museums 108th annual meeting, in Seattle, Washington. Co-presenters included Steve Shwartzman from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; Max van Balgooy, president of Engaging Places and former director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Laurie Baty, deputy director of the National Capital Radio & Television Museum. The panel addressed the technical aspects of creating and implementing a strategic plan as well as government funding trends for museum projects.