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College Park, Maryland
Celebrating and Exploring Women’s Military Service
Participants crowd around century-old women’s military uniforms in a storage facility at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Image courtesy of the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 2016, the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to host 100 Years of American Women in Uniform, a program for women veterans. 38 women veterans from 10 states and Washington, D.C. participated in the program, which spanned four weekends. Participants explored a wide variety of materials from a century of women’s military history—including diaries, documents, photos, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the Smithsonian collection. They enjoyed expert-led sessions, including several reflective writing exercises. And they learned how to contribute their and other veterans’ stories to the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project. 100 Years helped deepen women veterans’ senses of identity and solidarity, as well as achieve greater visibility. As one participant wrote, “I had no idea how long women had been serving in the U.S. or any idea of the magnitude of their contributions. This program made me feel like I am part of a legacy.”

“This program has helped me process things I didn’t even know I needed to process.”
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