Embracing curiosity, facing the world

By Betty Bayer special to the Finger Lakes Times

August’s summer light is giving way to September’s fall equinox in the Finger Lakes. It’s a great time to turn attention to all the things that make this world revolve to illuminate different — and sometimes new — angles on what we think we see, know or understand. That’s also the heart of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, founded in 1969 by a group of citizens wondering about the angle of the sun on women’s lives and worlds. They had tasked themselves with charting the world of American women’s history if told by the public. That is: What did we miss? Who was doing the observing and documenting? Who would the public say were and are the women rewriting the world as we know it? In short: Who are the revolutionary women?

It was and is a bold mission, and its steadfast work has led to a museum that has outgrown its space — that’s news worth celebrating and all about our rehabilitation of the 1844 Seneca Knitting Mill. This Sept. 16 the Hall inducts 10 women, making its record-to-date 276 women writing the American story. But that’s the narrative from the Hall’s side. Recent interviews with some of the 10 inductees coming to Seneca Falls this month to receive their honors tell what it means to become recognized as part of a group making history in the nation’s oldest membership and public women’s history museum. This is worthy of its own telling as the Hall nears its 50th anniversary.

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