Seneca Falls: Women’s rights and 'A Wonderful Life'
The town in New York’s Finger Lakes saw the beginnings of the Women’s Rights Movement and inspired the classic Frank Capra film.
Supporters of women’s rights gathered in Seneca Falls in 1848 for the first Women’s Rights Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a leading activist, lived there, and the Wesleyan Chapel – the convention site – was a local haven for antislavery and political rallies.
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At the Women’s Rights National Historical Park (www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm), film, displaysand documents tell the story of the fight for women’s rights, then and now, and how it has expanded to include efforts for equality and civil rights for all on a global stage.
Through December, the exhibit “Remember to be a Lady; Forget you are a Woman” looks at the experiences of the WAVES – women in the US Navy – during World War II.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame (www.womenofthehall.org) showcases over 300 women in the humanities, science, sports, engineering, politics, education, medicine, and other areas, most of whom are little-known outside (and often inside) their field. The Hall is housed in an 1844 knitting mill. It’s an appropriate example of adaptive reuse, since most of the people who worked there were women. The 2015 ceremony for the induction of new members is October 3.
The classic holiday film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is set in the fictional town of Bedford Falls. Writer/director Frank Capra visited the real town of Seneca Falls often while writing the screenplay. Many of the movie’s locations and elements of the plot seem drawn from those visits.
The Wonderful Life Museum (www.wonderfullifemuseum.com) has photos, props, and memorabilia from the film. You can pick up (or download) an illustrated walking tour to sites that inspired the story and setting.
For more about Seneca Falls visit www.senecafalls.com.
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