On New Year’s Eve ten years ago I slept on the floor of an empty apartment in Brooklyn. With only my coat for a pillow and blanket, I was pretty sure it was time to leave New York. I had a Masters degree in Art history and sent out over a hundred resumes over the previous 6 months, with very little luck. After a couple of interviews, several where I was told the ever-insulting “you are overqualified for this entry level role” and a few where I was told in so many words that I didn’t look the part, I was ready to get out. The art world was still rubbish and the museum industry was even more up itself than it had been earlier in the decade when I had made my first (second, actually) go of an NYC life. What kept me going was a few freelance and volunteer theatre gigs (that’s right, I fell back on my theatre training), some great friends and a desire to do something important.
With the explosion of social media and available information on the internet, everything seemed in flux, especially the way we interact with art, culture, and each other. With an upbringing in social justice, it all came together the night I dreamt of Girl Museum—a safe space on the web where girls could go, see themselves, be empowered, and find pathways to better futures. So I founded a museum, a nonprofit, at the height of the fallout from the financial crash of 2008. Girl Museum was born on March 12, 2009. And I was reborn. I had tapped into strength and drive that had been battered and bruised by trying to fit my alternative POV and methods into a mainstream career. Trying to be a thing that didn’t exist yet was exhausting. I remembered the little girl me who was so brave and free—she gave me the strength and permission to go for it.
I took back my power by putting my mission and agenda—to promote girls, girl culture and girl history, through a new means, a virtual museum. A museum anyone with a connection can access anytime the wish. By providing a platform, it was my dream to help other girls realize their power. Not only though the programs and exhibitions we create, but also through working with us, gaining skills and experience to launch their own careers and pathways. And we have done this. It has been the greatest professional reward I could have hoped for.
Happy birthday to all of us.
-Ashley E. Remer
Founder & Head Girl
Girl Museum Inc.