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Archives entrusted to TWU

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Although the Women's Museum in Dallas is closed, it plans to leave a legacy by giving its archives to Texas Woman's University.

The archives will become part of the Woman's Collection in TWU's Blagg-Huey Library.

"We wanted the museum not to simply close the door but have a legacy," said Ann Abbe, interim CEO for the Women's Museum. The museum closed in October after the organization decided it was no longer financially sustainable.

The museum chose TWU after receiving proposals from three universities.

"We have a long relationship with the Women's Museum since its opening," said Kimberly Johnson, coordinator of special collections for the TWU Libraries.

She said TWU is committed to honoring the vision of Cathy Bonner, who founded the Women's Museum in 2000.

Abbe said TWU and the Women's Museum complement one another.

"We really look at this as the legacy of the Women's Museum living on through TWU's archives," she said.

It also will provide more opportunities for scholars to research women's issues, Abbe said.

The Women's Museum donation includes American Red Cross posters, Girl Scout posters and a uniform, Betty Boop nesting dolls, political buttons and small items showing what a typical woman looked like and did in various time periods.

The donated archive also includes information and papers about how the museum was established as well as the curriculum the museum used while giving tours.

TWU, which received the archives within the past few weeks, hasn't had an opportunity to go through the collection yet.

Once the university has gone through the artifacts, an inventory of the collection will be put online for researchers, Johnson said.

Some of the museum's other artifacts were gifted to other institutions. The Annie Leibovitz Collection was given to the National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C. And some items were given to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, such as a registration book that Girl Scouts signed when visiting the museum.

The Women's Museum collection will add to the 70,000 books, 10,000 cubic feet of manuscripts about women, women's organizations and women's history, 50,000 photographs, 2,000 journals and nearly 1,000 oral histories, which are already in the TWU Woman's Collection.

It's an honor to be chosen to house the collection, which will help the university continue to promote women's history as well as the Women's Museum, Johnson said.

"It was the right choice and we have all confidence and faith that the spirit of the museum will live through the archives TWU provides," Abbe said.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .