It’s Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate O.G. power girls like Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman than by visiting places that honor their contributions to women’s history? These unique vacation ideas and educational trips are perfect for families because not only will your kids be inspired by these incredible people, but they’ll be sure to remember a family vacation that meant more than fighting the crowds and waiting in line. Keep reading to see our top picks for the best places to learn about women’s history in the United States.
National Susan B. Anthony House & Museum | Rochester, NY
It’s Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday this year, so celebrate with a visit to her former home. The famous civil rights leader was arrested here when she voted in 1872, and it was the home of the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association while she was president. Take a tour of the house, learn the story behind her legendary life, and be inspired by her “Failure is Impossible” speech.
Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum | Washington, D.C.
Born 200 years ago in 1821, Clara Barton’s humanitarian legacy continues today with the American Red Cross. In 1881, at age 59, she founded the American Red Cross and led it for 23 years. Prior to establishing the Red Cross in the United States, Barton dedicated years of her life to the soldiers of the Civil War.
After the Civil War, Barton established the Missing Soldiers Office to locate Union soldiers who hadn’t returned home. She and her team initiated searches on behalf of the women who were looking for their lost husbands or sons. Barton and her team wrote more than 100 letters a day to contacts in the U.S. Army and family and friends of the missing. By December 1868, she and her team had located more than 22,000 missing soldiers.
Visit the preserved rooms where Barton lived and worked during the Civil War and where she and her team spent thousands of hours in the Missing Soldiers Office.
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum | Santa Fe, NM
One of the greatest American artists of the 20th century, O’Keeffe’s museum is perfect for budding artists and history buffs alike. Wander through over 3,000 pieces of the artist’s work, learn about her creative process and the local landscape that inspired her. It’s a stroller-friendly museum, and there’s plenty of other fun things to do with kids in Santa Fe, click here to see more.
Sacajawea Center | Salmon, ID
Idaho is a gorgeous state to visit in the summer, especially for families who love outdoor adventures: hiking, biking, rafting and more. Enrich your trip with a stop at the Sacajawea Center, located in Salmon, which is in the Lemhi Valley, the birthplace of the sole female member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The center is located on 71 acres of open space, and they even offer a 10-day Lewis & Clark living experience for families.
Helen Keller Birthplace | Tuscumbia, AL
The life of Helen Keller was full of hard struggles and amazing accomplishments. When Keller was just 19 months, she suffered a severe illness that left her blind and deaf. Keller became one of history's remarkable women. She dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind around the world, lecturing in more than 25 countries. Wherever she appeared, she brought courage to millions of blind people.
When visiting Keller’s birthplace, do not miss the water pump where Keller had her life-changing breakthrough. While cool water gushed over Keller’s hand, Sullivan spelled “water” into her other hand. Suddenly, Keller connected the spelled word with the flowing liquid. Keller immediately began touching the elements around her, wanting to learn their names. Keller’s home includes her complete library of Braille books, her original Braille typewriter, plus mementos and gifts from her travels around the world.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park | Church Creek, MD
Visit the area in the Chesapeake Bay where the Underground Railroad’s most famous conductor—Harriet Tubman—spent her early days as a slave. The 10,000 square foot visitor center has exhibits about Tubman’s life, the Underground Railroad and the surrounding lands. There’s a Junior Ranger program for kids, and with a 17-acre state park to explore, it's a great place for the whole family.
Home of Laura Ingalls Wilder | DeSmet, SD
Visit Mr. Loftus’s original store, rest in the shade of Pa’s cottonwood grove and discover other pieces of the Little House trail in DeSmet, SD, the final settling place of the Ingalls Family. Several Little House-themed events are hosted in DeSmet, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. At the Ingalls Homestead, there are regularly scheduled activities: going to school in a one-room schoolhouse, feeding farm animals and even twisting hay sticks like Laura did in The Long Winter.
Ontario County, NY
Best known as a wine and leisure destination, Ontario County in the Finger Lakes region of New York is also the epicenter of the women’s rights movement over 100 years ago. Visitors can follow the Ontario County Women’s History Trail to learn more about the history of women’s suffrage at the Ontario County Courthouse, where Susan B. Anthony was famously tried for voting, strides in higher education at Hobert and William Smith College, where the first doctoral degree was issued to a woman, and the traditions of the native Seneca and Haudenosaunee, who operated in a matrilineal society at the Ganondagan State Historic Site.
Bennington Museum | Bennington, VT
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860–1961) started painting in her seventies and within years was one of America’s most famous artists. Moses, known as a folk artist, painted scenes of rural life that captured an idyllic, bygone era of the United States.
The Bennington Museum has the largest public collection of paintings by Grandma Moses and a collection of artifacts from her life, including an 18-century tilt-top table she used as her painting table and her paint-stained apron. In addition, the museum is now home to the schoolhouse where she studied as a child.
Cincinnati might not be on your radar as a top spot to discover women's history, but the female-led arts community is making noise in 2020 with its yearlong POWER OF HER (POH) initiative. POH is raising awareness of women in the arts by celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment. There are tons of events happening throughout the year, including an exhibition on women’s suffrage at Union Terminal from Feb.-Sep. 2020 courtesy the Cincinnati Museum Center; a host of female storylines at The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati; and an all-female A Capella vocalists and all-female dancers for various art performances at the School for Creative & Performing Arts. It's never been a better time to visit Cincinnati!
Ida B. Wells-Barnett House | Chicago, IL
See the home of the famous journalist, suffragist and civil rights activist on your next trip to Chicago. Now a National Historic Landmark, Wells-Barnett and her husband bought the home in 1919 and lived there until 1922 (it is not open to the public). Want to know what else to do while you’re in the Windy City? Check out our guide to Chicago with kids.
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front | Richmond, CA
Learn about the women who kept the factories running and the war supplies coming during World War II. Explore the visitor center, which includes interactive exhibits and daily films, or wander the Rosie the Riveter memorial, which includes two gardens and photos and quotes of working women from all over the United States.
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame | Fort Worth, TX
The only museum in the world dedicated to the women who helped shape the West is a must-see the next time you visit Fort Worth. There are interactive exhibits, two theaters, and features the legacy of many women on this list, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Sacajawea and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Amelia Earhart Museum | Atchison, KS
One of the most famous early aviators was also a woman, and you can learn all about her at the Amelia Earhart Museum, located in Atchison, Kansas. The childhood home of the record-breaking airplane pilot has been preserved and welcomes visitors to wander the floor and see not only the furniture that belonged to her family but also mementos and historical artifacts from her life as an aviator.
National Women’s Hall of Fame | Seneca Falls, NY
Quite possibly one of the best places to learn about women’s history in America is the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Located in Seneca Falls, New York, which is the birthplace of the American Women’s Rights Movement, you can wander the rooms filled with information on incredible women like Maya Angelou, Julia Child, Emily Dickinson, Billie Holiday and many more. Be sure to plan your trip to the Hall of Fame later in 2020, as it’s currently the process of moving to it’s new and improved location, which will open in the early summer.
Not only is Cheyenne a great place to go for outdoor adventures with kids, but the Wyoming territory was the first in the US to grant women the right to vote. Cheyenne is the home of Wyoming’s first women judge, Esther Hobart Morris, as well as being the capital city, so whether your family wants to have a cowboy adventure, outdoor thrills or explore a historic city, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. See our insider's guide to the city to help you plan your trip.
—Gabby Cullen & Kate Loweth
Feature photo: iStock