UW-Eau Claire celebrates voting milestone with new virtual exhibit

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Blugolds are shining a light on the Chippewa Valley women who fought for their voting rights one-hundred years ago. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray introduces us to a virtual exhibit created by students and staff through the Mcintyre library.

A research project in the works since March, but dating back 100 years, has come to life.

Exhibit Curator & UWEC Senior, Emma Mabie said, “The exhibit gives a look at the Chippewa Valley during the suffrage movement during the 1910s and 20’s about different groups who were both pro and against the right to vote for women.

Senior Emma Mabie is one of a four faculty-staff team who helped honor local women who fought for women’s voting rights. She says given the current political climate its more important than ever for women to exercise their rights to vote.

Mabie said, “It took such a long time for us to be able to vote and I think the struggles that everyone went through it’s important now to understand that we have that right to vote and to utilize it in every way shape, and form. This exhibit opens their eyes to what’s really important.”

The exhibit originally planned for in-person viewing at the Mcintyre Libary on campus, but due to COVID-19 related concerns, decided to move forward virtually. Learning and Instruction Librarian Liliana Lavalle was instrumental in getting the exhibit online.

Lavalle said, “You can trace these lasting arguments and questions about who gets to vote and we wanted to tie it in with what’s happening right now and who’s voting and sort of get people excited about the idea of 100 years on are women voting and how are we exercising our rights people fought for back 100 years ago in this area.”

“Those people see what needed to be done in order to get the vote to pass to see the challenges of the women during that time and I think it is a good comparison of today’s world and the importance to vote for every citizen who can,” said Mabie.

The team of four hopes the exhibit will spark conversation on the significance of the 19th Amendment for women then and now as many Americans prepare to cast their votes in the 2020 election.

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