The Research Archives at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Photo by Foy Scalf. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boseytheboglen/4408040062/
Here at Girl Museum, we are very excited about being able to participate in the GOOD Maker Project to Empower Women and Girls. Our mission is to celebrate girlhood, past, present and future, and answer the question "Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?" The aim of Celebrate Girlhood: The Exhibition is to help girls to discover who they are and why they are so important by sharing their stories and images. We hope that this will empower them and encourage them to become active participants in the global girlhood dialogue.
How do we hope to do this? If we win the GOOD $2500 grant, we will put out a worldwide call for girls to participate and then produce a downloadable resource designed to help girls find out more about their own families and communities.
This is a subject close to my heart; my previous job was working as an Archive Assistant in a local record office. In the UK, county record offices and local history centres are places where anybody can go to research their families and communities. During my two years working there, I helped people researching their family history, some visiting from all over the world to find their ancestors, as well as students working on school papers (from secondary school to PhDs) and local people interested in finding about their own homes and communities.
Visiting local record offices and history centres can be extremely worthwhile, not just in terms of what you can discover, but how you discover it. As well as learning how to conduct research, at local record offices you can actually see and hold old documents! It’s truly amazing to learn about your ancestors or local community by looking at documents that are contemporary to them! Not to mention some of the beautiful maps, drawings and calligraphy.
I love history, but I know that some people find it dry and boring; however, viewing original, sometimes ancient, documents can bring the past to life in a vivid and exciting way. I urge you to visit your own local history centres, and to support our bid to create a resource that will help girls all over the world discover how amazing and empowering the past can be.
Girl Museum Inc.