Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum hosts special collection on women’s suffrage

Local News

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is using women’s underwear to explain women’s suffrage.

“It’s unbelievably important for women to vote,” said Collections Manager, Darby Reiners. “We make up half the population in this country, and we should reflect that in our rights and in the laws that are being made on our behalf by congress, as well as by our state representatives, and our local representatives. The biggest thing is to vote local first, because that’s where you’re going to get the most impact, and I think women especially need to take that initiative and really vote for their own interests and look out for themselves.”

This year, America will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

“So women’s suffrage, and actually suffrage is defined as the right to vote. And so women’s suffrage was the fight for the right to vote, and it actually spurred more of a women’s movement that led on to fighting for more rights and moving further into society,” said Reiners.

To celebrate, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is hosting a special collection-undressing suffrage.

The collection takes a look back at the journey of women who fought for equal rights, specifically the right to vote. They do this by looking at the undergarments women have worn for the past 200 years.

“So we’re looking at the everyday garments that every woman’s wearing. We start in the 1800s. Women are wearing 20 pounds of undergarments, you know, which makes it really hard just to move about a house, let alone, you know, go out and vote or, you know, go to the grocery store. Then you move into the 1920s and when they first get the right to vote, and they’re creating broads and little slips, and it’s light, and because they’re moving more, and they’re doing more,” said Reiners.

Some may ask, why underwear?

“We gained more rights, our undergarments changed because we needed more support, and we needed to do more things. And so, you know, we got bras with underwire, and, you know, we’ve got sports bras now because we’re out running, and you know, fighting for the next finish line,” said Reiners.

Reiner told us looking back, she thinks the women who fought for suffrage would be impressed with how far we have come in the past 100 years, but that we still have a long way to go. She said Congress passing the Equal Rights Amendment and a female president would be a good start.

The exhibit runs through early November which happens to be the same time as the elections.

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