LORTON, Va. (ABC7) — A new museum is opening this weekend at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia dedicated to sharing the stories of both the women’s suffrage movement and the 91 years of prison history that took place on this very land.
Laura McKie is the director of the Lucy Burns Museum and after years of work, and securing funding and collecting artifacts, she’s excited the museum doors are finally ready to open.
When you walk into the museum –a larger than life statue of Lucy Burns is on display. Burns, a suffragist with the National Women’s Party, was thrown into jail at the Occoquan Workhouse in 1917.
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She would go on hunger strikes for days, prepared to die for a women’s right to vote. In the museum, one cell recreates what it looked like when Burns was force-fed in prison.
In another area, there's a wall of pictures and the stories of all 72 women who were prisoners in Lorton.
The other half of the museum dives into the history of this prison constructed in 1910. Separate from where the women were held these cells held mostly men before it closed in 2001.
Mckie says they’re fortunate to have obtained items like art made by inmates, and weapons. And now these stories are ready to be shared at the Lucy Burns Museum.