In March 2020, the HSHSL was celebrating Women’s History Month with a gallery exhibit featuring the accomplishments of the First Women of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Unfortunately, a week after the exhibit opened, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Maryland and the university transitioned to mandatory telework. During the shutdown, the exhibit sat for months, unseen in a deserted gallery. Now, two years later, the HSHSL is showing a new, expanded version of the First Women of the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the HSHSL Weise Gallery.
The exhibit honors women who paved the way for progress and change at UMB. When the university was founded in 1807 as the College of Medicine of Maryland, women were not permitted to enroll in coursework. Nor were women present on the faculty or staff until much later in the university’s history. When women were finally admitted – first as students, and later as faculty members to the UMB schools – they faced intense hardship, criticism, and discrimination. They endured, nevertheless, and their remarkable contributions and achievements have paved the way for future UMB women students, faculty, and leaders.
This exhibit highlights nearly 150 years of women’s history at UMB. Its panels feature the stories of Dr. Emilie Foeking, Louisa Parsons, Dr. Lady Mary Johnson, Ruth Lee Briscoe, Dr. B. Olive Cole, Dr. Teresa Ora Snaith, Esther E. McCready, Dr. Ruth H. Young, Dr. Barbara C. Hansen, Alice Cary, and Dr. Natalie D. Eddington. In addition, two supporting exhibit cases feature works by UMB women authors from the HSHSL collection.
The exhibit will remain on display in the Weise Gallery through April 2022.