How these Exhibits Came to Be

By Jesse Blaire (they/them/theirs) & Dr. Julie Shayne (she/her/hers) 

These exhibits are the collective efforts of the students in my (Dr. Shayne) class “Histories and Movements of Gender and Sexuality”, a Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (GWSS) course at the University of Washington Bothell (UWB). This Project was made possible by the class’s “Omeka Team”. I (Dr. Shayne) followed the lead of my long-time collaborator, UWB Digital Scholarship librarian Denise Hattwig. Denise and I were ready to pause an old assignment and given her endless creativity and desire to try new things, she approached me with the Omeka platform as an exciting way to display the digital work of students. I was apprehensive about learning something new but Denise’s enthusiasm prevailed, she found a small grant for us to hire a student, and I immediately reached out to graduating senior Jesse Blaire.

I (Jesse) joined the project as the “undergraduate teaching assistant” and served as the student “Omeka guide.” I dove into the platform in the weeks before the class started to learn how the platform worked in order to guide students through their projects. I began the curation of the first Exhibit, “Highlights from the Feminist Community Archive of Washington”, co-crafted Omeka workshops and guides with Denise, and since assisted in polishing the site before you. 

Last but certainly not least, the final member of the Omeka Team is UWB GWSS librarian Penelope Wood who was instrumental in adding to and vetting archives I (Dr. Shayne) collected for students to use in their exhibit projects. Penelope assisted students with selecting topics that matched their passions, research in the archives, proper citations, and digital information literacy that far surpassed what most of them had ever encountered thus far. 

Students were asked to dive into existing Feminist archives, like the Archives on Black Women and the Digital Transgender Archive, and discover the pieces of stories that go unheard through artifacts preserved by mainstream archivists. Then the students were instructed to create and curate their own Omeka “student exhibit” by stitching together the story they wanted to tell from across a minimum of three archives, including the Feminist Community Archive of Washington (FCA-WA). They were required to include the FCA-WA because that archive is the result of this same class’s students from the past six years. 

As I (Dr. Shayne) explained in a preface to a previous ambitious student project, “some students ran with this project as if it was their only commitment in life while others balanced it with all of their other school, work, and life responsibilities.” Some students were GWSS majors or minors, while others were STEM or Business students in the class just to meet their Diversity requirement.

Inside, you will find the stories written by students ranging in all sorts of topics, themes, and geographical locations, but all are connected by feminism, activism, and revolution. Like all pilot projects, this one had a lot of bumps and we learned a lot for the next time. We hope you learn a lot too and are as inspired as our students were while they unearthed the many hidden histories.


Scholarship, teaching, and research

Dr. Julie Shayne, Teaching Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell

Jesse Blaire, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Washington Bothell

Denise Hattwig, Head of Digital Scholarship, Library, University of Washington Bothell

Penelope Wood, Research & Instruction Librarian, Library, University of Washington Bothell

Tessa Denton, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Washington Bothell

Undergraduate student researchers at the University of Washington Bothell (please see exhibits for student-specified credits)

Project and technology support

Digital Scholarship Staff, Library, University of Washington Bothell

Technology Specifics

We built Feminist Archive Exhibits using the following technology infrastructure:


Initial funding for this project was provided by the University of Washington Bothell Library's Digital Scholarship Faculty Fellows program, awarded to Dr. Julie Shayne, Fall 2021.