Mass. Historical Society to Feature Wentworth Student Work in Women’s Suffrage Exhibition

April 10, 2019

Students sitting in a lecture hall

Photo by Sarah Sherard


The Massachusetts Historical Society will open an exhibition later this month centered on a woman’s right to vote and a few Wentworth students will find their work front and center.

The exhibition, “Can She Do It?” looks at the debate in Massachusetts over what would ultimately become the 19th Amendment, which marks its centennial anniversary this year. Curated by Assistant Professor Allison Lange, the exhibition will display work created by Wentworth students in her “Digital Women’s History” class.

Lange’s students have been creating documentaries over the last two semesters related to the women’s suffrage movement and those videos will be shown by the Historical Society from April 26 to September 21. The videos have proved to be a hands-on teaching tool for her students where they are tasked with researching a specific aspect of the movement.

Lange believes that her students are taught the relevance of history while also learning how they can use a modern technology to tell a story about the past.

Students Mona Dias, Haimanot Hailu, and Fatima Hussein worked together to research an important woman in history named Maud Wood Park, who formed a college equal suffrage league. The students all have different majors unrelated to history: Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Information Systems. However, all three see the importance of the material in this class, this project, and in women’s history.

“People at Wentworth should take a look at the video, because when I was in high school, we didn’t learn about any of these people,” says Hussein.

Anthony Sentner-Rego, a sophomore in Construction Management, and Andrew Croteau, a first-year Mechanical Engineering student, have focused on a documentary about women’s suffrage in college and also include Maud Wood Park.

“In general, we learned about the perseverance of women,” says Anthony, noting the backlash Park faced. Both students agree that this class taught them about a “strength of women” previously unknown to them.

The students, in growing an appreciation for women’s history, also formed an appreciation for how the class is taught.

“I appreciate that it’s not lectures, and that it’s interactive and we’re given the option of exploring something that we didn’t know about and that we want to know more about,” says Samantha Plant, a senior in Industrial Design.

Plant, along with her other group members, are creating a documentary about the intersectionality of women’s suffrage. She emphasizes that she’s learned a lot more about women’s history, recommending the class “because it’s important to know about what happened and what’s happening for women.”

In another group, student Chelsea Dillon researches about suffragist Lucy Stone and further explains the relevance of the class by saying, “Unfortunately, it’s been an ongoing fight for women throughout history trying to make an impact and they do, but they’re not always spoken about, which is why we’re talking about Lucy Stone.”

Lange reflects on the importance of the class and the unique learning process by saying that Digital Women’s History teaches students to “use digital tools to tell stories...They hone new technological and analytical skills to tell their own story about the past. It’s essential for students, especially at STEM schools, to not just learn about history but to create their own histories.”

The Massachusetts Historical Society is located at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston.

--Sarah Sherard


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