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CNN Today

New Museum Chronicles Women's Struggles

Aired September 29, 2000 - 2:56 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Take 200 years of American history and tell it from a different perspective. That's the mission of a new museum in Texas. It's history as seen from the viewpoint of women.

Here's CNN's Charles Zewe.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An art deco statue of a woman rising from a cactus, grasping its thorny branches, was the inspiration for the new Women's Museum that its founder says defies 200 years of telling American history.

CATHY BONNER, FOUNDER, WOMEN'S MUSEUM: There are 8,000 museums in the United States, and most of them do tell history from the male perspective. So in the 21st century, it's time to tell the other side of the story, too.

ZEWE: Housed in a former livestock arena on the Texas State Fairgrounds, the museum is built around hundreds of artifacts borrowed from the Smithsonian Institution.

BONNER: A lot of these women shaped our lives, they shaped our culture, and they shaped our communities.

ZEWE: From suffragettes to playmates, women's struggles are chronicled in sports and space, in health, business and religion. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt's wartime Red Cross uniform is here. There's a flight suit worn by aviator Amelia Earhart. And there's the obscure: the fact actress Heddy Lamar patented a World War II scrambling device that's the basis for today's wireless communications.

BONNER: And for years, no one knew it, because Hollywood thought it would disrupt her glamorous image.

ZEWE: America's funny women are saluted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WENDY LIEBMAN, COMEDIAN: I was married for two years. They say the secret to a successful marriage is leave.

(LAUGHTER) And then they say...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZEWE: White House correspondent Helen Thomas is honored as unforgettable.

HELEN THOMAS, HEARST NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST: Well, I think some people have been happy to forget me, but I won't let them.

(LAUGHTER)

ZEWE: At 80, Thomas left UPI after covering eight presidents and battling gender bias all the way. Now a columnist, she was the first woman to end a presidential news conference in the '60s with the traditional "Thank you, Mr. President."

THOMAS: What I like to feel is that I helped to break down some of the barriers against women journalists in this country.

BONNER: American history has not told these really important, inspiring and courageous stories before. Never again will there be a generation that doesn't know these stories.

ZEWE: Five other women's museums are being planned around the U.S. Founders say they hope collectively the facilities serve as encouragement for young girls to reach for their dreams.

Charles Zewe, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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