Women and Power exhibitions, art installations and events

2018 marked 100 years since some women were granted the right to vote. To honour this milestone, we explored stories and personalities from women’s history and the fight for female suffrage through exhibitions, events and more.

We are Bess web banner

We are Bess exhibition at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 

Re-opens 15 February 2019

Explore the life of Bess of Hardwick, the second most powerful women in Tudor England after Elizabeth I, in a new exhibition opening this month at Hardwick Hall. Demonised in history by her husbands, we’ll be re-examining her life using modern women to help us consider how we talk about women in history and in the present day.

Looking back on 2018 events
Virginia Woolf sits in her room at Monk's House

A Room of One's Own events 

We explored the lives of pioneering women through art, poetry, and film. We've asked female artists, writers and academics to tell the often untold stories of the women connected to five of our special places.


Misrepresented? at Cliveden, Berkshire 

Cliveden ran an outdoor exhibition and an immersive audio experience exploring the real-life inspiring stories of Cliveden's women, from past to present.

Potratis of Gertrude and Eleanor Acland.

Votes for Women? and Branded: fashion, femininity and the right to vote at Killerton, Devon 

Killerton explored stories of suffrage through two exhibitions. 'Votes for Women?' examined how the Aclands were a family divided over the question of women’s suffrage. A fashion exhibition, 'Branded: fashion, femininity and the right to vote' displayed the clothing worn by suffragettes and suffragists, including Eleanor Acland’s spectacular hand-embroidered couture wedding dress.

Dunham's housekeeper for 28 years from 1908-1936.

A Woman's Place? at Dunham Massey, Cheshire 

Dunham Massey examined previous female inhabitants of the house through readings and drawing, short films, workshops and debates.

A pencil sketch depicting two lovers sitting on a bench under a tree

Beyond Ophelia - A Celebration of Lizzie Siddal at Wightwick, Wolverhampton 

A journey into the life of the woman who was a Pre-Raphaelite muse, as well as a professional artist and poet in her own right. Wightwick also exhibited some of Lizzie Siddal's rarely displayed paintings and revealed more about her struggle for recognition in a patriarchal Victorian art world.

Archive image of 3 women in Styal village

Discover the Lost Voices of Quarry Bank, Cheshire 

Quarry Bank shone a spotlight of women across the social classes, from the mill workers to the mill owners.

Cragside House during the summer, surround by green leaves and trees

Women of Industry at Cragside, Northumberland 

Inspired by the history of innovation and engineering at Cragside, visitors were able to learn about the lives of pioneering women who worked in the factory of Lord Armstrong, industrialist and builder of Cragside, during the First World War. Through an exhibition, trail and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related family activities, the question of why women are still underrepresented in the engineering profession today was explored.

The 17th-century barn theatre at Smallhythe Place

Triumphant Women at Smallhythe Place, Kent 

In a new exhibition Triumphant Women, visitors learnt about the women from Smallhythe who were involved in the Suffrage movement. Edy Craig: Women, Suffrage and the Theatre was shown in the Barn Theatre and green room, whilst The Shakespearean Lectures of Ellen Terry was exhibited in the main house.