Women’s History Month Happenings Around Philly
Philly history is full of great women. Now's your chance to get to know them.
March is Women’s History Month, and institutions around Philly are celebrating in so many ways. Learn about some of the amazing women that helped shape our nation and challenge our ideals, and inspire the next generation of leaders by bringing your kids to these family-friendly events.
Sundays in March
239 Arch St.
As the only site in Philadelphia dedicated solely to telling the stories of women, the Betsy Ross House is celebrating by telling the stories of unsung heroines all month long, during special Sunday storytelling sessions. On March 7 and March 14 from 11 am – 4 pm, Once Upon A Nation Storytellers will share short stories of women’s struggle to gain the vote, and other stories of women throughout history.
On the final two Sundays in March (from 10 am – 4 pm), historical reenactors will describe their roles in the fight for women’s suffrage. On March 21, meet Alice Paul– American Quaker, suffragist, feminist, and women’s rights activist and one of the leaders of the campaign for the 19th Amendment. Then on Sunday, March 28, meet Frances Harper– an abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, and public speaker, who was one of the first African American women to be published in the United States.
March 9, 11 am
Join the National Liberty Museum and Philly Drag Queen Miss Brittany Lynn for a celebration of the women and girls who made history. Storytime includes the ABCs of amazing women with A is for Awesome, learn about brave women who never gave up in She Persisted, and more great books. As part of the program, you and Miss Brittany Lynn will Zoom into the virtual NLM for a look at their special exhibit “Philly’s Freedom,” which invites viewers on a journey to explore what freedom means and how ordinary citizens play a role in protecting our freedom and liberty, from voting to protest and beyond. Free; pre-register online. If you miss out, this event will be recorded for future replay on March 20 and 21, for NLM’s virtual Women’s History Month Weekend.
March 21, 1 pm
As part of the National Liberty Museum’s virtual Women’s History Month celebration, express yourself in this virtual art adventure featuring the women artists in their current “Philly’s Freedom” exhibit. Join in a DIY art activity to make an identity collage that celebrates what makes you, you! This event is recommended for children ages 4-12. Pay as You Wish; pre-registration is required for the Zoom link.
Saturdays in March
Various locations in and around Philly
The Sisterly Love Citywide Food Fair is a women-led initiative to promote Philadelphia-based and female-run hospitality businesses affected by the pandemic by way of traveling food markets, and for Women’s History Month they are expanding their footprint throughout the city and even on the Main Line. Masks and social distancing are required for all events.
This month’s events kick off on March 6 from noon–2 pm at Schauffele Plaza (14 E. Lancaster Avenue) in Downtown Ardmore. In addition to the dozens of food vendors, Ardmore Music Hall will play music from their archives during the event.
On March 13 (noon–2 pm), head to Northern Liberties, where the fair will be held in and around Hudson Table, located at the Piazza at 1001 N. Second Street. Then on March 20 (11 am–2 pm), the Sisterly Love Food Fair will host a brunch takeover at Bridget Foy’s (200 South Street). Make brunch reservations, and plan to shop, eat, and celebrate the first day of spring with gifts and food vendors ranging from Queen and Rook Game Cafe to Dye Hard Fan to Essen Bakery and beyond!
Finally, on March 27 (noon–4 pm), the Sisterly Love Food Fair hosts their largest event ever with a special extended pop-up at Cherry Street Pier. Enjoy socially-distanced covered shopping, scenic waterfront views, artwork on display, and the grand opening weekend of Lokal Artisan Foods and French Toast Bites who will begin their Cherry Street Pier residency in delicious fashion with specials like French Toast Bites Milkshakes!
Through March 31
525 Arch St.
Tracing the triumphs and struggles that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago, “How Women Won the Vote” features some of the many women who transformed constitutional history—including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and Ida B. Wells—and will allow visitors to better understand the long fight for women’s suffrage. With nearly 100 original artifacts—including Lucretia Mott’s diary, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, a letter from jail written by a White House picketer, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera—explore the constitutional arguments and historical context of the fight for suffrage over 70 years.
The museum is open Fridays–Sundays from 10 am–3 pm, and advance reservations are required. If you can’t make it to the museum, you can view highlights of the exhibit online, or even book a live virtual tour of the exhibit via Zoom. Additional resources can be found on the Constitution Center’s Women’s History Month landing page, including videos, educational materials, and more.
Through April 25, 2021
101 S. Third St.
As the previous entry in this article celebrates, millions of American women were granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. But over a century earlier, women and free people of color legally held the vote in New Jersey for more than thirty years… and then lost it. “When Women Lost the Vote” is an inspiring story that explores how the American Revolution shaped women’s political opportunities and activism and encourages visitors to reconsider their understanding of the timeline of women’s history in America.
The Museum of the American Revolution is open Fridays—Sundays from 10 am—5 pm, and advance timed reservations are strongly recommended. If you can’t make it to the museum, there is also a virtual version of the exhibit, featuring videos, photos of the exhibit’s objects, and stories to put it all in context.
Women’s History Month in Independence National Park
Through March 31
Stop by the Liberty Bell Center for “Women of Change, Women of Protest,” and be inspired by the stories of suffragists like Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells-Barnett in the decades-long struggle for women’s voting rights. You will also learn about the Women’s Liberty Bell, also known as the “Justice Bell,” which traveled around the state and nation in the fight for voting rights.
Meanwhile, at Independence Visitor Center, “Raising Their Voices for Women’s Suffrage” shows photo panels of rallies, protests, and celebrations that took place on and around Independence Square.
Virtual through March 31
Through stories of trailblazing women throughout history and today, alongside bold quotes, statistics and thought-provoking experiences, “Seat at the Table” seeks to raise awareness and start conversations around women’s suffrage and its ties to current social movements and gender equality. This exhibit opened at the Kimmel Center last year, where it remains in the currently-closed building. While they plan to reopen the in-person experience later this spring, you can view it online and access educational materials to accompany the virtual tour.
Book a tour with Beyond the Bell to learn about cool colonial women, change-makers, women in medicine, and more pioneers who have made their mark on our city.
Photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.