Run entirely online, the Museum creates learning resources, podcasts, blogs and exhibitions relating to girls’ history. I have volunteered for the organisation since 2018 and I am part of the curatorial team working on the brilliant ‘Sites of Girlhood’ exhibition. This large-scale project aims to put girls on the map and showcase stories that have been forgotten or silenced. Through extensive research, Girl Museum have created an interactive map that pinpoints sites such as monuments, museums and temples, plaques, statues and residences celebrate hundreds of brilliant girls that we should all know about.
When I started on the project, I was living in London just when the new statue of Millicent Fawcett was revealed amongst seven statues of men in Parliament Square. I remember thinking about the significance of that, but also that any sites that celebrated women, I already recognised from history lessons – Florence Nightingale, Anne Frank, Emmeline Pankhurst, Queen Victoria. I realised then, the importance of finding stories and sites relating to those which have been forgotten or gone unrecognised throughout history - especially girls.
Each time we research a girl, we create a research profile which includes key information such as their name, date of birth and why they should be celebrated. This information is then condensed into an ‘entry’ for the map which can be seen by clicking on individual site markers. One of the first entries I researched was for Kalpana Chawla, who had been interested in flying since she was a young girl. In 1997, she became the first female astronaut of Indian heritage, but sadly her career was cut short when in 2003, she died aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. After her death, a statue was erected at the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai, India to celebrate her brave achievements. Similarly, in Marseille, France, Germaine Poinso-Chapuis, the first woman to hold a Cabinet-level post in the French government is remembered with both a plaque and Square named in her honour. Whilst at The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, USA, exhibitions tell the story of Grace Wisher, an enslaved black girl who helped to sew part of the first American flag.