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The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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Hand in Hand: A Symbolic Journey Through Friendship and Feminism at Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum

In a recent interview, James Capuzzi, the Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, shared insights into the creation and significance of the museum’s latest exhibit, “Hand in Hand.” The exhibit, centered around a unique cast capturing a handshake between Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, delves into the profound friendship that fueled the women’s suffrage movement.

Capuzzi explained that the exhibit was inspired by a generous donation from Nora Sabo, the granddaughter of Susan B. Anthony’s nephew, Bert Anthony. The cast, along with Susan’s bank book and a letter to her nephew, was donated in 2016. However, the journey to display the exhibit took several years due to the need for restoration and repairs.

“We started working on it in 2016, and it took until 2023 to finalize the project,” Capuzzi shared. “The challenges included cracks, discoloration, and other irregularities that required meticulous restoration efforts.”

The exhibit focuses on a specific historical moment, November 12th and 13th, 1895, marking the 80th birthday celebration of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Capuzzi highlighted the symbolic nature of the handshake cast, created the following day, as a testament to the enduring friendship between these iconic figures.

Capuzzi emphasized the importance of the exhibit in contributing to the museum’s mission, stating, “We’re the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, focusing on the period from Susan’s birth until the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This exhibit is a point of inspiration, showcasing the friendship that likely played a crucial role in advancing women’s suffrage.”

The Executive Director expressed hope that visitors would engage with the exhibit, drawing inspiration from the friendship between Anthony and Stanton. “We want visitors to feel more connected to the movement, understanding the importance of relationships, shared values, and commitment in driving positive change,” he explained.

As the exhibit finally opened its doors, Capuzzi revealed his anticipation for the public reaction and the opportunity to rekindle community interest in early feminist issues. “The thing I was most looking forward to was just launching the exhibit, opening it, and seeing the public reaction,” he said.

“Hand in Hand” is set to provide visitors with a unique glimpse into the personal connection that fueled a movement, reminding us all of the power of friendship in the pursuit of social change.


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