Since March is Women’s History Month, Philadelphia is celebrating past and present notable ladies in addition to the usual, year-round honoring of the female sex. Many museums, like the National Museum of American Jewish History, are offering specially designed Women’s History tours. With lectures, tours, special programming and even a toast, establishments in the city are highlighting women of past and present with extra pizzazz to complement historical staples like the Betsy Ross House. The best of both can be found in this list of top spots in Philly for Women’s History Month.
Classy Broads and Daring Dames: The Ladies of North Laurel Hill
Laurel Hill Cemetery
3822 Ridge Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Event Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Toast (literally) to women’s history this month at the “Classy Broads and Daring Dames” tour and reception. For Women’s History Month, the Laurel Hill Cemetery will take visitors on an unforgettable tour of the grounds and the stories of notable women who lie within it. The program will cover tales of the most accomplished “broads” and “dames,” as well as other famous women of science and other disciplines who made and continue to make every day life what it is now. A National Historic Landmark with 78 acres of history to explore, the Laurel Hill Cemetery is known as Philadelphia’s Underground Museum, so don’t miss out on what promises to be an interesting tour led by Friends of Laurel Hill board president Carol Yaster.
The Knitting Revolution
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hours: Thursday, March 15, 2012 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Find the connection between knitting and feminism at this lecture from University of Notre Dame professor Pamela Butler. Guests will learn about the ongoing “knitting revolution” in today’s political climate as Butler answers the question, “What does knitting have to do with women’s rights?” Before attendees find out, they will be treated to a live knitting demonstration by Rosie’s Yarn Cellar. Tune into this lecture for some extra education about women’s rights and a live knitting show to boot.
Price: $10 donation for Adult
Hours: Tours by Appointment
While visitors can still check out the residence of Marian Anderson outside of March, the legacy of the woman with “a voice such as one hears only once in a 100 years” is well worth honoring during Women’s History Month. The historical society that preserves her home is dedicated to honoring her by continuing to support up-and-coming local vocalists, and her story is as impressive as her contralto vocals. A taste? When told she could not sing for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR and Anderson preceded to sing for 75,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Price: Adults- $14.50, Senior 65 and up- $13, Children- age 4-12 $8, Active Military and children 3 and under- Free
Hours: Mon to Fri – 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat – 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The National Constitution Center hosts a number of events in recognition of Women’s History Month. For starters, the Philadelphia Girl Power Show highlights the influential women of Philadelphia and the Women of Power Show gives visitors a chance to learn about extraordinary feminine figures throughout history. Also, the Center’s main exhibition “We the People” shows some defining moments in women’s history. All the special exhibits will be free after admission, so the timing is opportune to explore what the entire Constitution Center has to offer as well as celebrate womanhood.
The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hours: Reading room and gallery Mon to Fri — 9: a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Print Room: By Appointment only
Visitors to the Library Company of Philadelphia can easily educate themselves about almost any facet of women’s history. With their remarkable array of literature, their women’s collection spans from ancient history to current women’s rights struggles in paintings, maps, cookbooks, serials and even comic valentines. With an intense dose of women’s history, this collection and library gives readers even more cause to celebrate Women’s History Month.
Lindsay Lewis is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.