(Re)Presenting Women

American Trustees Project

Cathy Bonner from Annette Strauss Institute on Vimeo.

Read the transcript. or watch the closed captioned video

Previewing (5-7 minutes)

Ask students to quickly brainstorm (as a class or in small groups) a list of contributions that women have made on history or society, including the woman's name and the era in which she lived. Briefly discuss these accomplishments prior to watching the video.

Viewing and Discussion (10-15 minutes)

1. As a class, watch the brief Cathy Bonner video about how she helped acknowledge, and spread the word about accomplishments of women by starting the Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas. The video can be accessed online at www.americantrusteesproject.org

2. After viewing, pose the following questions for class discussion:

  • How many women's museums existed prior to the opening of the museum discussed in the video?
  • Why is it valuable to devote a museum specifically to the work of women?
  • Have women been omitted from the history books or only included if their achievements surpass the work of men in the same field?

3. If students have been to a museum, ask them what items are exhibited. If necessary, remind the class that museum exhibits combine visual, graphic, textual, and auditory information.

Application (30 minutes)

1. At this stage, students will produce a pamphlet that could appear in a museum offering specific information about one of the following topics:

  • Women's Suffrage (the right to vote)
  • Women's Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Impact of the Women's Movement on Empowering Women
  • Title IX
  • Women in Public Office

2. Divide the class in small groups of 3-4. Encourage each group to choose a topic from the list above. Provide each group with the WORKSHEET that corresponds with their selected topic.

NOTE: If needed, students can contextualize their research by looking at their topic as it is characterized in a social studies textbook or encyclopedia.

3. Explain the project objective (to explore a topic and present it as if it were to become an exhibit at a Women's History Museum). Encourage students to think about various formats for their exhibits (For example: photos, texts, objects, music, video, etc.). Allow groups to explore resources, such as visiting websites on the WORKSHEET, and brainstorm other information sources.

NOTE: Resources listed in the WORKSHEETS are offered as starting points and should not be regarded as the only resources that should be used for this project. Searching for information on the web is time consuming, so set a time limit for this activity. The recommended time for this activity is 15 minutes.

4. At the end of the class, encourage groups to share their ideas for exhibits. If time permits, encourage the groups to start working on their exhibits. Assign completion of the project as homework.

NOTE: This project creates a great opportunity for the class to present their work for the student body. Encourage students to think about educating their school and/or community about women's history.


Student may be assessed on:
1. developing critical thinking and application skills;
2. presentation skills; and
3. creative ability.