Smithsonian Celebrates Women's History Month with 120 3D-Printed Statues of Women in STEM

The museum is calling it the largest collection of statues of women ever assembled. 

#IfThenSheCan—The Exhibit, 2022, Smithsonian Castle, Courtesy of IFTHEN® Collection, by Farrah Skeiky.
Photo: Farrah Skeiky

March is Women's History Month, and The Smithsonian is celebrating with a new exhibit honoring women who are changing the course of history. On Friday, the Smithsonian unveiled "#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit," a new exhibit featuring 120 life-size 3D-printed statues of women trailblazers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, collectively known as STEM.

The exhibit will be on display in the Smithsonian gardens, as well as in and around select Smithsonian museums, from March 5-27. The bright orange statues represent some truly incredible minds in STEM, all of whom are paving the way for future advancement in their fields. The women of #IfThenSheCan are doing everything from protecting near-extinct wildlife and discovering galaxies to searching for a cure for cancer and developing website platforms. Each statue includes an accompanying QR code that visitors can scan to learn more about the woman depicted.

#IfThenSheCan—The Exhibit, 2022, Smithsonian Gardens’ Enid A. Haupt Garden, Courtesy of IFTHEN® Collection, by Hannele Lahti. (4)
Hannele Lahti

Many of the women honored in the exhibit, like Jessica Esquivel, one of only 150 Black women with a doctorate in physics in the U.S., and Karina Popovich, a college student who produced more than 82,000 pieces of 3D-printed PPE for healthcare workers during the pandemic, are little known to the general public but paramount to the future of their fields.

"These striking 3D-printed figures of remarkable women in STEM careers help us celebrate the incredible impact women continue to make on vital scientific endeavors," Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian, said in a release. "This exhibition highlights how a more diverse, more inclusive workforce will strengthen our shared future."

#IfThenSheCan—The Exhibit, 2022, Smithsonian Castle, Courtesy of IFTHEN® Collection, by Farrah Skeiky.
Farrah Skeiky

By highlighting women like Rae Wynn-Grant, a wildlife ecologist working to save endangered species from extinction, and her contemporaries across a diverse range of STEM fields, exhibit creators hope to inspire the next generation of women leaders in STEM. The exhibit was built in collaboration with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the nonprofit organization behind IF/THEN, an initiative designed to activate a culture shift around young girls' exposure to STEM careers.

"When our families and our kids are walking around looking at the people that are held up as role models, they're not seeing anyone that looks like them and we want to fix that," Nicole Small, Lyda Hill Philanthropies CEO, said in an interview with TODAY. "If we show little girls all these amazing women doing amazing work in this world, then each of them are going to know that they too can grow up and change the world."

WATCH: Emily Calandrelli is Inspiring a New Generation of Science and Space Enthusiasts

"#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit" is one of many exhbits and events The Smithsonian has planned for Women's Futures Month, which will also include special programming and events like a Science Family Day, Career Day, and more through the month of March.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles