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Creation Of The Exhibit

The exhibit Resilience: Women in Flagstaff’s Past and Present is the result of a collaboration of Flagstaff’s Arizona Historical Society and the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University. The research team consisted of students from Northern Arizona University and faculty/staff mentors from the Martin-Springer Institute and the Arizona Historical Society.


The stories of women presented in the Resilience exhibit cover each decade from the 1880s to 2020s in the former pioneer and mountain town of Flagstaff in northern Arizona. Women have been part of Flagstaff’s social fabric from its very beginnings in the 1880s. They employed entrepreneurial skills when Flagstaff was still a railroad and lumber town, made it their home after arriving from as far away as China, navigated the economic crisis of the 1930s, helped to integrate the town in the 1960s, embraced diversity, and created opportunities for the less-fortunate. Although the voices of women and minorities have for a long time not been preserved in the official archives of knowledge, women have shaped the town’s development as public figures and caretakers. Through their stories, we can trace societal changes in a small town of America’s Southwest.  


The women covered in this exhibit have something to teach us about resilience in the face of personal hardship and adverse environments, of painful legacies and economic woes. Their stories about building and rebuilding their lives in the face of adversity speak to their resourcefulness, perseverance, determination, prudence, and their caring spirit that holds communities together. These women stood up for themselves and others.

Mentors: Björn Krondorfer, William Peterson, Sacha Siskonen, and Melissa Cohen


Student Team: Mary Burke, Holly Filsinger, Rachel Lauver, Hana Lipke, Martha Martinez, Marley Oakes, Savannah Penick, Avi Penner, Tristan Triebe


Graphic Designer: Jen Saunders


This project was generously funded by the Molly Blank Fund, with additional support from the Martin-Springer Institute and the Arizona Historical Society.


We like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their assistance in the creation of the exhibit: Arizona Historical Society Library and Archives, Michael Blank, Cline Library Special Collections, Benjamin Carver, Office of the Mayor (City of Flagstaff), Deborah Harris, Alana Kuhlman, Amy Martin, Frank Moraga, Kelsey Morales, Naomi Morrison, Murdoch Center, Mary Negri, Maraka Oltrogge, John Reid, Peter Runge, James Wong.


Our special gratitude goes to all the women who were willing to share their stories with us and the public.

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