Every Day is Ladies' Day with Me
March is here, and with it I'm seeing a bit of an uptick in reference requests from elementary schools working on projects for Women's History Month. We love getting these requests (anything that has kids looking for primary sources is a good thing in my book), but by the same token we don't go out of our way to do much as part of Women's History Month - simply because our stewardship of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania collection means that's (largely) what we do all day, every day, year-round.
Want to know more about the first American woman to be dean of a medical school? We have that. How about what female doctors did during and after the First World War (when the US government didn't want them officially involved)? Got that too. Want to know what female medical students did for fun when they weren't studying? We can help there as well. Need a fix on what it was like to be one of a very few woman medical missionaries in the 19th century? You're covered!
While on one hand endeavors like Women's History Month can make it seem (to the non-specialist) as though 'our' part of the larger American mosaic only needs to be discussed once a year, on the other it definitely does point out to the younger user that this history is here (and not all online!) and that it is important. The challenge is keeping that higher level of awareness throughout their academic careers so that they can become the next generation of historians, curators, museum-goers and (perhaps most importantly) interested citizens who work to keep cultural institutions going when economic times get tough. It's a start.