This project began as an idea to create an online exhibition of women’s history in Waco, Texas to fulfill a graduation requirement for the Museum Studies program at Baylor University. Initially, it was going to be a site that provided a condensed biography of women who have helped shape the Waco community, along with photographs and other 2D and 3D objects to accompany their story. I wanted it to be interactive and visually stimulating and in a format that would be appealing for a large and diverse audience. I spent the summer scouring The Texas Collection on Baylor’s campus going through box after box of letters, diaries, photographs and anything else I thought could be used for this project and compiled information on twelve Waco women. And then I started thinking about what program I would use to virtually provide these histories and what I wanted people to gain from it. But first I had to determine what it meant to me.
Throughout my life I have been blessed to know many women who have been an unending source of guidance for me from my mother and her friends, my friends and aunts, my coworkers and schoolmates and all my female teachers from kindergarten to college. Within all of their stories is courage and resilience, compassion and understanding, persistence and power and a representation of women’s absolute strength and endurance. After thinking about how these women affected my life, I decided I wanted to present this project in way that was as accessible as possible and provided true interaction, and so I chose to do it as a blog. Blogs have become a pervasive form of communication and it is a platform that I think everyone who regularly uses the internet is familiar with. It also allows for readers to comment and discuss the stories and histories which was an important element for this project.
Many of the women you will encounter on this site will be unearthed from archives and libraries, at first starting in Waco but hopefully spreading much farther than that. However, I also hope that women will want to share their own stories with me that they think a reader could gain something from. This way I can present women whose histories have already been written and whose stories are still in progress.
I want this blog to serve a database of encouragement and inspiration as well as a tool for preserving and sharing all the ways in which women have shaped and continue to shape our world.
– Hannah Engstrom