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March 8th celebrates International Women’s Day, and March is recognized as Women’s History Month. Massachusetts is home to many educational sites and fun activities where you can experience women’s history first-hand.
Here are some facts about women’s history in Massachusetts and our top recomendations for where to experience Massachusetts’ women’s history this month:In 1692, Salem witnessed the infamous witch trials. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed, of which 14 were women. Besides being a Halloween destination, Salem has many historical places of interests to visit year-round such as the Salem Witch Museum, the Witch Trials Memorial, and the Witch House. Following the Salem Women’s Heritage Trail walking route, you can discover more about women’s history in this mysterious town.
The remnants of the mills in Lowell provide a glimpse into the past, where thousands of young, single women worked during the industrial revolution. They were dubbed the “Lowell Mill Girls” and suffered from tough working conditions. The first organization of working women in the United States, the Lowell Female Labor Reform (LFLRA), was also established in Lowell in 1844, and allowed female laborers to bargain collectively for higher pay. Today, the Lowell National Historical Park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the life of the mill girls with its unique tours. For women’s history month, Lowell is also holding a series of events including tours, lectures and workshops.
Seven women’s colleges, founded in the mid-to-late 19th century, promoted the equal right to education for women. Four of “the Seven Sisters” are located in Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College, Wellesley College, Smith College, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Famous graduates include Hillary Clinton, Soong Mei-ling, Barbara Bush, Nancy Regan, Elaine Chao, Emily Dickinson, and Helen Keller. A visit to any of these historic campuses is a wonderful way to celebrate Women’s History Month!
In the Greater Boston Area, the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail recommends multiple trails to highlight women’s contributions to the city. For example, the Ladies Walk is designed in honor of the Boston Women’s Memorial celebrating the lives of Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Six mini-trails were also developed by students and teachers in Boston Public schools.
Other events include a public talk presented by the Abigail Adams Historical Society about The Remarkable Women of the Quincy Family, March 13, 2016 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m at Abigail Adams’ Birthplace. On March 3, 10 and 24, 2016, the Discovery Museums provide Little SMART gals and SMART gals programs for both kids and adults to learn about women’s contributions to the fields of science, math, and art. Children will get hands-on experience digging fossils, observing DNA, and dissecting plants.
North of Boston, The Actors Studio of Newburyport presents Molly Sweeney by Irish playwright Brian Friel to celebrate Women’s History Month. The show will be performed every weekend until March 13, 2016.
In western Massachusetts, the sixth annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers celebrates the month with a wide variety of workshops, talks, performances, and readings from March 12 to March 20, 2016. This year’s highlights include Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple’s seminar, Rachel Siegel performing her new play Special, and British American comedienne Alison Larkin’s show.