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A Travelling Exhibition Opportunity
“Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote” was a phrase attributed to Manitoba’s Premier Sir Rodmond Roblin during a heated exchange with suffragist Nellie McClung. Now it’s the title of an exhibit commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the right to vote for women in Manitoba in 1916.
On January 28, 1916, the Manitoba Legislature amended the Manitoba Election Act and for the first time in the province’s history, (most) women could vote. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Manitoba becoming the first province to extend the vote to women, The Manitoba Museum is inviting all Canadians to participate in this history, with the creation of this travelling exhibit as well as a teacher’s guide.
“Social and political movements don’t leave many objects behind,” says Roland Sawatzky, Curator of History at The Manitoba Museum. “Things like banners, flags, and pamphlets are often lost or thrown away after a movement succeeds (or fades).”
Sawatzky put out a call into the community looking for artefacts in January 2015. He heard from many people, willing to donate or lend their ancestor’s precious heirlooms. One of the most interesting is the side of a house where a rural woman had painted “Vote for Women” and the story goes that her husband had scrawled “NO” in front of it.
“History is never neat and tidy, and the history of the franchise (the right to vote) in Canada is about as messy as it comes,” says Sawatzky. “While 1916 was a big year for voting rights, Manitoba being the first province in the country to extend the right to vote to women, we do need to remember that this was only for some women. In Manitoba, First Nations people living on reserves and receiving an annuity from the Crown were barred from voting until the mid-20th century.”
“Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote” outlines the historical context of the Suffragist movement and commemorates the 100th anniversary of women in Manitoba winning the right to vote. It provides an opportunity for Canadians to deepen their knowledge of voting and women’s rights.
Opening at The Manitoba Museum on November 5, 2015, “Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote” will run until April 10, 2016. A portable version of the exhibit will travel around Manitoba and Canada.
Content: English and French; Teacher’s Guide
Size: 300 sq. ft.; 4 cases
Available: Begins touring 2016
For more information please contact Hanna Peters, Exhibits Manager 204-988-0655 or e-mail [email protected]
Her Honour the Honourable Janice C. Filmon, CM, OM Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba