Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast Launches July 12

Jun 27, 2018

Story Location:
18 Johnny Cake Hill
New Bedford  Massachusetts  02806
United States

The inspiring stories of remarkable historic women who shaped their SouthCoast communities, the nation, and the world are featured in a new walking trail in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a website and a mobile app - all launching on July 12, 2018.

The three new windows on history are the result of extensive research conducted by the historians and scholars of “Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast,” a community project led by the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The project is exploring the impact of historical women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds throughout history.

On July 12, you can take a free guided tour of the “Lighting the Way Walking Trail.” Tours will leave from the New Bedford Whaling Museum every 30 minutes between 5 pm and 7 pm. This is a family-friendly event with hands-on activities, refreshments, and give-aways, as well as a reception at 6 pm and guest speakers at 6:30 pm. You can even meet a few of the historic women featured in the project: Actors will portray some of the women while interacting with visitors. The “Lighting the Way” launch is free and open to the public. Event details are available at

“Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast” is a collaborative project, involving a diverse group of organizations and individuals who care passionately about including women’s contributions in the dialogue of the history of the SouthCoast. “Our work amplifies history by raising women’s voices,” explained Sarah Rose, Vice President of Education and Programs at the Whaling Museum.

“The project has unearthed remarkable stories of women’s callings that required grit, tenacity, and enduring commitment to their families, careers, and communities,” said Rose. Ann O’Leary, Emily Bourne Fellow at the Whaling Museum, is the lead researcher on the project.

More than 60 women are included on the project’s new website Detailed online profiles tell the stories of educators, philanthropists, abolitionists, crusaders for social justice, investors, confectioners, sister sailors, millworkers, and others.

To walk the "Lighting the Way Trail," pick up a printed map at the Whaling Museum and other locations in the downtown area, or download the app at the Apple Store or Google Play beginning July 12.

“Lighting the Way” is an ongoing project. A school curriculum framework is under development to help educators bring these stories into the classroom.

“Lighting the Way” will mark the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote with a traveling exhibit, riveting speakers, city-wide events in New Bedford, public art, and other engaging programs.