I want my teen daughter to understand that many of the rights she has today or will enjoy in the near future, like voting, are rights that women had to work long and hard to get. Their progress came as a result of sacrifice, determination, and dedication of brave women.
To help make that real to her, we visited the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York. It was the site of the first Women’s Rights Convention that was held on July 19-20, 1848 and where famous suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived. Here’s some useful information if you’re making a trip to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park.
There are also lots of free programs, and they’re great. Check the schedule. And you can never go wrong with the Junior Ranger program if you have little ones. Watching a girl get sworn in for her Junior Ranger badge while we were there made my heart happy. You can find a schedule of events here.
2. It’s a great road trip stop.
Seneca Falls is very close to I-90 in the Finger Lakes region of western New York. It’s about half way between Syracuse and Rochester. You can certainly hit the highlights of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in a few hours, so it’s good to combine with other events.
(Note: We stopped at the National Women’s Hall of Fame which is also in Seneca Falls. While it really tries and is admirable, there aren’t many exhibits and much of the information is available on its website. We think it’s worth waiting until it has moved to its new home in the 1844 Seneca Knitting Mill.)
3. There are a few locations that make up the park.
The Visitors Center is next door to the Wesleyan Chapel, which is open to visitors. We were the only ones there so my daughter wa able to stand in the same spot where Elizabeth Cady Stanton read the Declaration of Sentiments, written primarily by her and based on the Declaration of Independence and she read it aloud, which was moving, moreso than I had anticipated.
Also part of the park are the Hunt House, where the convention was planned, the M’Clintock House, where the Declaration was written, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s house. They are open seasonally and only at certain dates and times. Check the website for the latest info.
4. It is not open every day.
The Visitors Center is open to the public Wednesday-Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm, and is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, according to the website. Be sure to check it and perhaps call to be really safe. We just missed the open hours of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s house, so pay closer attention to the various hours than we did. We were able to see the outside, though, as you can tell!
5. You’ll learn some interesting facts.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park was created by Congress in 1980 to preserve and interpret the nationally significant historical and cultural sites and structures associated with the struggle for equal rights for women. From those in attendance at the Convention (including Frederick Douglass) to the connection between suffragists and abolitionists to what women’s daily lives were like, we learned a great deal. The movie in the Visitors Center is informative.
I didn’t know that there was a suffrage flag, but there is and one is on display, with an explanation. The purple stands for justice, the gold stands for courage, the white is for purity, and 36 stars represent each state that ratified the 19th Amendment.
6. The Park hosts some unique special events.
From yoga in the park to Naturalization Ceremony in the Wesleyan Chapel to book discussions about those involved in the suffrage movement, you can find some of the unique special events here.
Prior Post: How high school registration reminded me I’m a lucky mom
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