In August 2020, the Smithsonian launched a series of eight animated, social-optimized videos that explored how women worked together to advocate for voting rights, emphasizing the diversity of the suffrage movement and the everyday people who collaborated to create change. This video series told eight stories researched by Smithsonian curators. Videos were under two minutes in length and created with open captions built into the video, so that they could be enjoyed with or without sound.
Our goals were to: 1) increase understanding of the scope of the suffrage movement, going beyond famous names to include the contributions of everyday women 2) expand our standard audience reach to generation Z and millennial audiences, especially BIPOC audience members and 3) motivate audiences to connect with suffrage through videos highlighting stories of lesser-known women whose struggles and collaboration are relevant today.
In many museum projects, videos are created after exhibitions, blog posts, websites, and other assets exist as new ways to experience already-researched stories. In this case, to cater to audience needs, we shared research with the public by creating videos first. Before our series debuted, many of the individuals and groups of women we highlighted lacked quality articles or other search results that would allow non-scholarly audiences to discover and understand them. In many of our videos, viewers see images of the primary sources our team consulted to unearth and share this history. These videos provided an accessible and interesting way to understand the 19th Amendment centennial, and they will continue to expand knowledge about the long and complex path to the 19th Amendment.
With over 864K views as of March 2021, these videos were highly shared and valued by audiences.