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Ahead of the Curve exhibit opens next week in Olympia

OLYMPIA — Legacy Washington, the Office of the Secretary of State’s oral history program, highlights trailblazing Washington women in a new exhibit, Ahead of the Curve: Washington Women Lead the Way. There will be an opening reception Thursday, September 19, at 3 p.m., in the state reception room of the Capitol building in Olympia.

By looking at both historical and contemporary women, the project highlights the pioneering spirit of some larger-than-life women and little known stories with big impacts on Washington, the nation, and beyond. Speakers at the reception will include Secretary of State Kim Wyman, former Governor Chris Gregoire, Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp, philanthropist Trish Millines Dziko, historian Stephanie Coontz, and TV newswoman Lori Matsukawa. The opening is a public event and all are invited to attend.

Washington has been Ahead of the Curve since it first granted women the right to vote in 1883. In 1910 our state became the fifth to include women’s suffrage in its constitution; a decade ahead of the nation. The exhibit, online profiles, a printed book, lesson plans, and a student contest coming later this month will set the stage for the 2020 centennial of women’s suffrage. The panoramic exhibit panels in the lobby of the Office of the Secretary of State spotlight suffrage pioneers as well as remarkable women now leading the way in our state and around the world. There are 21 women in all — from pioneer educator Josephine Corliss Preston of Walla Walla, the first Washington woman elected to statewide office; to University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. More information can be found on the Legacy Washington website.