New Virginia Monument Will Pay Tribute to Hundreds of Historic Women

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tags: Virginia, monuments, womens history

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In May, a dozen actors gathered at a stark Brooklyn studio dressed in an eclectic range of women’s garb: a traditional Native American dress, a frilly white bonnet, a tattered apron, a luxurious purple gown. Photographers snapped away as the actors struck poses, giving first life to an innovative new monument that will be erected some 350 miles away in Richmond, Virginia.

Images of the actors are being used as models for 12 bronze statues of historic women, which will be arranged in a new plaza in Virginia’s Capitol Square. Some of the women that will be featured in the monument are well-known figures. Others have been largely forgotten. The women were active in different eras, lived in different parts of the state, and hailed from diverse backgrounds. But all of them made significant contributions to Virginia’s rich history.

Voices from the Garden,” as the monument is titled, has been in the works for a decade. In 2008, a group of women from Richmond met with then-Senator Walter Stosch to express their concerns about gaps in Virginia schools’ history curriculum. “They felt like young women and young men coming up through the school system did not know enough about people who had made a significant contribution to the commonwealth, particularly women,” says Susan Clarke Schaar, clerk of the Virginia Senate.

Read entire article at Smithsonian

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