NORWICH, N.Y. – To commemorate Women’s History Month, the Chenango County Historical Society (CCHS) has launched a virtual exhibit highlighting the accomplishments of 21 women, one from each of the towns in Chenango County. “Women of Chenango County” launched on March 1 and continues throughout this month.
Generously funded by a grant from the Roger Follett Foundation, “Women of Chenango County” is the culmination of research conducted over the course of two semesters. Curated by CCHS Intern Marie Moren, the exhibit explores the narratives of local women whose impact on history may not be widely known.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Follett Foundation, we are able to share these amazing stories of Chenango County women who left an indelible mark on our communities,” said Jessica Moquin, CCHS executive director. “Support for programs like this ensures that we are able to continue preserving and celebrating our cultural heritage even in the midst of the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in.”
The collection of stories spans nearly two centuries and features individuals from a variety of distinct backgrounds. Vignettes include the stories of PVT Sarah Rosetta “Lyons” Wakeman, who was among the countless women who disguised themselves as men in order to serve in the Civil War, and Alida Avery, the first women licensed to practice medicine in Colorado, among many others. “There were so many women from Chenango County that I simply did not learn about until researching for and curating this exhibit. My eyes were opened to the sheer force of will that many women from Chenango County do not get credit for in wider circles,” said Moren.
As Moren describes, this impact is strikingly evident. “These women provide stories of inspiration for all the women, little girls, and anyone else in the county. I know I certainly take inspiration from each and every one of these women, especially Alida Avery. Knowing that a woman who grew up in the same town as me and successfully went on to become the first certified female doctor in Colorado serves as inspiration every single day.
“The ways in which we tell history have evolved, but history stays the same throughout; it’s just a matter of taking the time to uncover the stories of those who might have been forgotten.”
“Women of Chenango County” is now available for viewing at www.ChenangoHistorical.org. At the conclusion of Women’s History Month, the exhibit will remain available on the website, both as a celebration of these unique women, and as a resource for those interested in discovering more about the heritage of Chenango County.
First established in 1939, CCHS received an absolute charter in 1956. Ward School No. 2 was acquired in 1958 with renovations beginning immediately. Since reopening as a museum in 1962, the former school’s campus has been home of the CCHS for more than five decades. The primary organization dedicated to actively and comprehensively preserving the history of Chenango County, CCHS celebrates local culture – unique traditions, noteworthy residents, and unusual stories. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607) 334-9227.