Volunteering- Essex celebrates Essex Women!

I’m sure everyone running projects like ours says at some point ’we couldn’t have done this without our volunteers’- in this case it is so true! This week we are joining the the celebrations for National Volunteers’ Week to say a big Thank You to our volunteers

Five of the volunteers

Some of the many volunteers who made the Festival happen

 

The Festival in March could only happen because people volunteered to speak, brought stands and activities and acted as stewards. Thanks also to the great student volunteers who joined us for that day. Without volunteers we couldn’t have spent the day celebrating #StrongEssexWomen

 

 

The travelling exhibition

Snapping the Stiletto traveling exhibition at Epping Forest District Museum

The stories told in our travelling exhibition were researched by volunteers across Essex who uncovered photographs, dug around in museum archives, hunted out newspaper clippings, tracked family records, visited record offices and helped transcribe oral histories and notebooks. The exhibition itself was created by volunteers who took the time to come along to training to help with this and then put this training in action by writing the panels you can see at some of our partner museums.

In the last two weeks we have managed to get a stand out at events and spoken to nearly 400 people – this wouldn’t have happened without Jo and Lily- so thank you! Jo and Yvonne will be at the Planet Essex Festival at Cressing Temple Barns on June 22nd– come along and chat to them.

Lily and Jo running our stand at the Seaside Revival day in Clacton

We also have a large group of volunteers who regularly spend a few minutes online sharing stories and news about the project and our partner museums. Every minute counts and we estimate that this team of social media champions have contributed 28 hours to the project and helped us spread news and stories much more widely than we could have without them.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @snapthestiletto

Have a look at the variety of volunteer challenges still live – even if you can only spare us a few minutes every contribution is valuable and valued

So far, we have been helped and supported by more than 200 volunteers and we are proud to be able to say that the success of this project is largely due to the people of Essex joining us to celebrate the amazing achievements of Essex women over the last 100 years.

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Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in the UK, US and Canada and aims to highlight the contribution of women to events in history and contemporary society. International Women’s Day is celebrated during the month on March 8th.

 

One of the ideas behind ‘Snapping the Stiletto’ is to help museums increase the visibility of women in their collections and to tell some of the hidden stories of the strong Essex women who lived and worked in the county. Some initial work has uncovered Essex women who have campaigned for a range of different causes, represented us in parliament worked in science, industry and medicine making some amazing discoveries, directed archaeological digs, written and illustrated some of our favourite books for children and adults, created art, acted, made music and have generally made a huge contribution in a range of fields.

To celebrate Women’s History Month we will be tweeting about a different Essex woman every day (@snapthestiletto). The first group of women we are celebrating are all campaigners who felt strongly about a cause and decided to do something about it. Some were wealthier than other and could use money and family influence to help them, others were well educated and used this advantage to create better conditions for others. Some were ‘ordinary’ women who saw injustice and decided to campaign for a cause.

Check our Twitter feed on March 5th to find out more about this woman

Some of these women are well documented but for others we know very little and the project will aim to find out more about them, their lives and campaigns and their legacy. We will also be working to find women who are, as yet, unknown or unnamed and to get material from archives and museum collections to tell their stories and celebrate their achievements. One story that intrigues me at the moment is that of a group of women in Harlow who banded together to protest against a National Front gathering in the town and apparently managed to turn the group away- I’d love to find out more!

Following on from the campaigners will be the women whose achievements were in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and maths). Please keep an eye on our twitter feed and help us celebrate strong Essex women.

Oh, and if anyone asks- International Men’s day is November 19th– the comedian Richard Herring does sterling work every March 8th letting people know about this (@Herring1967) and is raising money for Refuge at the same time.