At Girl Museum, we aim to find out.
Realizing that many “history of the world” programs routinely left out the stories of young girls, we scoured the globe for objects that would bring to light girls’ daily lives, struggles, and heroism. Each week in 2017, we’ll add a new story about an object integral to understanding the history and current culture of girlhood. The result is 52 Objects in the History of Girls, which showcase their incredible lives, the issues they faced, and what it says about being a girl.
For a sneak peek at the amazing stories awaiting you, listen to our introductory podcast below:
Teachers & Students
Where in the World is…?
Want to know where these 52 objects come from? Or find ones in or near your country? Check out our map documenting the locations of our 52 objects.
Now, journey with us to explore the history of girls…
as told in 52 amazing objects.
It's pretty, this little bracelet. Looks like many bangles I see young girls wearing. Would you want to wear it? You only have to sign away your life. This ankle bracelet was worn by a girl slave in Niger. And she lived within your lifetime. Originally collected by...read more
Can you imagine being in high school and discovering that a mining company is coming to destroy your home? That's what happened to Ana Sandoval, a young land rights defender in Guatemala, who dared to stand up and protect her community. As a teenager, Ana co-founded...read more
She seems so happy. Both of them do, actually. They look like any two schoolgirls, having a laugh in the hallway. But that's not just any school. The young girl in this photograph was a member of the Ladd School for the Retarded in the 1980s. She was mentally...read more
This headdress was worn by a Maasai girl less than fifty years ago. Native to southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, the Maasai are a semi-nomadic people, known for living alongside animals and an aversion to eating game and birds. Because of their lifestyle, East...read more
We like to think of dolls as soft and cuddly, even the plastic ones are meant to be "cute". These are constructed, typically by male designers, and marketed to girls to teach them what and how they should behave. This sounds a bit extreme, but bear with me. Dolls...read more
For centuries, it was a taboo for European and American girls and women to wear pants, until the 1970s. Crocheting, knitting, sewing: the art of crafting your own clothes goes back ages and was very common during most of the 20th century. Most girls learned about...read more
These pieces of stained glass are so small, you would think that their story was just as small. But it isn't. It started like any other day. September 15, 1963, dawned clear and bright on the town of Birmingham, Alabama. A racially divided town known for violent...read more
Do you know why women menstruate? Do you know what the word menstruation means? If your primary source of sex education came from American "educational" films from the 1940s-1960s, you probably have only a vague idea about most things related to sex and puberty....read more
Look at her. I wonder if she's smiling behind the camera. If she burst out laughing with her companion after they snapped photos of one another. I wonder what her name is, and whether this was where she called her true home. She was probably a lesbian. Though we...read more
Despite seeing images all over the news of refugee children, it is still very hard for us imagine what it would be like to have to leave your home, your family, your country. To get on a train or a boat, not knowing where you are going but suspecting that you may...read more
Before it became law in 1939, there were tens of thousands of girls signed up to the Hitler Youth organisations. The League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Mädel [BDM]) was the female section of the Hitler Youth founded in 1930. The purpose of BDM was to...read more