Recognizing and preserving women’s achievements in STEM through digital collections

Today I wanted to share Google Cultural Institute’s digital history exhibit on women’s achievements in STEM. I often see social media posts revealing the genius of many women inventors, scientists, and mathematicians whose work was not given credit, or taken by a male supervisor. This post is an excellent step towards public awareness and is an excellent model for the various types of awareness of the historical contributions of women.

As a museum professional, I would like to see an interpretation of women beyond their clothes or home life. I want to see tangible artifacts of their part in society, and hear the intangible side through oral histories. This is happening in museums, but we need to encourage and foster its growth. Museum professionals have a duty to actively pursue donations from women of all races who contributed to STEM because this can encourage young generations of women to pursue careers in this field.

What types of empowerment will a museum’s representation of women in STEM do for the world?

  • Encourage young girls to pursue hobbies related to the sciences.
  • Diversify the public’s understanding of women’s beneficial roles to intellectual development.
  • Encourage women of color to attend universities and pursue graduate degrees.

When I worked on my digital history exhibit of women in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU I found that women were more likely to pursue Master degrees than men. This was no doubt highly eye-opening to a University that would not allow women to pursue degrees until almost 50 years after opening. Even Jane McKimmon, who transformed the agricultural educational field for white women, only received an honorary degree from NCSU.

Here are some links of NCSU women pursuing various types of education to change the field of science and agriculture:

A multi-racial group of women in the College of Engineering 

Two unidentified women working in a tobacco lab

A woman teaching a math class

African American and white women Home Demonstration Club Members

30yearBurlingtonFinally, the picture you see is my grandmother holding her “30 year” anniversary pin from Burlington Industries. She was a Lab Technician in the Fiber Testing department. Even though my grandmother embodied much of the typical housewife lifestyle, I’ve always admired her for being a working woman who knew her way around a microscope. If I created an exhibit about her, I could easily represent her as both a mother and a working woman because women’s lives are not flat.

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