Global Fund for Women and The Feminist Institute are proud to announce a new partnership to preserve the groundbreaking feminist digital content curated by the historic International Museum of Women (IMOW).
Founded in San Francisco in 1997, led by Founding President Elizabeth Colton, the International Museum of Women was an innovative museum with a mission to inspire creativity, awareness, and action on vital global issues for women. In 2005, IMOW began curating digital exhibitions to focus on creating a new kind of museum that would be accessible to, and engage with, women around the world.
In March 2014, Global Fund for Women and IMOW merged. The merger brought together Global Fund for Women's powerful grantmaking and advocacy expertise with IMOW's skills in awareness raising, online campaigns, and digital storytelling. Global Fund for Women continues to incorporate the role of media, art, and culture in our work advancing gender justice, and is extending the legacy of IMOW today through art-centered grantmaking and initiatives such as the Artist Changemaker Program.
The online exhibitions created by IMOW prior to the merger with Global Fund for Women were innovative, notable, and widely celebrated, setting the tone for digital museology. These projects included Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices, which counters stereotypes of Muslim women, and MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, which raised awareness about global maternal health issues. The digital collection Imagining Ourselves: A Global Generation of Women won the Anita Borg Social Impact Award, attracting approximately one million online visitors from nearly 200 countries in less than a year. In 2009, the organization won a prestigious Muse award from the American Association of Museums for innovations in digital exhibitions.
While the exhibitions were built using state-of-the-art technology at the time, now much of the functionality is obsolete. Without constant migration, such digital exhibits will not be viewable within the next ten to fifteen years. In 2021, Global Fund for Women partnered with The Feminist Institute—a nonprofit dedicated to preserving feminist contributions to culture—to preserve these valuable IMOW digital exhibits. We are thrilled to share the full IMOW archives here.
Works from IMOW’s 10+ online exhibitions—including hundreds of works of art in all mediums, thought leadership, feminist storytelling, and crowd-sourced content from women and girls in over 190 countries—will become part of The Feminist Institute’s online public archive. The Feminist Institute is diligently preserving these exhibitions using web archiving technology and following digital preservation best standards as set by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance. The Feminist Institute will maintain the exhibition curators’ original intent and front-end appearance and plans to contextualize the web archives with oral histories conducted with IMOW stakeholders.
Global Fund for Women is thrilled that IMOW’s exhibitions will join The Feminist Institute’s archive. Preserving these collections will allow audiences continued access to artistic content that advanced gender justice online, and will preserve the legacy of IMOW and its early trailblazing in the digital space.