Kentucky Museum Hosts "Journey to the Vote" Event
- Abigail Raley
- Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020
Kentucky Museum Curator Christy Spurlock has a passion for preserving history. Upon noticing that Western Kentucky University had nothing planned for the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, Spurlock knew that pivotal moment in women’s history needed to be celebrated.
On Saturday, February 8, The Kentucky Museum opened its doors to dozens of girls between grades first through eighth for an afternoon of fun and empowerment. Herstory included events targeted toward younger girls, hoping to usher them into bright futures with fruitful careers in many fields. Herstory is part of a larger series of events going on semester-long. Spurlock is helping orchestrate this series, entitling it “Journey to the Vote.” Herstory is unique to the series because of its focus specifically on young girls in the Bowling Green community. Spurlock entitled this event “Herstory” after hearing the name used for a program with another museum.
“When the other museum did a Herstory event, I thought ‘This is good because it’s focusing on young girls,’” Spurlock said. “Our [program] is totally different, but that got my brain percolating.”
Spurlock’s intuition for interest in the project was spot on, and with widespread collaboration from a range of WKU departments and local businesses, Herstory was in full swing. Girls from all over Kentucky (some bussed in from surrounding counties) came to learn about all WKU has to offer, but, more importantly, what they have the opportunities and abilities to accomplish in their futures.
The Gender and Women Studies Department sponsored a booth at the event, in collaboration with Department of English MFA student Lauren Haynes. Haynes orchestrated the booth’s project, which encouraged young girls to write based off of prompts in their journals. Each girl received a journal, pen, and prompt. Prompts consisted of questions like “It is your first day as president, what do you do?” and “If you could create any national holiday, what would it be?” Questions like these allowed girls to dream big and begin creating as young writers. Haynes noted the importance of writing on young girls and women.
“I think that creative writing is one of the most powerful forms of expression,” Haynes said. “I think that by showing someone that they can write anything, you really help them tap into their voice.”
Haynes’ ideas of “voice” were what made the activity most important to the girls, as they were given the chance to write their pieces down right there at the table. Parents, too, noted Herstory to be a fun new way to empower their daughters. Management Professor Aquesha Daniels took her two daughters to the event, and said both her kids loved it.
“I just think it’s educational for young kids trying to figure out what they want to do,” Daniels said. “My daughters were a little hesitant about coming just because they thought they were coming to work with me, but once they found out there were different activities, they were extra excited.”
Ultimately, Spurlock’s event and Haynes’ participation was a small but significant success in a larger event, which expands outward into a more comprehensive celebration of women’s rights in the US. With any luck, many more girls will soon be attending WKU, or will at least feel empowered enough to go to college at all.
“We hope that they come to Western,” Spurlock said. “It’s a great recruitment tool for Western, allowing these girls to come, have a great time, and meet professors and students in such a casual fun environment.”