LAWRENCE – The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced the opening of “What Would a Woman Offer Her Country?: Elizabeth Dole’s Ground-breaking, Trail-blazing Life of Service,” the inaugural exhibition of the newly opened Elizabeth Dole Gallery and Reading Room at the institute.
The exhibition features over 100 items from her personal collections, documenting her career across six decades of public service. The title is inspired by a 1999 speech given by Dole, in which she asked, “What would I as a woman offer our country?”
“This centennial year of women’s suffrage, as well as an election year, is an ideal opportunity to recognize the career of Senator Elizabeth Dole as a prime example of women’s leadership in public service and politics over the last century,” said Dole Institute Associate Director Audrey Coleman, who oversaw the project’s development.
“The question the senator posed in her ’99 exploratory speech suggests a need to defend her qualifications for presidential leadership – even after, at that time, nearly four decades of service at the highest levels of U.S. government – in a way that women are still too frequently expected to do,” Coleman said. “We sought to answer that question in this exhibit based on her career archive, showcasing her achievements in policy and politics as a leader, mentor and icon.”
In 2017, the former U.S. senator announced the gift of her personal papers to the archives at the Dole Institute of Politics, creating the Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archive & Special Collections. In honor of this gift, the Dole Institute renovated the archives research room to become a multipurpose space for showcasing collections through both exhibitions and research. The space will be officially dedicated later in spring 2020.
The exhibition will be on display at the Dole Institute through May 2020. The Elizabeth Dole Gallery and Reading Room is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission to the Dole Institute, Elizabeth Dole Gallery and events are free.
The Dole Institute is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located in KU’s West District and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.
More information on all programs, as well as ongoing additions to the schedule, can be found on the Dole Institute’s website, www.doleinstitute.org.