City Life Org – New-York Historical Society exhibit commemorates 50th anniversary of Title IX

Image credit: Women make politics, not coffee pin button, New-York Historical Society, Gift of Frank de Caro, 2018.16.9

The New-York Historical Society is pleased to present Title IX: Activism on and off the field, on view May 13 through September 4, 2022. The exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of Title IX, an addition to the Education Amendments Act of 1972 that fundamentally reshaped American society by prohibiting gender-based discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal assistance. . Best known for its twin hotbeds of athletic and sexual harassment, Title IX covers a wide swath of American educational life, from K-12 to higher education, thanks to activists and lawmakers determined to secure the benefits education for all students. Presented at the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, the exhibition immerses visitors in the spaces most deeply shaped by legislation and highlights the crucial work of women activists to demand that their institutions and government fulfill the promises of the law. .

“Fifty years ago, with just a few words, the federal government sought to prevent gender discrimination in education,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “As our latest exhibit from the Center for Women’s History shows, the path to the creation of Title IX and the ensuing years since its adoption have been strewn with successes and obstacles, with activists advocating for equality opportunities in the classroom and on the pitch and protection from sexual harassment.We hope that visitors will be inspired by the story on display as they reflect on how they too can contribute to a fairer future.

The exhibition traces the trajectory of Title IX and its impact today. The first section, “On the Hill and the Bench,” captures the legislative and legal battles over Title IX limits that have unfolded in the halls of Congress and the court system. Exhibits document the work of activists across the country whose personal experiences of gender discrimination in education and professional careers with federal government agencies have made them uniquely qualified to advocate for meaningful Title IX regulation. and to defend the law against amendments intended to weaken it. Items include an image of a Title IX third birthday party – hosted by supporters and attended by members of Congress including Shirley Chisholm – and a “God Bless Title IX” badge distributed by activists to supporters, to politicians and government staff to signal their support for the legislation.

“On Campus” features personal items related to student protests, from the Yale Women’s Crew sweatshirt worn at a 1976 “strip-in” protest, to flyers and signs made for protests against sexual violence on the campus. campus. These personal items, along with photographs and a recreation of a campus kiosk advertising Take Back the Night events over the past 30 years, convey the passion and commitment of these students.

In a space reminiscent of a stadium, the next section explores the explosion of girls and women practicing sport and fitness after Title IX passed. Although Title IX was based on the Civil Rights Act, the federal government ultimately approved gender-segregated sports following extensive debate among women’s rights organizations, athletic organizations, schools and students. Artifacts of professional athletes and the consumer culture that has sprung up to celebrate them – from Barbie dolls to Wheaties boxes – chart opportunities for female athletes and new norms of femininity and strength.

“In the Classroom” includes material documenting how Title IX has helped parents, teachers, and schools create new programs that challenge gender stereotypes. Children’s books and school materials from the 1970s to the present show how the understanding of gender has changed, as has the definition of sex discrimination in Title IX.

The exhibition ends with a celebration of the law’s achievements and a glimpse of what remains to be done. It suggests how the next generation of activists could use, reform or reinvent the law to fight gender discrimination in educational spaces.

Title IX: Activism on and off the field is organized by the New-York Historical’s Center for Women’s History and is curated by Curator of Women’s History Collections Laura Mogulescu, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows in the Center for Women’s History Allison Robinson and Anna Danziger Halperin, and Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellows Keren Ben-Horin and Karintha Lowe with Valerie Paley, Senior Vice President, Sue Ann Weinberg Director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library and Founding Director of the Center for Women’s History.


This year’s annual Diane and Adam E. Max Lecture on Women’s History The conference is being held virtually and includes a mix of pre-recorded and live conversations focusing on the history and legacy of Title IX. Billie Jean King provides the opening speechand in another thread, activists who were at the heart of the fight and recount their efforts to create a legislative and legal framework for equality that endures to this day. Additional conversations on the multiple interpretations of Title IX – and its limitations – will be published in line. Private, in-person group tours led by exhibit docents can also be scheduled.


main support for Title IX: Activism on and off the field is provided by Northern Trust. Additional support is provided by Ernst & Young LLP. Exhibits at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with support from the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.

About the New York Historical Society

Discover 400 years of history through groundbreaking exhibits, immersive films, and thought-provoking conversations between renowned historians and public figures at the New-York Historical Society, New York’s premier museum. A great destination for history since 1804, the Patricia D. Klingenstein Museum and Library conveys the stories of the diverse populations of the city and country, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we have become. Always up to the challenge of bringing to light little or unknown stories, New-York Historical will soon inaugurate a new annex housing its Academy for American Democracy as well as the American LGBTQ+ Museum. These latest efforts to help shape the future by documenting the past join New York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Women’s History Center. Digital exhibitions, applications and our For the ages podcast allow visitors from around the world to dive deeper into the story. Join us on or at @nyhistory on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Youtubeand tumblr.

James C. Tibbs