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Putnam Museum Opens New Suffrage Exhibit

Putnam Museum

  When women won the right to vote a hundred years ago, residents of the Quad Cities played a role. The new exhibit at the Putnam Museum in Davenport is called "Liberated Voices / Changed Lives: Quad Cities Women's Suffrage."  

The exhibit opened last weekend, and runs through August, the 100th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment. Rachael Mullins is the CEO of the Putnam.

"It's  a really exciting moment for us to be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary, celebrate our collection of objects and innovations that were tied to this anniversary date," said Mullins. "But we also can really engage our community in the contemporary issue and continuing work around women's issues."

The exhibit also includes re-enactors for famous Quad Cities suffragists and anti-suffragists. Among them is Mabel Palmer, a Davenport journalist and activist in the suffrage movement. Inventor Eldorado Jones, another notable Quad Cities suffragist, opened a factory that produced her own electric irons.

Christina Kastell, Putnam's Curator of History and Anthropology, says the exhibit took around a year to put together, and includes information from historians and academics across the Quad Cities. All in all, the exhibit includes more than 100 artifacts, 14 video profiles, and a handful of political cartoons and illustrations from the era.

The exhibit received support from Humanities Iowa, the Royal Neighbors of America, and the Scott County Regional Authority. 

I'm currently a Senior at Augustana College, working on majors in Multimedia Journalism and Mass Communication and Communication Studies. In addition to interning at the station, I also work for the Augustana Observer, the college's official student newspaper, as a writer for the Arts and Entertainment section.