After 11 years, The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future located in the historic Fair Park in Dallas, closed its doors. Surviving one of the hottest summers on record and hit with soaring electric bills, in addition to facing a prolonged downturn in the economy, the museum failed to secure enough funding to continue. Despite the museum’s closing in the fall of 2011, there are still many Dallas/Fort Worth venues that share women’s stories and contributions throughout history.
The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor: A 30th Anniversary Celebration
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
1720 Gendy St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
(817) 336-4475 or (800) 476-FAME(3263)
Price: Adults (13+) $10; Seniors (60+) $8; Children (3-12) $8; Children 2 and under free with paid adult
Hours: Tue – Sat, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Closed Mondays
Exhibit: Through March 25, 2012, Price: Free, 9 a.m. to Noon, Registration required
Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, the National Cowgirl Museum celebrates women past and present whose lives helped shape the American West. Recognizing the spirit of the West, the women honored in the Hall of Fame are courageous, resilient and independent. The NCMHF honors women whose achievements cover literature, art, science, sports, business, education, politics and civil rights.
The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor: A 30th Anniversary Celebration is the Cowgirl Museum’s current exhibit, and will run until the end of March this year. The exhibit celebrates O’Connor’s contributions to the American justice system and her role as the first woman to hold such a high appointment on the Supreme Court bench. Visitors will get to see what O’Connor’s life growing up on a ranch was like and her transformation to becoming one of the most influential women of her time.
“Before I rode occasionally on the round-up, it had been an all-male domain. Changing it to accommodate a female was probably my first initiation into joining an all-men’s club, something I did more than once in my life.” – O’Connor in “Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest”
The Frontiers of Flight Museum
6911 Lemmon Ave.
Dallas, TX 75209
Hours: See tour information
Women have been involved in aviation since its inception, from hot air ballooning to the International Space Station. The Frontiers of Flight Museum shares photographs and historical artifacts in the field of aviation. Fascinating women are represented in the Golden Age of Aviation exhibit, including Bessie Coleman of Waxahachie, Texas, who became the first African American to earn a pilot’s certificate in 1921. Also represented is Retha McCulloh of Beaumont, who became the first licensed female pilot in the state of Texas. She received a letter from Amelia Earhart in 1929 inviting her to join a group that later became the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots.
Besides Americans, the United Kingdom had adventurous women who contributed to aviation. In 1928, Lady Mary Heath was the first person to fly solo from Capetown, South Africa to London. She did it in style wearing tea gowns and heels in her open cockpit de Havilland.
A major WWII exhibit showcases the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who flew military aircraft in all types of missions except combat. The largest contingent was at Dallas Love Field Airport.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Price: Adults $13.50; Seniors and Children/Youths (6-18) $12.50; Children 5 and under free
Hours: Mon—Noon to 6 p.m., Tues to Sun—10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Last tickets sold at 5:15 p.m.
The Sixth Floor Museum examines the life, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy and the major social movements and political events of the 1960s. The documentary films, photographs, artifacts, oral histories, home videos, television and radio recordings represent the history of Dallas. The museum and its 35,000 artifacts also give insight into the life of Jacqueline Kennedy, the White House years and the aftermath of the assassination.
There is a 10-minute video featuring footage of the funeral and scenes depicting the international reaction to the assassination. A huge photograph shows federal Judge Sarah T. Huges giving President Lyndon B. Johnson the Oath of Office as Ms. Kennedy stood by. This museum also allows visitors a historical look into the lives of other famous women during a turbulent time.
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 N. Harwood
Dallas, TX 75201
Hours: Tues to Wed—11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thurs—11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri to Sun—11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: General admission: $10 or less every day
One of the most beautiful and interesting places to learn about women’s roles in history is at the Dallas Museum of Art. From primitive pieces to modern works of art, women have been portrayed as fertility symbols, leaders, educators, artists, seductresses, wives, religious figures and beauty icons. The museum’s global collection houses more than 24,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history.
Many of the DMA’s pieces feature or were created by women. The DMA American Decorative Arts collection contains works by the gifted designer Eva Zeisel, who recently passed away at the age of 105. The museum also recently acquired “Lady Godiva,” which was created by famous 19th century sculptor Anne Whitney. Whitney expressed her feminist views through her works.
Two current exhibitions that include women artists are: Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, which runs through May 27, 2012; and Texas in the Twenties: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from Lone Star Collections, which runs through July 1, 2012.
Related: Guide To DFW Museums & Social Media
African American Museum Fair Park
3536 Grand Ave
Dallas, TX 75210-1005
Price: Admission is free
Hours: Tues to Fri—11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat—10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun to Mon—Closed
African American achievements by both men and women are represented at the African American Museum, located in historic Fair Park Dallas. Currently on exhibition is GEMS, which features recently acquired work by numerous artists and select objects by the Besser collection of African Baskets. The museum has one of the largest collections of Folk Art in the United States.
Marilee Vergati, is an international award winning art director and writer. As a native Dallasite and fifth generation Texan, she brings a unique insight to her beloved state, its events, arts, ecology and people. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.