Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Future of Texas Women's History

Yesterday I attended a stellar panel discussion at the Bullock State History Museum in Austin, held as part of a new exhibit entitled Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century, Dr. Paula Mitchell Marks, a distinguished historian of Texas women’s history served as guest curator of this exhibit, which will be a featured exhibit at the Bullock until May 19, 2013. This detailed and comprehensive exhibit, officially opened this weekend, considers the role that Texas women have played in shaping the history of the Lone Star State. As the exhibition material notes:  “The story of Texas wouldn't be complete without the many histories of the determined women who stepped out and stepped up to fight for rights, improve public services, and help create the state that we know today. Re-encounter inspirational and pioneering Texas women such as Barbara Jordan, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Clara Driscoll, and Juanita Craft ... but then discover the impact of countless other women and women's groups in the fields of business, education, civil rights, healthcare, government, the arts, and the preservation of both natural and historic landmarks.” The panel discussion held yesterday attracted a large audience of individuals, not only from Austin but from around the state. Every panelist was an historian who has done significant work on the history of Texas with special reference to the important contributions women have made. Moderated by Paula Mitchell Marks, the panel included Merline Petrie, Rebecca Sharpless, Jean A. Stuntz, Nancy Baker Jones, Judith A. McArthur, Cynthia Orozco, and Elizabeth Hayes Turner. The discussion focused on the social, cultural, economic, political, and public policy contributions of women to Texas history, while also considering a wide variety of issues related to gender and race. Each panelist reviewed important historical studies relating to their fields of expertise and commented about trends they saw for the future in the study of Texas Women’ history. It was a most interesting and worthwhile event.

Click here for a link to the exhibition website at the Bullock.