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EXCLUSIVE: Women’s Rights National Historical Park kicks off Women’s History Month (video)

  • / Updated:
  • Rebecca Swift 

Employees at the Visitor’s Center at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls are getting ready for a busy and important month.

“At the beginning of March, we open up the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House,” said Chief of Interpretation and Education Janine Waller. “People can take tours and listen to rangers tell about her life and the beginnings of her lifelong efforts as a suffragist. As a women’s rights advocate that began here in Seneca Falls.”

“Elizabeth lived there from 1847-1862,” said Lead Park Ranger, Don Stanko. “It’s very much where the story begins. Where moving to Seneca Falls inspired here to do the Convention. A few years after, she is introduced to Susan B. Anthony. They immediately strike up a friendship. And they formed a 50-year long partnership. It really shapes in that house. It’s the spot where that friendship is made. I would argue it’s the most powerful political friendship in American History.”

The tours are for Women’s History Month.

So, how did Women’s History Month begin?

“When we talk about history, we recognize that the experience is not the same for everyone,” Waller said. “And those individual threads that form the web of our human existence and history, have different resonance for different people. We want to make sure we see a complete picture. So bringing women’s history in the early 1980s to the forefront was part of our national agenda. So the first Women’s History Week was proclaimed in 1981, and every year thereafter until 1987 when Women’s History Month was proclaimed. This has really helped us to focus on a more inclusive version of history. Even here at Women’s Rights National Historical Park, we’re working to have a more inclusive vision of history.”

Why should people take advantage this month?

“It’s a chance to reconnect and refocus on things we don’t give attention to,” Stanko said. “It’s also a time to delve into these stories that are rich and beautiful and awesome and fun. To give you a little hope and inspiration.”

And it’s a way to bring history to life.

“There is something about walking the same route and looking out the same windows as a person you don’t know, that gives you a sense of the perspective that they might have had. For me, it has always been question of putting myself in their shoes. And realizing that in a different time and different place, I would have had a different life. So we hope that when people come here they can understand a little bit about where those people where coming from. And also where we have to go.”

For more information about upcoming events, click here.