Communities across Washington prepare to commemorate the 2020 suffrage centennial

Along with the Washington State Women’s Commission and the Women’s History Consortium, the Washington State Historical Society is providing local groups with funding to recognize and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Congress recognizing women’s right to vote in America. Through several rounds of grant applications, organizations across Washington (listed below) have been selected to receive Votes for Women Centennial Grant funding for commemorative projects. Dynamic exhibitions, events and programs will honor the suffrage centennial in a variety of engaging ways, and most are open to public participation.

Several programs have begun:

* The Women Veterans Advisory Committee produced a recognition event featuring women veterans from different peacetime and war eras such as WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

* Washington Secretary of State’s Legacy Washington program has launched Ahead of the Curve, celebrating the 100th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote with an exhibition, online profiles, a published book, lesson plans, and a student contest.

* The Tacoma Historical Society presents the exhibition Her Story: Tacoma’s Women of Destiny, recognizing the passage of the 19th Amendment and highlighting over 75 women whose historic roles have been overlooked or who are now making and writing history.

* The Cowlitz County Historical Museum is interpreting the struggle for woman’s suffrage using artifacts from the museum’s collections and highlighting local Cowlitz County suffragists.

* The Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum have created online and printed materials, including an Olympia Women’s Suffrage Trail to highlight the role of local places and people in the women’s suffrage movement.

These upcoming Votes for Women Grant-supported programs will take place during 2020:


* Living Voices will tour Hear My Voice, a program on the fight for suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment, with a customized slide show and discussion focusing on our state’s role in the amendment’s passage and current status with respect to equal rights.

* Washington’s online encyclopedia of regional history,, will produce content on women in technology such as Roberta Williams, who co-founded Sierra Entertainment and created the first graphic adventure game ever made for personal computers.

Western Washington

* The Museum of History and Industry will mark Women’s History Month in March with a series of programs that celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage, using history as a framework for exploring issues that impact communities and democracy.

* The Historic Trust will bring a National Women’s Party exhibit with customized Washington-specific displays to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and local libraries, and the League of Women Voters of Washington will complement the exhibit with events.

* The Centralia Downtown Association will present the exhibition, The Women Came Downstairs: The Movement of Women’s Power from Above the Shops to Owning the Buildings and Running Our Towns, which features the accomplishments and contributions of Centralia and Lewis County women through a permanent and traveling display, social media storytelling, speakers, and more.

* The Clark College Foundation, in partnership with Southwest Washington’s League of Women Voters, the Clark County History Museum and The Historic Trust, will host a series of women’s history classes and trainings, museum exhibits, art activities, and re-enactments outlining the many decades of political action by women suffragists.

* The White River Valley Museum will present Domestic Fantasy, an exhibition that considers what the impact would have been if social media existed in 1919, featuring stories of Washington state suffragists alongside prominent taste makers of the time.

* The Wing Luke Museum’s exhibition, Asian Pacific American Feminism, and its associated public programs will reflect on the history of women, feminism and civic engagement in Washington’s Asian Pacific American community.

* The Bellevue School District will present Living Voices’ Hear My Voice performances, which explore the fight for women’s suffrage, at six high schools to raise student understanding of civic involvement and inspire students to participate in democracy.

* The Seattle Girls School’s seventh-grade class will experience Living Voices’ Hear My Voice performances on the long-term effects of the suffrage movement in advancing the roles for women in politics and society.

* The Whatcom Museum Foundation will host the exhibition, Moving Forward, Looking Back: Washington’s First Women in Government, accompanied by related programming.

* Thurston Community Media’s Centennial Video Project will include video coverage of Women Vote NOW: Suffragists Of Color Who Made A Difference, a commemoration of the 99th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment and the women of color who worked for suffrage, abolition and civil rights, as well as a series of Public Service Announcements, a 30-minute television history special, and a screening and voter registration event.

* The Thurston County Courthouse will install an interpretative panel with information about the first all-woman jury in the state after most Washington women gained permanent suffrage in 1910.

* The Washington State Jewish Historical Society will expand on the exhibit, Agents of Change, and continue efforts to collect stories by and about Jewish women in Washington.

* The Seattle Genealogical Society will produce an exhibit as well as educational events designed to teach the public how to access and use genealogical tools and techniques in order to discover their female ancestors and document their stories.

* The League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County will host an event with Elaine Weiss, author of The Women’s Hour, which recounts how women won the vote and tells the important story of how racial issues in 1920 impacted the suffrage fight.

* Pierce County Superior Court will create educational materials about the history of jurors and voting rights in Washington, including a mural celebrating Washington’s first all-women “suffragist” jury installed at the County-City Building in Tacoma.

* The Snohomish County League of Women Voters plans to honor Missouri Hanna, an Edmonds publisher and suffragist who started the west coast suffrage newsletter “Votes for Women,” helping Washington women obtain the right to vote in 1910.

* The American Association of University Women-Port Townsend’s Women Vote! centennial celebration program will host free films, live performances and exhibitions that celebrate the history of suffrage, to be held at locations in the community including the Port Townsend Library, local high schools and the Jefferson County Historical Society.

* The Island County Historical Society & Museum will offer a professional historical reading and portrayal of suffragist Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ordway, by Jill Johnson of the Seattle Storytellers Guild.

* The DuPont Historical Society will present a traveling display in local schools and libraries chronicling and celebrating the women of the DuPont area throughout history.

* Shifting Gears will conduct the Susan B. Anthony Relay Ride, a bicycling event where participants can pay homage to women change makers over the last 100 years.

* The Renton History Museum will present What Difference Do Renton Women Make?, an exhibition and associated programs that explore the impact of women on public life in Renton from the early 19th century to the present.

* The Washington State Daughters of the American Colonists will place a marker on the Littlerock Elementary School grounds to celebrate the eight Littlerock women, along with seven women in Grand Mound that day, whose votes were the first women’s votes counted in Washington Territory.

*  Politics of the Possible in Action will ignite civic engagement in high school students through theatrical performances and a dialogue with experts across Washington.

* The Lewis County Historical Society will present an exhibit featuring ten women change makers from Lewis County and highlight their influence on the community with a focus on local women’s suffrage.

* Seattle Globalist will produce written profile stories and an audio podcast about the kinds of impacts and empowerment the suffrage movement has had for women of color and immigrant women.

* Azeotrope will present a free public showcase of Say Our Names, a play with music about race relations and conflicts within the women’s suffrage movement, highlighting contributions from and barriers faced by suffragists of color.

Central Washington

* The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center will partner with the Women Painters of Washington (WPW) to host an art exhibit featuring historic paintings, highlighting the history of the WPW and vignettes on local women in state and national politics.

* The Yakima Valley Museum will host Divergent Voices/Common Ground, an exhibition and program which shows the artwork of four Central Washington artists. It will also present Living Voices’ Hear My Voice performances, examining the fight for women’s suffrage.

Eastern Washington

* KSPS Public Television will produce five one-minute messages that highlight present-day female heroes who impact daily life for eastern Washington residents, focusing on women who have made a difference through civic engagement.

* The League of Women Voters of Pullman will host several performances and discussions at school campuses throughout the city in honor of the women’s suffrage centennial.

* The Ritzville Library will create a presentation titled Rural Suffrage: Winning the Vote for Women in Adams County, which will celebrate local, state and national women who shaped the movement.

* The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers will host a collaborative concert by female choral ensembles that celebrates the history and impact of women’s suffrage through song.

*  For more information regarding Washington’s suffrage centennial activities, visit, or follow @suffrage100wa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

– Washington State Historical Society

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