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Middle School: Eighth Grade: Women in U.S. History: Assignment Details

Research Questions: Resource Requirements

Living Wax Museum


The Project!

In order to better understand a moment in United States history and to exercise the muscles that allow us to think from a different perspective than our own, we are going to put together a living wax museum!   You are going to choose one woman from US History; this gal could be from the 1700s or from our historical moment. Whoever you choose, you should be curious about their live, their work, their historical importance. In other words, pick someone who you might look up to for their political stance or social importance.  (I will approve your choices and if you are looking for examples check the bottom of this document.) You are going to research them through the steps below and then become them for a limited, one night, highly exclusive museum exhibit.


The Expectations!

Dive in.  Think about what pieces of information you will need to really understand a person’s voice, her political moment, the historical implications of her work.  At the bare minimum you will need:


  • 3 pieces of writing/ interviews/ video clips/ films from them personally. So that you can really hear their voice.
  • 3 pieces of writing about them.  So you can understand how they were perceived by the outside world.  These could have been written about them long after they lived.
  • 3 pictures or portraits.  You want to be able to visualize them so you can create this person.


  • Culminate your research with a 4-5 page biography of your historical figure.
  • 1 page written response in her voice-- so you are now working to become her.


You will need to create something for your exhibition space.

  • Painter → painting
  • Poet→ poem
  • Actor-->short film
  • Judge→ Brief
  • Activist→ protest speech/ signs
  • Need to work on your costume
  • Become the person for the wax museum!

Ideas for Women in History (a thorough but, by no means, exhaustive list:

Abigail Adams

Jane Adams

Louisa May Alcott

Marian Anderson

Susan B. Anthony

Clara Barton

Mary McLead Bethune

Elizabeth Blackwell

Amelia Bloomer

Mary Cassatt

Willa Cather

Shirley Chisholm

Emily Dickinson

Dorothea Dix

Amelia Earhart

Geraldine Ferraro

Betty Friedan

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Katherine Graham

Sarah Grimke

Angelina Grimke Weld

Anne Hutchinson

Helen Keller

Billie Jean King

Mary Lyon

Lucretia Mott

Sandra Day O’Connor

Georgia O’Keeffe

Annie Oakley

Rosa Parks

Alice Paul

Frances Perkins

Sally Ride

Eleanor Roosevelt

Wilma Rudolph


Margaret Sanger

Bessie Smith

Gloria Steinem

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Ida Tarbell

Sojourner Truth

Harriet Tubman

Frances Willard

Oprah Winfrey

Ellen D

Rose Marie McCoy

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Bella Abzug

Julia Addington

Julia Child

Madeleine Albright

Cora Belle Reynolds Anderson

Tammy Baldwin

Hillary Clinton

Tammy Duckworth

Diane Humetewa

Patsy Takemoto Mink

Condoleezza Rice

Margaret Hamilton

Henrietta Lacks

Edmonia Lewis

Grace Hopper

Zelda Fitzgerald

Ida B. Wells

Diane Arbus

Marsha P. Johnson

Sylvia Plath

Emily Warren Roebling

Nella Larsen

Margaret Abbott

Harriott Daley

Jane Goodall

Jodi Kantor