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Traveling Exhibit in Three Lakes Showcases Fight for Women’s Voting Rights in Wisconsin

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

The “We Stand on Their Shoulders” exhibit celebrates the history of Wisconsin women and voting.

It was supposed to come to the Three Lakes Historical Society and Museum last year for the centennial celebration of 19th amendment which was ratified in 1920.  

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t happen.

It was still important to Interim Director Jill Roth to have it now.

“This year, we wanted to get that in as soon as we possibly could. We just think it’s a really important issue. Something that’s still very much relevant today, in terms of voting rights and protecting voting rights and access. So we wanted to make sure this history was brought forward and shown off a little bit,” said Roth.

The eight panels detail the process women’s rights activists went through in the US and here in Wisconsin to be able to vote.

Roth’s favorite part about the exhibit is its tie to the Northwoods.

“The woman who started Wisconsin League of Women voters actually is the cover of our exhibit here. She traveled quite a bit around the state of Wisconsin, including Rhinelander. We have our little bit in Oneida County of connection to this movement, very specifically. That was very exciting to me,” said Roth.

While the traveling exhibit is meant to celebrate the centennial of this right, it also acknowledges that it didn’t apply to all women.

Women of color were often denied their right to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The exhibit also looks to the future, which is what Roth hopes people take away from the exhibit.

“There’s still some progress to be made. I hope that folks get a little big excited about the issue and start getting excited about getting involved with their communities and local governments and getting everybody and getting everybody to the polls and everything that comes with it,” she said.

The exhibit is in the historical society’s visitor center within the Demmer Memorial Library.

The exhibit will be there through August 14th.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

You can also see it during the library’s open hours.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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