Celebrating Women In Science and Museum Day Live

March is Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. In recognition of this celebration, the Smithsonian is coordinating a special edition of its signature Museum Day Live! event in a nationwide effort with museums and cultural institutions around the country to reach women and girls in underserved communities.

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Held on March 12, 2016, Museum Day Live! will encourage all people, and particularly women and girls of color, to explore their nation’s museums, cultural institutions, zoos, aquariums, parks and libraries—which will offer free admission for the day.

The event is also intended to encourage people, especially young women, to think about careers in museums, libraries, and research. To this end, there will be a special career-focused event on March 12 in the Smithsonian Castle Commons in Washington, DC, consisting of lightning round discussions with museum professionals about careers in museums, a mix and mingle, and information tables. The discussions will be at 11:30am and 2:30pm EST; the mix and mingle will be from 1-2:30pm EST; the tables will be open from 12:30-3pm EST.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is partnering with the Smithsonian Libraries, one of its founding Members, to host one of the information tables at the Museum Day Live! career event. The purpose of the tables is to expose people, especially students, to the wide range of careers and units within the Smithsonian, as well as any opportunities that they may be able to participate in.

If you’re in the area, we encourage you to stop by the Smithsonian Castle Commons (1000 Jefferson Drive, SW Washington, DC 20560) anytime between 12:30-3pm EST to talk with staff from both BHL and the Smithsonian Libraries about careers in libraries and ways that you can get involved with our organizations today. The Smithsonian Libraries is also hosting another fun event during the day called “Explore the Four,” which encourages visitors to explore all four of the Libraries’ current exhibits.

Celebrating Women in Natural History, BHL-Style

To celebrate both Women’s History Month and in recognition of the event’s mission to reach young women in particular, we’ll be handing out special cards at the information table highlighting BHL’s Notable Women in Natural History collection. This collection includes links to our Early Women in Science online exhibition (curated by Laurel E. Byrnes and funded by a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee), our collection of books authored, edited, or illustrated by women, and our Women Illustrators in Natural History Flickr collection containing over 1,500 biodiversity images illustrated by women. All images in the Flickr collection have also been tagged with the name of the artist (Check out the “tags” section and you’ll see entries for “artist:name=[Insert Artist Name]”).

Additionally, since the Museum Day Live! event is also focused on sharing ways that people can get involved with libraries and cultural institutions around the country, we’re encouraging visitors (and all of our online audiences!) to add species name machine tags to the images in the Women Illustrators in Natural History Flickr collection. These tags describe the species illustrated in each image and allow scientists and people all over the world to more easily discover visual resources about plants and animals of interest. Learn how you can help add tags to BHL images today.

We hope you’ll visit us at the Smithsonian Libraries information table on March 12, from 12:30-3pm EST, at the Smithsonian Castle Commons. If you can’t make it in person, we encourage you to explore our Notable Women in Natural History collection on BHL and find out how you can get involved in BHL no matter where you live.

We’re excited to celebrate all women and girls, past and present, at Museum Day Live!, all this month, and everyday of the year. Happy Women’s History Month!


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Grace Costantino served as the Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library from 2014 to 2021. In this capacity, she developed and managed BHL's communication strategy, oversaw social media initiatives, and engaged with the public to excite audiences about the wealth of biodiversity heritage available in BHL. Prior to her role as Outreach and Communication Manager, Grace served as the Digital Collections Librarian for Smithsonian Libraries and as the Program Manager for BHL.