Concord Women Take Center Stage in New Exhibition

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Every Path Laid Open: Women of Concord and the Quest for Equality

May 7 through November 7, 2021


To mark the centennial of women attaining the right to vote, the Concord Museum will open a new exhibition Every Path Laid Open: Women of Concord & the Quest for Equality on May 7, 2021 through November 7, 2021. The exhibition honors the struggle that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment and celebrates the remarkable achievements of women living in Concord today. 


One of the 19th century’s most notable feminists, Margaret Fuller was a frequent visitor to Concord – a friend to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and Henry David Thoreau’s first editor. Fuller demanded that “every arbitrary barrier” to women’s progress “be thrown down” and described her fellow reformers’ ultimate goal this way: We would have every path laid open to Woman as freely as to Man.” Spoken seventy-five years before American women had the legal right to vote in national elections, Fuller’s rallying cry inspired a movement for women’s equality that continues today. 


Through objects and photographs primarily from the Museum’s collection, Every Path Laid Open: Women of Concord and the Quest for Equality highlights generations of women – some famous and some almost invisible – who fought for their right to work and live how they pleased, often in defiance of tradition and propriety. They campaigned, organized, and advocated to expand their liberties and the liberties of others. Some of the women featured in the exhibition include:


Mary Merrick Brooks, the daughter of a slaveholder, who was a driving force of radical abolitionism in Concord; 12-year-old Black student Ellen Garrison walked hand in hand with her white classmate Abba Prescott in Concord’s 1835 Bicentennial Parade; Cynthia Thoreau and her daughters Sophia and Helen were charter members of the Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society; Painter Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts who brought the international art world to Concord with the establishment of the Concord Art Centre in 1917, and Louis May Alcott who became by persistence and ability, one of America’s most popular authors.


Through these accomplished women the exhibition explores a number of firsts, including: the first woman journalist to serve during wartime overseas for an American newspaper; the first woman to register to vote in a Concord election; and the first woman licensed to drive an automobile in America.


In a media element Every Path Laid Open also celebrates today’s women of Concord – from educators to entrepreneurs, firefighters to farmers, and artists to activists, U.S. Olympians to U.N. Ambassadors.  Tom Putnam, Concord Museum’s Edward W. Kane Executive Director, explained, “Having broken glass ceilings, these dynamic women have pursued diverse careers with passion, intelligence, and courage. The ‘quest for equality’ continues. We hope this exhibition will inspire future generations to follow Margaret Fuller’s ‘go-ahead’ spirit and attain what she described as the ‘fullness of being’.” 


In time for Mother’s Day, the Every Path Laid Open exhibition opens to the public on May 7, 2021 with advanced timed-ticket reservations. Please go to  978-369-9763 x222


Every Path Laid Open is accompanied by series of women-themed programs including historical walking tours, Concord Museum Forums, and a “Summer Under the Stars Film Series” that kicks-off on June 10, 2021 with the 2019 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women.


For a completed list of programs go to


Every Path Laid Open: Women of Concord and the Quest for Equality exhibition and related programs are generously sponsored by: Lead Sponsor: Arbella Insurance Foundation. Corporate Sponsors: Middlesex Savings Bank, State Street Bank, Northbridge Insurance Agency, Inc., and Woodman & Eaton, P.C. Community Grants: Massachusetts Cultural Council and Concord Cultural Council. Many of the programs are in collaboration with partner institutions including Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, The Robbins House, and Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area. For a complete list of sponsors please go to:

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