2323 Broadway, Suite 107 San Diego, CA 92102 • Phone: (619) 233-7963  Fax: (619) 233-6327 • email: info@whmec.org

Our History and Timeline

The Women's History Museum and Educational Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1983 as the Women's History Reclamation Project. It was the life-long dream of its founder, Mary B. Maschal, and other women who realized that women were not included in the mainstream version of history. Mary B. Maschal spent a good part of her life collecting and preserving many historic artifacts that exemplify and document the life histories and achievements of many women, in both the United States and abroad.

For years, she created a living museum of women's history in her own home, filling virtually every room with historic documents, banners, posters, and books. Mary and others also reached out into the community, offering lectures on women's history to school children, professional and social organizations, and community groups. In 1995, at the behest of family and friends, Mary opened her home (WHRP headquarters) to the public and held an exhibition of her vast collection. The enthusiasm over Mary's collection, generated by the Open House, and the need in San Diego for a museum dedicated solely to women and their stories brought forth a renaissance of the Women's History Reclamation Project.

In 1996, the WHRP moved into the ART UNION Building in Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego so that it could be open to the public on a permanent basis. In December of 2003 the WHRP changed its name to the Women's History Museum and Educational Center or WHM.

Since 1996 the WHM has blossomed into a full-fledged women's history museum and valuable educational resource. With the help of many volunteers, the WHM features a variety of changing exhibits and displays on women's history, sponsors a monthly membership lecture series (also open to the public), maintains a library and research archive, and provides speakers for the community through its Speaker's Bureau. The WHM is a co-founder and sponsor of the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame.


WHM Timeline, History and Values
Women Making History Now

1983

• The Women’s History Reclamation Project (WHRP) founded and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

1984

• Mary B. Maschal receives a grant to conduct ORAL HISTORY interviews.

1995

• Open House - WHRP is introduced to San Diego.

• NOW and WHRP celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 21st amendment granting women the right to vote.

1996

• September - WHRP opens museum in the ART UNION Building in San Diego’s Golden Hill neighborhood.

1997

• WHRP Exhibit "Because It Needed to be Done" opens for Women's History Month.

• Summer Exhibit Opens: "By A Thread: A Quilted Journey Through Depression."

• Exhibit "A Wish for Peace" opens.

1998

• Celebrate '98 - 150th Anniversary of Seneca Falls Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego.

• WHRP receives award from the Lawyer's Club of San Diego.
Exhibit: "Inspiring Women: Women Trailblazers" opens.

1999

• WHRP begins Membership Lecture Series that continues through 2001 with "The Art and Legacy of Mary Cassat," presented by Susan Leonard.

• Strategic Planning Retreat - Community leaders and activists participate and develop a Strategic Plan for the future direction of the WHRP.

• WHRP moves into a larger facility, also located in the ART UNION Building.

• Exhibit "The Fabric of Women's Lives" opens. History of women's fashion in the U.S.

• Exhibit "A Peace for All" opens.

2000

• Exhibit: "Creating Their Own Path: Women Who Paved the Way" opens at the WHRP, SDSU Love Library, and the UCSD Women's Center to celebrate Women's History Month.

• WHRP hosts a Women's History Poetry Contest and opens exhibit: "In Our Own Voice: Women's History through Women's Poetry."

• WHRP receives $13,000 educational outreach grant from the City Heights Pilot Program to promote vertical learning among students at 3 City Heights area schools (elementary, junior, and senior) and SDSU undergraduate interns.

2001

• WHRP receives $10,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities to develop traveling exhibit “Women Who Dare”

• WHRP extends its hours to be more accessible and free to all patrons.

• WHRP installs four separate educational exhibits at its museum site and sponsored a traveling exhibit at the UCSD Women’s Center during the month of March.

2002

• First Annual Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony debuts as a collaboration between the WHRP, San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women, UCSD Women’s Center and SDSU Women’s Studies Department. Over 300 guests attend.

• The “Other Mother”, an exhibit intended to disturb the myth of the evil stepmother, opens in June with a lecture by creator and Arizona artist Karen Piovoty.

• WHRP embarks on a literacy campaign in the neighborhood of Golden Hill.  Through the generosity of donations from Harcourt Publishing, children’s books focusing on women in history were distributed at community reading events.

2003

• WHRP changes its name to the Women’s History Museum and Educational Center (WHMEC) to better reflect the nature of its programs and mission.

• Traveling exhibit “Women Who Dare: Shaping the Americas” opens across San Diego County.

• Judy Forman of the Big Kitchen Café hosts monthly fundraiser dinners to support the WHMEC.

• Through private donors, WHMEC begins an endowment fund.
“Apparel Americana,” a fundraising Fashion Show and lunch features WHMEC’s antique clothing collection.

2004

• WHMEC receives the first of two San Diego Commission on Arts and Culture Grants to continue the “Women Who Dare” exhibit into North and East Counties.

• In March, a delegation of Afghani women leaders visits with members of the San Diego County Commission on Women and other community leaders at the WHMEC for a workshop; the women donate a burka to the museum’s permanent collection.
County Supervisor Pamela Slater-Price awards the WHMEC $5,000 to bring “Women Who Dare: Shaping the Americas” to North County.

• The Exhibit “Ophelia Rising, A Dialogue with women of the past, women of today, woman with herself: an Installation by Andrea Singer” opens which analyzes historical undergarments since the 18th century.

2005

• Women’s History Art Initiative program partners with Women’s Hall of Fame to educate school-age children on women’s history.

• Film screening of Sisters of ’77, a documentary on the first National Women’s Conference in Houston, in honor of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2005) Original delegates were in attendance for a cross-cultural/cross-generational dialogue and discussion.

• The WHMEC served as the site for Assemblywoman Lori Saldana’s Woman of the Year event honoring longtime activist and community leader, Judy Foreman, owner of the Big Kitchen Café.

• In conjunction with the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women, the WHMEC held an event to announce the Beijing+10 report.

The Youth Art Project Committee, a critical component of the Women’s Hall of Fame, hosted an opening reception on April 15, 2005 for all the friends and family of the student participants in the project.

• Two opening receptions for our new permanent exhibit All Our Grandmothers, documenting the lives of African American and Native American women living in San Diego at the turn of the century.

• In conjunction with the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and the Women’s Intercultural Network, the WHMEC hosted Afghani women leaders in a presentation on June 16 about emerging activism in Afghanistan resulting in the donation of a Burkha for our museum. In August we hosted 2 women leaders from Uganda.

• In August 2005, a visual arts fundraiser collaborating with over 38 artists of the community for a show entitled Women on Top.

• In October, a series of cultural events celebrating “Day of the Dead” in partnership with Back from Tomboctou, a shop featuring Mexican and world imports, workshops and other classes.

2006

• Hosted the February meeting for the National Latina organization MANA de San Diego

• In partnership with San Diego City College, the WHMEC presented a film screening of Sisters of ’77 with original delegates from the first National Women’s Conference in Houston, TX.

• Hosted the 5th annual San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony with, for the first time, a sit-down catered dinner for over 300 guests at the UCSD Price Center Ballroom.

• Nationally-renowned author and psychological research Vikki Stark presents a workshop on sister relationships at the WHMEC in March 2006.

• The annual Women’s History Art Initiative (formerly the Youth Art Project) hosts its annual reception at the WHMEC on April 1, 2006.

• Two cross-cultural workshops uniting women with their ancestors are presented in May 2006 by Prof. Starla Lewis, Chair of Black Studies at Mesa College, and Alyce Smith-Cooper, ancestral storyteller and actor.

• Annual Women’s Equality Day Celebration on August 26, 2006 featured a fundraiser for the museum along with a raffle drawing, film screening of the suffrage film Iron Jawed Angels and several partner organizations including the Foundation for Women and the League of Women Voters.

• In October 2006, local artist collective Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go presented a temporary exhibit on the history of ‘zines (self-published magazines) and two zine-making workshops free to the public, including a youth workshops with the Girl Scouts of San Diego-Imperial County.

• On October 29, 2006, the WHMEC held the annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration with community altar building, music and poetry readings by young women of Hermanitas, a Latina mentorship program of MANA de San Diego.

Our Values

... Respecting and honoring all women and their experiences.
... Respecting all individuals’ beliefs, cultures and ideas.
... Inviting and encouraging participation and open dialogue from women, men and children.
... Integrity of our collection and in our presentation of women’s history.
... Diversity, cultural competence, cultural democracy and inclusion in our organizational structure.
... An organizational environment that builds and fosters open, honest, considerate communication and a spirit of cooperative problem solving, consensus and community.
... Planning, responsible decision-making, well-designed systems Accountability, and fiscal responsibility.
... Enthusiasm, positive attitude, creativity, recognition, humor, commitment, support, passion, acceptance.
... Human life and human rights.