The New Woman’s Museum is Coming to Southeast San Diego

The Women’s Museum of California is set to open its new Southeast San Diego location in early June after closing its Liberty Station site during the pandemic.

“This is one of the most underserved and marginalized communities, and the most diverse in the entire county,” said Felicia Shaw, the museum’s executive director. “We thought we could play a major role as a cultural center, not just for women, but for everyone to know about women’s history.”

Jacob Aere

Artwork hangs on the wall of the Women’s Museum of California, May 25, 2022.

Shaw went on to say, “This isn’t your mother’s museum.”

She described it as an interactive space where “you’re not expected to come and stand in front of walls and walls of text and didactics. … What you’re supposed to do is roll up your sleeves and find your place in this work, ask questions, do things, activities!”

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Jacob Aere

Dozens of feminist buttons are pinned to a mannequin, May 25, 2022.

The space offers a history lesson on the obstacles women have faced, as well as their victories, such as the right to vote and greater equality in the workplace.

Artistic director Katie Ruiz said the museum also features artwork by local women.

“I really wanted to bring in local artists who do community projects and create textile art that is activist or feminist in nature,” Ruiz said. “So all of the works you see in this exhibit were created by local artists in the area.”

Ruiz said the museum uses a bilingual approach to connect with a more diverse group of San Diegans.

Regardless of language, she wants people to understand that activism takes many forms.

“I think people think activism needs to be on the streets, where it doesn’t have to be,” Ruiz said. “It can be to create a work of art, to create a poster, to talk to someone and help educate someone else, to come to a space like this and learn – all of those things are activism.”

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Jacob Aere

Artwork hangs on the wall of the Women’s Museum of California, May 25, 2022.

Shaw said the museum makes it affordable for everyone in the community to come and explore.

“Because we’re new to the community, we’ve offered free memberships to everyone in the five Southeast community zip codes,” she said. “So it’s a benefit that, ‘Hey, not just come, but become a member of our organization for free.'”

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Jacob Aere

A shirt and art installation depict feminist images and messages, May 25, 2022.

Shaw said that starting June 4, the museum will be open to the public on the first Saturday of each month. Most other days will require an appointment.

“We hope they go home, the activists,” Ruiz said. “We hope they go home with a toolbox of ideas for how they can create something that can help someone or help themselves, or make a difference in some way. ‘another in the world.’

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Jacob Aere

An art installation depicts some early feminist icons, May 25, 2022.

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