PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style

PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style

October 21, 2021 – April 18, 2022

This landmark exhibit and accompanying catalog told the stories of women’s activism, empowerment, and struggle over the past century through 36 outfits/accessories. Treasures from WHM’s extensive historic costume collection as well as loans from the community were featured, and archival photographs highlighted Worcester’s diverse local history. The text, written by historians Charlotte Haller and Madeline Ryan, reflected the latest historical scholarship and emphasized the multiple stories contained within a single outfit. Our community’s diverse voices — Black, Ghanaian, Nipmuc, Asian, LGBTQ+, Muslim, and Latinx — all contribute to the fabric and storytelling of Worcester. By clustering outfits around the themes of work, politics, and self-expression, PRETTY POWERFUL highlighted changes and continuity in style and in women’s experiences over 100 years (1920-2020) and presented history that is contested and contains multiple perspectives.

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