National Women’s History Museum Announces Exciting Partnership with Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
Washington, DC – The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) today announced an exciting collaboration with DC Public Library at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in the heart of downtown Washington, DC. The groundbreaking partnership will kick off this week with the installation of Glass Ceiling Breaker, a sculpture created by Simon Berger, previously only on display for three days at the Lincoln Memorial in February 2021.
This is a major milestone for The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM). Created as an online museum more than 25 years ago to address the dearth of female representation in museums and history books, NWHM brings to life the contributions and accomplishments of women throughout history with interactive online content, high-quality K-12 educational programming, and myriad virtual and in-person events throughout the year.
“The collaboration with DC Public Library will provide us with an inspiring venue to exhibit dynamic cultural content, contextualize the importance of community, and offer the unique opportunity to experience women’s history up close and personal,” said Susan Whiting, Board Chair, NWHM. “After decades of searching for and working toward a physical home for our exhibitions and programs—with the tireless help of our members and allies—we are thrilled that the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, which shares our core values of inclusion and diversity, will be our first.”
“DC Public Library is excited to work with the National Women’s History Museum to bring compelling, relevant exhibits and programs to the public,” said DC Public Library Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan. “By sharing the history of women leaders throughout history, and especially the stories of women in the District, library visitors have the opportunity to better understand our community and our world.”
The NWHM’s first full exhibit will open at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in March 2023 on the library’s main floor. It will trace Black feminism in Washington, DC from the turn of the 20th century through the civil rights and Black Power movements to today. Curated by renowned historians Sherie M. Randolph and Kendra T. Field, the exhibition will focus on the stories and voices of Black feminist organizers and theorists— including Anna Julia Cooper, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mary Treadwell, and Nkenge Touré—whose expansive work made a difference in the lives of Black women in their Washington, DC communities and for all people throughout the United States. Standing at the intersection of race, class, and gender, Black feminists fought for a definition of freedom and liberation that extended beyond their individual circumstances—work that remains unfinished today.
As a renowned leader in women’s history education, the museum will use the iconic Library space to convene discussions with the greater Washington, DC community, including other area public libraries.
The museum also plans to work with communities across the nation to uncover local women’s history and build sustainable and scalable programming housed in local libraries and other community gathering spaces.
NWHM founding investors have made this exhibition possible: AARP, AARP Foundation, Chicago Pacific Founders, the Dr. Nancy O’Reilly Family Foundation, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly and Women Connect4Good, Inc., Mari Snyder Johnson, Morgan Stanley, Meryl Streep, Mary Tolan, and Susan Whiting.
Glass Ceiling Breaker
Glass Ceiling Breaker was commissioned by NWHM, Chief and BBH USA , with production assistance from M ss ng P eces, as a way to commemorate the iconic moment when Vice President Kamala Harris broke the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman, first Black person, and first Indian-American elected vice president of the United States. The installation was displayed in Washington, DC in February 2021 at the Lincoln Memorial. The project recently won three golds at the inaugural 2022 Anthem Awards, as well as a silver in Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility (Outdoor) at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Awards 2021. More information is available here.
“Glass Ceiling Breaker represents a landmark moment in American history, and we can think of no better home for it than the iconic Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library,” said Susan Whiting. “This one-of-a-kind tribute to all women who shatter glass ceilings is a fitting way to kick off our groundbreaking partnership with the library.”
The 8.5 feet x 7 feet sculpture will be on display on the first floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library from October to March 2023. An image of the sculpture is available here. Click here for more information about the library, including hours of operation.
“When we set forth to make this homage to Vice President Harris’ accomplishments, we hoped it would resonate and symbolize strength, courage and perseverance,” said Amani Duncan, CEO, BBH USA. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the installation and are grateful for the opportunity to show our respect to VP Harris and to all the many women who continue to shatter the glass ceiling. We are delighted to see the installation arrive at its new home.”
“The Glass Ceiling Breaker commemorates women in our nation's history who, despite the many systemic barriers to their advancement, successfully rose to the most powerful leadership positions and paved a path for future generations to do the same," said Lindsay Kaplan, co-founder and chief brand officer, Chief. "It was an honor to partner with the National Women's History Museum on this beautiful art installation that celebrates Vice President Kamala Harris and the many women who inspired her historic journey. Our mission to change the face of leadership was inspired by these trailblazers and we are pleased the artwork will be on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, inspiring women and girls of all backgrounds to see their potential, shatter their own glass ceilings, and have a seat they rightfully deserve at the table.”
About the National Women's History Museum
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is an innovative museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society. A renowned leader in women’s history education, the Museum brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history, and serves as a space for all to inspire, experience, collaborate, and amplify women’s impact—past, present, and future. We strive to fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.
The NWHM fills in major omissions of women in history books and K-12 education, providing scholarly content and educational programming for teachers, students, and parents. We reach more than four million visitors each year through our online content and education programming and, in March 2023, mounted our first physical exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, DC, We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC. The Museum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit us at womenshistory.org.