York Castle Museum

Powerful Women, Hidden Histories

From March 2018

A new series of displays commemorating the centenary of female suffrage.

In February 1918, Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act, which gave the vote to (some) women in Britain for the first time. The Act was a significant milestone in female emancipation, widening the sphere within which women were able to exercise power and influence.

But does the great importance of this event lead us sometimes to overlook other ways, throughout history, that women have been powerful?

Women may not always have held power publicly, but they have always been powerful. They may not always have been able to have a role in politics, but their role has always been political. This trail around the museum’s displays highlights the stories of women, some known and some unrecorded, that can be told through the objects and buildings that we preserve – stories of powerful women and their hidden histories.