Looking for online resources on New Jersey women’s history, or local destinations to visit with your class? Thankfully, there are a multitude of quality resources available for NJ educators to draw upon to develop lesson plans for Women’s History Month this March. Complete lesson plans are also at your fingertips from multiple sources.
The staff here at NJ Teachers’ Lounge recommends these 7 ways to celebrate women’s history month in the classroom and some ideas to get you started. Enjoy!
1. Stop at One of the Sights Along the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail
Since 1999, the NJ Women’s Heritage Trail has been a resource for the often overlooked achievements of local women. “The first in the country to undertake a statewide comprehensive survey of women’s historic sites,” the website allows you to filter locations through various categories like “Art, Culture, and Sports,” or by county in order to find the landmarks closest to you. While the resource provides information about famous female activists like Clara Barton and Annis Boudinot Stockton, the Women’s Heritage Trail is committed to uncovering the contributions of less well-known figures, such as Elizabeth Sculthorp Force, a Toms River school teacher with “an innovative curriculum in the area of social behavior and family.”
Investigate the Women’s History Trail to connect the larger history of women’s rights to local stories right in your backyard.
2. Learn How Clara Barton’s Visit to a Friend Led to the First Free Public School in the New Jersey.
Clara Barton’s story begins in Bordentown, New Jersey, when the young woman saw young boys listlessly wandering the street and was inspired to meet with the chairman of the school committee. She found that laws for public education were never implemented in the state, and went on to teach school in a one room school house, a program that would grow from six children and one teacher to over 600 children and multiple locations.
Read more about her inspiring initiative and subsequent creation of the American Red Cross here: http://www.bordentownhistory.org/Current_Exhibits/ClaraBarton/index.html and here: https://www.civilwar.org/learn/biographies/clara-barton
3. Learn About the Fight for Women’s Suffrage Through the Story of New Jersey Native, Alice Paul
The fight for the right to vote was a widespread effort that involved a number of local voices. One of the most prominent NJ figures involved was Alice Paul. Born in Mt. Laurel, Paul spent most of her life in New Jersey and played a major role in the 1910s campaign for the 19th Amendment. She also served as the leader of the National Women’s Party for fifty years, campaigning for her proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which she introduced to Congress in 1923. Read more about her life and work here.
4. Visit the National Guard Militia Museum’s Women’s History Month Exhibits
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey will open two exhibits from March 1st – 31st celebrating the service of NJ’s female soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. The first, entitled “Volunteering for Service: New Jersey Women and War,” the exhibit “will highlight more than two centuries of service through photographs, primary source correspondence, period uniforms, and video excerpts from the museum’s award-winning Center for U.S. Veterans’ Oral Histories.” The second exhibit, at the Lawrenceville location, will explore the career of Colonel Christine Haycock, “the first female officer to serve as physician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.”
The first exhibit, located in the main museum in Sea Girt, is open seven days a week from 10am-3pm.
The Lawrenceville Annex, which will host the second exhibit, is open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Learn more here.
5. Submit Art to the Women’s History Month Show at City Hall
For the entire month of March, the John W. Meagher Rotunda Gallery, located on the second and third floors of the City Hall in Jersey City, will be displaying female artists’ work in honor of Women’s History Month. The exhibition is accepting submissions to the gallery until February 22nd. The gallery is currently hosting a Black History Month Group Art Exhibition. Reception information for March is TBD.
Learn more about the gallery’s event here.
6. Explore online resources for Women’s History Month Lesson Plans
There are many opportunities to bring Women’s History into your classroom in a meaningful and engaging way. Online plans provided by The National Education Association, EDSITEment, ScienceNetLinks and, the Library of Congress.
7. Take an Electronic Field Trip with the National Women’s History Museum
Along with many other resources such as biographies and photographs through online exhibits, teachers can also bring the excitement of a field trip and knowledge of a museum guide to their classroom virtually. The National Women’s History Museum offers a variety trips focusing on areas such as Women’s Suffrage, African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement, and Women Pioneers of Computer Programming.
With programs tailored to grades 4-11, teachers can fill out a simple form to schedule a 30-minute session with a Museum Guide through Google Hangout.
More information on the programs and the sign-up process can be found here. Be sure to check out the online exhibits as well, complete with photographs and interactive timelines on a number of subjects ranging from Women in the Olympics to Women in STEM and Fashion.