STATEWIDE — The Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado’s commemoration of the 19th Amendment hit the road this month with its Road to the Vote traveling artifacts tour across Colorado.
The tour was created to move history —literally — across the state, while educating residents and organizations about the anniversary of the largest voting-rights expansion in U.S. history, through three outreach opportunities, which include a pop-up, traveling artifacts exhibit featuring an original ballot box from the 1884 Colorado elections and a reproduction ballot from the 1893 Colorado elections; a “call to action” for interested organizations to collaborate together and create space for civic engagement, commemoration, impact and support, and a “listening and learning tour” for regional organizations to help lead events and meetings.
The Women’s Vote Centennial comprises the nation’s most comprehensive statewide effort to examine the importance of voting in our democracy.
History Colorado, the state agency leading the initiative, created inclusive, historic opportunities for Coloradans to participate and join grass-roots efforts to learn about the complex history of women’s suffrage — and, how Colorado transformed history for the entire country.
In 1893, Colorado was the first state to outlaw, via state referendum, denying citizens the right to vote based on their sex. This took place more than 25 years before the national women’s suffrage act was signed into law on Aug. 26, 1920.
The trailblazing collaborative fight for women’s voting rights changed the course of history in Colorado and continues to inspire social, economic, political and cultural advancements today.
“We are thrilled to launch our tour across Colorado’s landscape, reaching the iconic places that helped create history – and the people who continue to shape history,” said Jillian Allison, director of the Center for Colorado Women’s History. “More than ever, it’s important to understand Colorado’s early role in the national movement for the women’s vote, while stimulating new participation, action and conversation.”
A traveling, pop-up exhibit features an original ballot box from the 1884 Colorado elections, as well as a reproduction ballot from the 1893 Colorado elections. Launched at the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining and Railroad Park, the artifacts exhibit is traveling to History Colorado museums throughout the state — and some sites will include additional artifacts from that region. There will be county-specific, historical facts from each stop on the artifacts tour, including the
geographic impact on the women’s suffrage movement.
The “pop-up” becomes more long term, when the artifacts become the centerpiece for an exhibit at the Center for Colorado Women’s History — Bold Women. Change History, which is scheduled to open in March.
“When residents see the ballot box, ballot, photos and other historic materials in the pop-up exhibit, they will gain deeper appreciation for Colorado’s role in bringing women into full participation of the national political system. The simple ballot box and ballot sheet used in 1893 are emblematic of the accountability and transparency that we value today. Voting technology has come a long way in the last century and a half, but the power of the vote and the importance of each person’s voice in our communities remains unaltered,” Allison said.
CALL TO ACTION
History Colorado has a call to action for interested organizations and individuals in all 64 state counties to join the Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado’s programming — creating space and events for civic engagement, commemoration, impact and support in every count.
Participation and action will add more geographic touch points, by including partnerships with local museums, libraries, clubs, schools, and arts organizations in communities throughout the state as they plan suffrage-related events.
To support all organizations that join this movement, History Colorado created a “Women’s Vote Centennial Community Partner Tool Kit” with tips, information and ideas for each partner.
According to Cathey Finlon, Chair of the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission, “In the 1800s, women would find each other, connect over common interests and beliefs and grow effective networks. The same holds true today. Participation can become contagious and collaboration produces great results with impact.”
For more information about ways to get involved and participate, visit COWomensCentennial.org, email [email protected], or call
LISTENING ’N’ LEARNING TOUR
Allison will travel to various communities throughout the state to help create local Women’s Vote Centennial programming and activities.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with historical and community organizations and individual leaders across the state. Their local histories and records of the suffrage movement in Colorado will add important depth to work we are doing together,” added Allison.
History Colorado has become a force for finding new and inclusive ways to serve Coloradans.
In 2018, History Colorado provided programs to more than 18,000 students in their own schools and assisted more than 40 schools with bus funds to expand efforts that now serve more than 85,000 students annually.
Its all-day Hands-On History program at El Pueblo History Museum responds to the four-day school week that is now administered by 61% of the Colorado school districts.
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. It serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through the History Colorado Center and statewide museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities.
Visit HistoryColorado.org or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.