Trailblazing lawyer and women's rights activist, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is the focus of a traveling exhibition on the East Coast.

(l) graphic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (r) official Supreme Court portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
(l-r) Notorious RBG book cover illustration by Adam Johnson  ©HarperCollins / Photographs: Crown © by Hurst Photo/Shutterstock; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States  ©WDC Photos/Alamy stock

Though she's long been a political and pop culture icon, the Notorious RGB: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first time an exhibition has been staged on the Supreme Court justice. Created by the Skirball Cultural Center, the traveling exhibit is based on the Tumblr blog and New York Times bestseller of the same name and was created in partnership with the book's co-authors, Shana Knizhnik and Irin Camron.

RBG, who has dedicated her life to fighting for equality, is only the second woman to be appointed to the US Supreme Court. The retrospective brings her story to life, from her childhood in Flatbush, Brooklyn to the early loss of her mother, her 56-year-marriage to the late Martin D Ginsburg and her role as student, wife, mother, lawyer, judge, women's rights pioneer and internet phenomenon.

RBG and Marty on a train to Paris
RBG and husband Marty on a train to Paris in 1988 ©Justice Ginsburg's Personal Collection

Visitors can browse displays that include a fundraising letter for Columbia Law School; photos from her wedding album; family movies and a re-creation of the Ginsburg family home. Listening stations provide audio from landmark cases such as RGB's famous dissent in the 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder case on voters' rights in Alabama. Each section of the exhibition is titled with reference to lyrics by The Notorious B.I.G., and in-line with her status as an internet phenomenon, the exhibit displays memes, parodies, and fan art. 

The original exhibition opened in Los Angeles in 2018 and travelled to the National Museum of Jewish American History in Philadelphia last year, before making its way to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, near Chicago, on 9 February (until 16, August 2020). Then it's on the road again to the New York Historical Society (September 25 - January 24, 2021) and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Cleveland, IL (February 21 - June 20, 2020).

Classroom display at the Notorious RBG exhibition Illinois
Entrance displays at the Notorious RBG exhibition ©Holocaust Museum of Illinois

“A key part of our mission at the Museum is teaching universal lessons to combat hatred, prejudice, and indifference,” said Illinois Holocaust Museum CEO Susan Abrams. “Few people convey these lessons more vividly than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For decades, she has been one of America’s great champions of equality. We are thrilled to host this exhibition and empower our visitors to be Upstanders like RBG.”

To coincide with the exhibition, the Illinois Holocaust Museum will host family-friendly fitness program and a night with RBG's children, Jim Ginsburg (Chicago resident and CEO of Sedille Records) and Jane Ginsburg (attorney and professor at Columbia Law). For more information, see here.

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