Representation matters. What we see on the screen, on the stage, and in the recording studio shapes our understanding of the world and what is possible. The trailblazing female entertainers featured in the Smithsonian’s collections shattered stereotypes and gender norms to redefine who could be an entertainer in America. Many entertainers gained celebrity through entertainment and used that celebrity to actively change society.

Collection Objects

Learn the stories behind these featured objects or explore more entertaining women in the collections.



Smithsonian American Women book cover.

Smithsonian American Women

Remarkable objects and stories of strength, ingenuity, and vision from the National Collection.

Smithsonian American Women book cover.