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Celebrating the right to vote

Lyon Co. Museum hosts exhibit on the League of Women Voters

Photos by Deb Gau Special displays at the Lyon County Museum help tell the story of the women’s suffrage movement, and the role that the League of Women Voters played in Minnesota. A traveling exhibit from the League of Women Voters in Minnesota, together with local artifacts and poster displays created by the Smithsonian (above), will be at the museum through March 31.

MARSHALL — March is Women’s History Month, and now visitors to the Lyon County Museum will be able to learn more about some important milestones for Minnesota women.

A new traveling exhibit, “A Century of Civic Engagement,” will be on display at the museum through March 31.

The exhibit was created by the League of Women Voters in Minnesota, to help celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified by the Minnesota Legislature on Sept. 8, 1919. But, Minnesota suffragist Clara Ueland said, “Today is the commencement rather than the end of our work.” The League of Women Voters in Minnesota was formed, with Ueland as its first president, to help encourage women to be informed and active participants in government.

The traveling exhibit talks about the suffrage movement in Minnesota, and the women who made it happen. Parts of the exhibit highlight the roles that Minnesota women have played in state and national government.

Museum director Jennifer Andries said traveling exhibits like this one are a good way to offer area residents a variety of things to see and learn about. “It’s nice to be able to bring in different topics,” she said. The “Century of Civic Engagement” exhibit, which arrived in Marshall this past weekend, has been a popular one around the state. “There was a long waiting list for the exhibit,” Andries said.

Andries said the museum has added items to go with the traveling exhibit. Displays from a traveling Smithsonian exhibit and a National Archives exhibit to provide more information on the efforts of women to get the vote. The museum didn’t have artifacts from the women’s suffrage movement in its collection, but they were able to put together some collections of items from Lyon County clubs and current events groups. Some of those organizations date back as far as the 1890s in Lyon County. It’s possible that area residents had their own discussions and debates about women’s suffrage through these local groups, Andries said.

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