Sure it's still February, but spring is one the way, which means the Nodaway County Historical Society Museum is preparing to open its doors for a new season.
The museum officially re-opens Tuesday, March 5, when it will return to its 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-through-Friday regular schedule.
However a special opening event is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3, when society members and museum patrons will welcome a group of student musicians from the Maryville High School band.
The gathering is being organized to celebrate the 100th anniversary — to the day — of a massive women's suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., that featured the Ladies Military Band of Maryville, an ensemble led by local music teacher Alma Nash.
An exhibit on Nash's life and accomplishments will be on display during the event.
In 1913, women in the United States were still seven years away from getting the vote, and the Ladies Military Band traveled to the nation's capital to participate in a major women's-rights demonstration set for March 3, 1913, the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration.
It is believed that the Nodaway County ensemble may have been the first all-female marching band in the United States. Nash, it's leader, was a well-known music teacher who founded the Maryville School of Banjo, Mandolin & Guitar in 1905.
The parade itself was a protest march comprising 8,000 participants and organized by noted women’s rights activist Alice Paul. An estimated half-million spectators turned out to watch, including anti-suffragists and, allegedly, thugs hired to disrupt the march.
According to contemporary newspaper accounts, at least 200 people were injured when violence erupted as the marchers proceeded from the Capitol to Continental Hall. The Maryville ensemble managed to escape unscathed because they were leading the procession, and the attacks broke out in their wake.
"We were ahead of the line and so did not see the indignities heaped upon the ladies in the pageant. … The police force was inadequate. The U.S. Calvary had to be called. Anti-suffragettes had been hired to break up the parade," band member Mary Evans wrote in a letter that appeared in the Democrat Forum, a forerunner of this newspaper.
Other upcoming museum events include this year's first Old Arts and Skills program, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and feature a rug-making demonstration.
On Saturday, March 16, the society will host a Cajun-style jambalaya lunch from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 and can be purchased at the door.