Above: The Museum of London has photos and artifacts that document an important part of women’s history, the story of the suffragettes. All photos courtesy of Road Scholar.
By JoAnn Bell of Road Scholar
If you want to learn the whole history, you’ve also got to learn the “herstory.” Celebrate women’s historical and modern contributions to art, literature, politics and more all year round by planning a trip to one of these museums and historic sites honoring women in the U.S. and beyond.
1 Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the most influential American First Ladies and, perhaps, one of the most famous women in American history. Visit Val-Kill, her personal retreat and the first National Historic Site devoted to a First Lady, to learn about her life and accomplishments. You can also learn about this famous First Lady during “Tea with Eleanor” at Roosevelt Campobello International Park in New Brunswick, Canada, the Roosevelts’ summer retreat.
2 The Rosa Parks Museum
Learn about Rosa Parks, “The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” at the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University, where interactive exhibits tell the story of Rosa Parks, the Montgomery bus boycott and its role in the civil rights movement. And there’s lots more to learn along the Civil Rights Trail.
3 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
A trip to Santa Fe would not be complete without a docent-led visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The museum holds the largest collection of the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant artists and feminists of the 20th century.
While you’re in the neighborhood, take a field trip to The Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu — just an hour drive from Santa Fe — to explore Georgia’s home and studio and take in the stunning Southwest landscapes that inspired her.
4 Althorp Estate
Althorp House, where Princess Diana’s brother Charles resides, has been home to the Spencer family for over 500 years. Visit the 13,000-acre estate in the English countryside to see Diana’s childhood bedroom and learn about her life as a girl. Visit with Road Scholar to walk through the estate with Diana’s security guard, Ken Wharfe.
If you’re visiting Althorp, you’ll likely be flying into and spending some time in London. If so, be sure to stop at Kensington Palace to see some of Princess Diana’s most famous outfits and to learn about another fierce British leader, Queen Victoria.
5 Intentional Growth Center
Join scholars and intellectuals at beautiful Lake Junaluska in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina to learn about local women’s history. Delve into the achievements of Appalachian women during daily lectures, and find out about the matriarchal customs of the local Cherokee tribe.
6 The Jane Austen Centre
Study the life and legacy of world-renowned British author Jane Austen as you visit her hometown of Bath. It is said that Jane was unhappy during her time in Bath and did not do much writing here. But her social life in Bath served as inspiration for much of her future works. Visit the Jane Austen Centre to learn about the impact that the city had on her and see a life-size wax model of the author.
7 Women’s Rights National Historic Park
This 6.8-acre park was established in 1989 to commemorate the work done in this area during the women’s suffrage movement. Visit the Wesleyan Chapel, the site of the first women’s rights convention, an important part of women’s history, and explore Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s house to learn about Elizabeth and other early women’s rights activists.
Road Scholars will also learn about links between the Iroquois Clan Mothers and the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848.
8 The Frida Kahlo Museum
Frida Kahlo de Rivera’s fame extends far beyond her home-country of Mexico, and her self-portraits made her one of the most-recognized artists of all time. Take a trip down to Mexico City to explore the life and portraits of this renowned artist and celebrated feminist at Casa Azul, the Frida Kahlo Museum.
9 The Museum of London
The museum of London tells the city’s history, from prehistoric to modern times. And that includes a permanent exhibit of England’s suffragette history. Visit to learn about Emmeline Pankhurst and other brave women who fought for equal rights as you delve into the cultural heritage of London.
While you’re in town, be sure to stop by the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery to learn about the first British female physician.
10 The National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only major museum in the world that focuses on women’s visual, performing and literary arts. Wander through more than 4,500 works of art by more than 1,000 women artists from all over the world.
Continue your women’s history lesson in D.C. at the Smithsonian Museums. Check out the First Ladies exhibit at the National Museum of American History, and learn about Sally Ride, Amelia Earhart and other female trailblazers at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
11 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
This National Historical Park is a bit off the beaten path, but if you find yourself in the Baltimore or Washington D.C. areas, consider taking a two-hour field trip to learn about the Underground Railroad and Harriet’s role in escorting over 300 slaves to freedom. Established in 2017, the historical park received over 100,000 visitors in its first year, shattering projections.
You can also visit Harriet’s National Historic Park in Fleming and Auburn, New York to see her home.
Road Scholar calls itself the nation’s largest educational travel organization for adults – a true university of the world. This not-for-profit educational organization offers 5,500 extraordinary learning adventures in 150 countries and 50 states. Road Scholars are immersed in a variety of educational activities, enlisting renowned faculty and experts who offer insider access not available to most individuals. Dedicated to making educational travel available to everyone, Road Scholar offers financial aid for those who otherwise could not participate in its programs.