Smithsonian to show 120 orange statues of female scientists

Ashraf Khalil
Associated Press

Washington — The Smithsonian will commemorate Women's History Month in March by displaying 120 life-size neon orange statues depicting women who have excelled in the fields of science and technology.

The 3D-printed statues will be displayed in the Smithsonian Gardens and in select museums in the Smithsonian network from March 5-27. A statement announcing the display called it “the largest collection of statues of women ever assembled together.”

The Smithsonian will commemorate Women's History Month in March 2022 by displaying 120 life-size neon orange statues depicting women who have excelled in the fields of science and technology.

The statues will depict women who have excelled in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. These range from Jessica Esquivel, one of only 150 Black women with a PhD in physics in the country, to Karina Popovich, a college student who produced over 82,000 pieces of 3D-printed PPE for healthcare workers in the early days of the pandemic.

Each statue will feature a QR code that links to the personal story of the depicted woman. The statues have been previously displayed in Dallas, and a handful of them were in New York's Central Park Zoo.

A statue that is part of "#IfThenSheCan-The Exhibit."

Ellen Stofan, the Smithsonian’s under secretary for science and research, said in a statement that the exhibit, “provides the perfect opportunity for us to show that women have successfully thrived in STEM for decades, while also illustrating the innumerable role models young women can find in every field,”

The women being honored were chosen by Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They include: MIT astrophysicist Kelly Korreck; wildlife biologist Kristine Inman; microbiologist Dorothy Tovar; mathematics professor Minerva Cordero and U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team physician Monica Rho.

The life-size neon orange statues will be displayed in the Smithsonian Gardens and in select museums in the Smithsonian network from March 5-27.

The display, entitled “#IfThenSheCan — The Exhibit” will feature the Smithsonian's oldest museum, the Arts + Industries Building — which only reopened last year after being closed to the public since 2004. During the opening weekend, all 120 statues will be displayed there and the Smithsonian Castle and the adjacent Enid A. Haupt Garden. After the opening weekend, the statues will be dispersed to different Smithsonian museums across the National Mall.

“These women are changing the world, and providing inspiration for the generation that will follow them,” said AIB Director Rachel Goslins in a statement.