Exhibition showcases events leading up to Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
JONESBOROUGH, TN, AUGUST 24, 2020 – The Heritage Alliance presents To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote, a new traveling exhibition, on display now. The exhibition, created in partnership with the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, explores the history of the woman’s suffrage movement, Tennessee’s dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, and the years that followed. The exhibit is currently on display in the Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum located inside the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center.
“We are very excited and honored to host this traveling exhibit in Tennessee’s Oldest Town,” says Heritage Alliance Executive Director Anne Mason. “We have been researching the role of local suffragettes, and we’ll be creating a Washington County companion exhibit that will only add to this wonderful exhibit from the State Museum and Archives.”
The exhibition is constructed of multiple dynamic panels, offering guests a touch-free experience of archival images, engaging stories and introductions to the leaders of the fight for and against the cause of woman’s suffrage. The stories begin by detailing the early challenges of racial and gender discrimination and continuing to the organization of African American and white women’s associations to encourage political engagement.
Visitors will also learn about Febb Burn of McMinn County, whose letter to her son, Harry T. Burn, resulted in a last-minute vote that helped change women’s history in the United States forever.
The exhibit includes a Tennessee map, highlighting suffragist activities across the state, including in Washington County.
“Tennessee’s role in becoming the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment not only solidified women’s right to vote but propelled women across the country to opportunities and futures they never thought possible,” said Chuck Sherrill, State Librarian and Archivist with the Tennessee State Library & Archives. “The hope of the committee is this centennial celebration will do the same all across our state.”
In coordination with this traveling exhibit, the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville will soon open Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote, an extensive 8,000 square foot exhibition exploring the Women’s Suffrage movement in Tennessee through archival images and documents, artifacts, films, interactive elements, and programming.
An online component of the exhibition, Ratified! Statewide! highlighting the suffrage movement in every Tennessee county is available now at tnmuseum.org.
“As we commemorate the historic vote that took place at Tennessee’s State Capitol in August of 1920, we want to honor those individuals who played key roles in the journey to gain voting rights for women,” said Ashley Howell, Executive Director of the Tennessee State Museum. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share these stories across the state.”
To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote is organized by the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives with funding provided by The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial. The project is also funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
About Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum
The Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum is located inside the Historic Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 117 Boone Street. They can be contacted directly by calling 423-753-1010. The museum and its archival collections are managed by the Heritage Alliance. The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences.
About Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum, on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions titled Natural History, First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Change and Challenge and Tennessee Transforms, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events, and educational programming – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements. Additional temporary exhibitions explore Tennessee history including the current exhibition, Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote. For more information on exhibitions, events and digital programming, please visit tnmuseum.org.
About Tennessee State Library and Archives
The Tennessee State Library and Archives is located next to the State Capitol building in Nashville. Established in 1854, it houses a vast collection of books, documents, maps and photographs about the State of Tennessee. These materials are open to the public for research use, and staff are on hand to assist researchers. Suffrage-related collections include legislative records, oral histories, historical newspapers and manuscript collections. For more information about the collections of the Library & Archives and how to access them, please visit www.sos.tn.gov/tsla
The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial
The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial was created by the appointment of the TN House Speaker and Lt. Governor and began work in February 2019. Governor Bill Lee declared August 2019 to August 2020 as the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Year. Under leadership from the Tennessee General Assembly, the Committee members include the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Tennessee Historical Commission, the State Historian, and the Tennessee Historical Society. Learn more at TNWoman100.com.