International Women’s Day at Erewash Museum
Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts celebrating International Women’s Day.
This year’s theme is ‘Pledge for Parity’ – celebrating women’s social, political and cultural contributions all over the world but also recognising that, in some parts of the world, progress towards true gender equality has slowed, so action is needed to achieve parity.
At Erewash Museum, we feel International Women’s Day is very important. In discussing ways we could do this, we found ourselves comparing the lives and expectations of the women who had lived and worked in our museum building – Dalby House – over the years. The Erewash Museum International Women’s Day Project, The Women of Dalby House, was born.
This project, a team effort between staff and volunteers, will look at the life, work and place in society of some of the significant women who lived and worked in Dalby House. The house itself dates back to the 1770s and was both a private family residence and a school boarding house before it became a museum in the 1980s. Many women have been instrumental in day to day life on the site. Traditionally, the home was the place where women exerted most influence. As a school boarding house, the museum retained this sense of the domestic. Women were always important. Today, the museum’s permanent staff are all women and the museum is maintained by Erewash Borough Council, which is currently presided over by a female Mayor.
In a series of blog posts throughout the week of International Women’s Day, we will look at some of the women of Dalby House, how they lived, and what their expectations were. We will conclude our series with an interview with the current Mayor of Erewash. There will also be a temporary display in the museum so that our visitors can read about some of these women and pause for thought about the previous inhabitants of the house.
The intention is that this project will grow bigger year after year. This year, we are building up to our launch event on Saturday 26th March, which will see the opening of the new facilities developed as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund Old Stables at Dalby House Project. These are busy and exciting times. Next year, our new spaces and exhibitions will be well established, our team of volunteers even larger, and we hope that we can build on this year’s work to mark International Women’s Day in an even more inspiring way for our visitors and online readers.
We hope our project will show that women have always been important to Dalby House and the progress that has been made towards gender parity at our site over the decades, reflecting wider trends in British society and culture. However, in doing so, we acknowledge that the same progress has not been made for women worldwide and therefore the necessity of the Pledge for Parity.
Our own Pledge for Parity is to treat all people who enter our museum equally, whatever their gender or background. This applies to staff, volunteers and visitors. We also pledge to be a strong advocate of the contributions women have made to the history and life of the Borough of Erewash and, in doing so, hope we can inspire progress in the wider world.
For more on International Women’s Day, check out: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/