advertisement

Welcome to a national park site dedicated to women’s history, its status officially proclaimed by President Obama on April 12, 2016. The National Park Service roster of 417 national park units includes only a dozen or so focused on women’s stories, so this is significant. Formerly known as the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, this unassuming federal-style, old brick house situated next to the Senate Hart Office Building has been the home of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) since 1929. (In 1997, the NWP switched from being a political party to an organization focused on education and advocacy.) Suffragist and organizer extraordinaire Alice Paul founded the NWP in 1917 to fight for women’s rights, including the right to vote, granted finally by Congress’s passage of the 19th amendment on June 4, 1919, and eventual official adoption into the Constitution on August 26, 1920. In 2019, you can expect to find a range of 19th-amendment-focused programs as the site prepares to celebrate its centennial. The house is a repository of suffragist memorabilia, banners, political buttons, photos of events and other artifacts, 2,600 in all, of which 250 are on view. You can walk through the first level on your own, but I’d recommend a staff-led tour, as the guides tell the stories of individual heroines. Susan B. Anthony you will have heard of. But Alva Belmont, Inez Milholland Boissevain, and Febb Burn?
Note: Renovations underway in 2019 may mean the closure of certain rooms and possibly the second floor during your visit.