Photo Courtesy of Maria Smith.

Hi all, I’m Maria! I was born and raised in Michigan, where I spent most of my summers hiking and wandering around historic sites in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I left the mitten three years ago to continue my education in New York and am a recent doctoral candidate in Anthropology with a focus in archaeology. My current research is focused on Colonial textile producers, mainly women and girls, who lived in Ayacucho, Peru, where I spend my summers eating causa, excavating, and reading archival documents. 

I have always loved history and reading. As a kid I loved the Little House series and wanted to have an adventurous life like the one Laura Ingalls Wilder had lived. My interest in girlhood in the past stems from my fascination with prairie life and the Little House series, although my current interests have moved deeper in the past.  While I still love to read much of my free time is now spent traveling and hiking. As an archaeologist I travel frequently for work, and I enjoy sightseeing in my free time. My favorite place to hike is still in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and I try to catch a sunset or five over Lake Superior every summer. I would love to work in many sectors, but my dream job would allow me to spend time with artifacts and to educate people. 

My favorite museum is currently the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although it is a small, local museum, they have a variety of interesting and interactive exhibits. I especially admire their dedication to include the local history in all of their exhibits. Almost all of their exhibits, regardless of the topic, include a discussion of the Grand Rapids area. For example, their exhibit on Civil Rights has a large section on the Civil Rights movement in Grand Rapids. I think that this helps to engage people into larger national and international conversations, histories, and movements.  The biggest issue facing girls today continues to be sexual assault. According to RAINN one in nine girls under the age of 18 experience sexual assault, with increased risk for transgender and Native Americans. Sexual assault can have long-term effects, including PTSD, increased risk of drug use, and increased risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. These long-term effects can place girls at a disadvantaged position and have lasting impacts throughout their life.

-Maria Smith
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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