Representation matters. Who we see on screen and on stage, and who we hear on recordings, shapes our understanding of the world. The trailblazing women entertainers featured in the Smithsonian’s collections shattered stereotypes and gender norms to redefine who could tell stories in America. Many entertainers used their celebrity to actively change society.
Learn the stories behind these featured objects or explore more entertaining women in the collections.
Grades 6–12. Time: Variable (1–3 class periods). Aligned to CCSS and C3 standards.
In this lesson plan, students will learn how the legacy of Dolores del Río, the first major Latinx actress in Hollywood, can help us reflect on how various cultures affect our identity.
Women and FolkSmithsonian Folkways Recordings
Gender discrimination and segregation has often posed a considerable barrier for women musicians, but women have overcome these obstacles either via direct protest or by simply performing certain instruments or songs. In addition, the topic matter of the music has also been used to further women's rights and other political and social causes. When women in the United States earned the right to vote in 1920, the lyrics of traditional hymns and patriotic anthems were changed to assert their demands for suffrage. Listen to a small sample of Smithsonian Folkways folk music created by and about these brave and daring women.
Smithsonian American Women
Remarkable objects and stories of strength, ingenuity, and vision from the National Collection.Buy the Book