In 2015 Marianne Wimmer from Austria had an idea: She wanted to be the first woman to visit all the women’s museums in the world. She did not loose much time, and started her visits in women’s museums around the world. In a series of articles here on this platform she will tell us about her experiences, starting with this one:
(The articles of Marianne Wimmer will soon be available also in German on the blog of the Women’s Museum Meran: www.ichfrau.com.
“Did you know that there are 66 women`s museums in the world?”, my friend Resi asked me, while visiting the women’s museum in Merano, Italy. In this very moment the idea popped up in my mind: “Hey, and you will visit them all, as the first woman in the world!” Immediately I knew: This will be my project for retirement.
At that time (summer, 2015) my friend and I were on a bicycle trip along the river “Etsch”. We both like the combination of nature, workout and cultural activities. Our (bike-) trips are mainly consisting of these ingredients. Now, with the new idea in my baggage I ideally can combine my love for travelling and the one to go deeply into a special materia, especially if it deals with feminism.
And soon there would be more time to deal with it. Only one more year separated me from translating the idea into action.
During my sabbatical I tried to reach out to the women´s museums. In the internet I found the IAWM (= International Association of Women´s Museums), with its headquarters in Merano – sounded familiar. I contacted the coordinator of the network, Astrid Schönweger, to tell her about my plans. Her welcoming and helpful manner encouraged me to keep track.
The next very helpful step was to join the “1. Asian-European Conference of Women`s Museums”, in October 2018, in Istanbul / Turkey. Here I got in contact with many women of the women´s museums worldwide. It`s great to be a part of their community (=IAWM) now. They are supporting me with my visits and provide me with valuable information.
The nearer my retirement came, the more people asked me about my plans. Whenever I talked abour it with enthusiasm and pleasure, the question arose:
“What is this – a women´s museum?”
This question triggered the idea to write a book about my trips and visits to the museums.
Up to the present I visited 25 women`s museums out of 70: 14 in the US (in summer 2018), 6 in Germany, 2 in Spain and 1 in Italy, Denmark and Senegal/Africa. I created a “feminist map of the world”. It hangs on the wall above my kitchen table, colourful like the women´s museums and colourful like the stories they tell. Every day when I look at it, it feels like they would twinkle at me, saying: “When will you come to visit me?”
In this blog you can follow me to the women´s museums of the world. I will also use my museums`visits to reflect on my personal history: What does it mean to live as a woman at a special place and within a special time on this planet.
I`m looking forward to your comments and ideas.
As this is my first time to write in this forum, I want to present myself.
I´m Marianne from Austria. For 40 years I worked as a primary school teacher. In addition, I studied sociology. One of my most exiting years I spent in the US, enrolled in a post-graduate-studies-program, called “Philosophy for Children” (Montclaire State University, New Jersey). Now I´m enjoying my life as a retired person:
as though no one is watching you,
as though you have never been hurt before,
as though no one can hear you,
as though heaven is on earth.
(like so many great women in history)
collector of women`s museums