Bashka Paeff with Laddie Boy
About the image

Unidentified photographer, Archives of American Art

Because of Her Story

In America’s most defining moments—times that shaped constitutional rights, yielded scientific breakthroughs, created the symbols of our nation—a diversity of women’s stories has not been widely told. The Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative illuminates women’s pivotal roles in building and sustaining our country and will expand what we know of our shared history.

With a digital-first mission and focus, the initiative uses technology to amplify a diversity of women’s voices—not in one gallery or museum, but throughout the Smithsonian’s many museums, research centers, cultural heritage affiliates and wherever people are online—reaching millions of people in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the world.

We invite you to join us by sharing untold stories with our Women’s History Initiative. #BecauseOfHerStory

A group of African American women posed on a staircase
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative?

The Smithsonian launched the American Women’s History Initiative—Because Of Her Story—in  2018. The initiative is one of the country’s most ambitious undertakings to research, collect, document, display and share the compelling story of women. It is inclusive, highlighting the stories of those who identify as women and those who were designated female but self-identify differently.

The Smithsonian is working closely with members of the former American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission, which submitted a report to Congress in 2016. The report concluded that the Smithsonian is the natural place to honor women’s contributions to the nation.

How is the initiative being funded?

The American Women’s History Initiative is funded through a public-private partnership with Congress, the American people and private donors, corporations and foundations.

We are grateful to the following leadership donors who have contributed to the initiative as of Jan. 31, 2019:

19th Amendment Society
Mary and David Boies
The Case Foundation
Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation
Ford Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
David M. Rubenstein
Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation

Lead Donors
Acton Family Giving

Major Sponsors
Booz Allen Hamilton

First Century Leaders
Melissa and Trevor Fetter
Sakurako, Remy, Rose and Jess Fisher
Julie and Greg Flynn
Rick and Susan Goings Foundation
HISTORY/A+E Networks
Mrs. Kathleen K. Manatt and Michele A. Manatt
Sue Payne
Christine and William Ragland
Alison Wrigley Rusack
Deborah Sara Santana
Smithsonian Women's Committee

Why the Smithsonian?

For more than 170 years, the Smithsonian has been recognized around the world for its scholarship and collections, which are made up of national treasures and artifacts held in trust for the American people. Millions of visitors from all walks of life are drawn to our museums, free and open 364 days a year. They come to see themselves reflected in America’s diverse story and to understand their place in the world.

The curators and educators hired through the American Women’s History Initiative will fill the gaps in our national narrative, shedding light on untold women’s stories. 

Interested in making a gift?