Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate

February 5-June 4, 2022

About the Exhibition

To date, 58 women have served in the United States Senate. Many women senators from as early as 1922 were appointed to fill the unexpired terms of their male counterparts; however, from 1949 onward many were elected in their own right. For more than 60 years, women held zero to three positions out of 100 in any year, and in the late 1980s their presence began to grow.  

At the turn of the current century, photographer Melina Mara documented the roles of fourteen women serving in the US Senate, both in and out of public view. Mara’s imaginative viewpoints, from the whimsical to the poignant, reveal the daily work of women in powerful public positions and suggest a trailblazing story of courage, ambition, and passion. Changing the Face of Power brings striking images to the WFMA that invite us to reflect on the history of female voices in our country’s government, on which today’s 24 female senators stand. 

Changing the Face of Power is an exhibition by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin, presented in partnership with Humanities Texas and is made possible in part by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibition is sponsored at the WFMA by Humanities Texas as part of the NEH special initiative A More Perfect Union


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Melina Mara. Courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.