Alice Paul had a vision she described as “ordinary equality.” This vision would make women and men equal partners in society.
Many look back on her life as one that symbolizes the long struggle for justice in the United States and around the world.
Mt. Laurel plays host to her home that is more than 200 years old and has been transformed into an institute to tell her story.
The Alice Paul Institute is a not-for-profit 501© 3 corporation based at Alice Paul’s birthplace, Paulsdale. API was founded in 1984 as the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation to commemorate the centennial of Alice Paul’s 1885 birth.
It was an all-volunteer effort until 2000. Today, four paid staff, dozens of volunteers and a board of directors oversee the institute’s activities.
It has been a staple of the Mt. Laurel community for more than 30 years, and for the first time ever, it will be holding its grand opening of its first and permanent exhibit on Saturday, Nov. 14.
“Alice Paul: In Pursuit of Ordinary Equality” was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Alice Paul Institute also received a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
The exhibit will display materials from the Alice Paul archives. The institute was able to get her wooden, hand-crafted pencil case that has her initials engraved at the top.
Along with her pencil case, a number of her books will be on display inside of her bookcase — the only piece of furniture of hers that has been recovered from the 1850s, as it belonged to the family.
“She was an avid reader and a bright student, so we are happy to be able to display some of her books,” program director Kris Meyers said.
Meyers will be leading a presentation that delves into the long process of what it took to put together an exhibit and how they went about getting each of the items from various locations.
This exhibit is going to be permanent, but the institute is always looking for ways to develop new aspects of it.
It is also interested in adding layers to the tour feature it offers to guests.
The Alice Paul Institute has tossed around the idea of an arbor tour, a farm tour and an architectural tour of the 200-year-old house.
It has also coordinated a tour-training program to educate its guides on the location.
Five to seven of these guides will be in attendance for the grand opening of the exhibit, along with staff members who have agreed to help run the event.
The institute also plans to reach out to high school students to present them with the opportunity to volunteer.
The goal of the exhibit, as explained by Meyers, is to help inspire folks to make the world a better place by doing small things such as voting or larger things such as leading projects or fundraisers.
“We just want to tell Alice Paul’s story and use her as inspiration for people to carry on her legacy of ordinary equality,” Meyers said.
To register for the exhibit, call (856) 231–1885 or email email@example.com.
Those who are interested in volunteering or donating to the institute can do so at www.alicepaul.org.