Fort Worth, Texas (PRWEB) October 24, 2011
The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O'Connor opens Thursday, October 27, 2011, and runs through March 25, 2012, at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame located at 1720 Gendy Street in Fort Worth’s Cultural District.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to the United States Supreme Court in 1981; she was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court since its inception in the late 1700s. Opening in celebration of the 30th anniversary of her appointment, this exhibition is not the typical lifetime retrospective. Drawing largely from the book co-authored by Justice O'Connor and her brother, H. Alan Day, Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, the exhibition takes moments from her life and expands upon them. Issues of practicality connect both ranch life and bench life, while distinctive issues faced either on the ranch in Arizona or during confirmation in Washington are explored.
Encompassing 3,000 square feet, the exhibition features family and public-life photos, a film prepared by the Arizona Historical Society, ranch artifacts on loan from the Day family, and selected editorial cartoons. Arid desert scenes are juxtaposed with the confirmation hearings and the publicity that surrounded the future Justice.
Another attraction for visitors will be the opportunity to play iCivics, the Web-based interactive computer game designed to teach students about American history, law, and government to inspire their active participation in democracy. Partnering with the museum, iCivics will provide access to its programs. The museum has set up 25 computer stations for visitors to experience what it is like to be President, work as a legislator on the federal budget, or make a decision as a Supreme Court Justice.
Since her retirement in 2006, Justice O'Connor has been active in the creation of iCivics, which was launched this past July. She conceived the idea for iCivics after learning that nationwide two out of three students tested poorly on civics tests and that currently only 29 states require high school students to take a civics or a government course.
"While most students can name one of the judges on 'American Idol,'" said Justice O'Connor, "few can name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court."
"We have created an exhibition for one of our own," said Patricia Riley, executive director of the museum. "Justice O'Connor, who was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2002, is the archetypical Honoree. Raised on an isolated ranch, she was expected to hold her own with the ranch hands, and when she was appointed Justice, no one doubted she could hold her own in that arena as well.”
Additional programs related to the exhibition will include distance learning programs from the museum's award-winning video-conferences, teacher workshops for incorporating the exhibit, and lesson plans to use in the classroom. Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest is available in the Cowgirl gift shop, along with other titles authored by the Justice.
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is the only museum in the world that is dedicated to honoring and celebrating women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience, and independence that helped shape the American West. Fostering an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance that the cowgirls inspire, the museum is considered an invaluable national educational resource for its exhibits, research library, rare photograph collection, and award-winning distance-learning programs for grades K-12 and adults.