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.

Collection Objects

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

Conversation Kit



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.