A Wonderful Evening at the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center

At Baltimore Heritage’s 2022 Preservation Celebration, the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center won a $500 microgrant to buy this tv screen! (Image courtesy of Kalin Thomas)

Last Thursday, the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center (formerly the Women’s Industrial Exchange) hosted Baltimore Heritage and friends for a fabulous behind-the-scenes evening. We got to see an array of artifacts (many of which were found on the second floor of the building, untouched for decades) and exhibits that show how the building continues to honor Maryland women. We saw the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, which includes people like Margaret Brent, Pauli Murray, and Major General Linda Singh.

Pauli Murray, Civil Rights activist, advocate, legal scholar and theorist, author and – later in life – an Episcopal priest

We also viewed the Valiant Maryland Women: The Fight for Suffrage exhibit, which featured Baltimoreans Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Etta Maddox, and Augusta Chissell, among other Maryland women. Dr. Amy Rosenkrans then gave us a fabulous historical overview of the Women’s Industrial Exchange, the third oldest women’s exchange in the country! This was a place for down-on-their-luck women to sell crafts and goods to support themselves. It also had an affordable and delicious lunchroom.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, abolitionist, suffragist, poet, temperance activist, teacher, public speaker, and writer

She also highlighted where she wants her research to go in the future. If you have memories or stories about the Women’s Industrial Exchange, or know anything about Baltimore’s Colored Women’s Industrial Exchange, please contact her at amyrosenkransphd@gmail.com.

Image courtesy of Kalin Thomas

Be sure to check out the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center to hear about the courageous, pioneering and often forgotten women that have made Maryland the great state is it today.


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