They’re not the first group to spotlight women’s history in The District, but they certainly are the best. For the first time, A Tour of Her Own (TOHO) joins forces with D.C.-based artist and entrepreneur Maggie O’Neill for “HERSTORY TOGETHER,” a one-day special event featuring women’s history in the capital on Saturday, November 13.
D.C. is ripe with historical walking tours — you see them meandering across the Mall on brutally hot days, crowding the skinny sidewalks in Georgetown, or peering down at you from shuttle buses in Farragut Square — but none of them are quite like TOHO. Founded in 2018 by certified tour guide Kaitlin Calogera, TOHO works to create “a sustainable culture of women’s tourism,” according to their web page. They’re the first tourism company in D.C. to focus exclusively on women’s history. They offer membership packages, live and virtual events, private tours, and now, a VIP Salon Experience that will feature five curated tours in collaboration with Maggie O’Neill Fine Art Studio.
“HERSTORY TOGETHER” is a full-day event, with tours ranging from “Department Stores: A Feminine Oasis” to “Scandalous Women of Embassy Row” and “Under the Rainbow.” The salon event includes a keynote address from pop impressionist O’Neill, who most recently collaborated with local artists for the “Together” mural, a massive, vibrant installation in Shaw.
O’Neill’s work is rich and colorful, patchwork assemblies that are reminiscent of D.C.’s own Alma Thomas. Her portfolio boasts bold portraits of notable women, impressionist renditions of social justice movements and moments, and playful originals. She also is the co-founder of the popular creative design agency SWATCHROOM, specializing in hospitality art. O’Neill will host the VIP salon in her studio at The Wharf where attendees can also expect a networking event, celebratory toast, and book signing.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. and running all the way through to 5:30 p.m., the day’s itinerary is ambitious and innovative — something that reflects Calogera’s own initiatives as the founder of TOHO.
“Incorporating more inclusive narratives into company or sports programs provides a fresh perspective and an opportunity to form more relatable connections with clients, colleagues, and teammates.” Says Calogera.
Her team is tight-knit, functioning on core values of education, mindfulness, and civic engagement. TOHO memberships work to appeal to a community of women’s history and culture tourism enthusiasts.
“First and foremost, our historians are storytellers,” she continues. “Meeting modern demands for social justice, inclusion and diversity is a reachable task with the guidance of our women’s history and culture guides.
They’re no strangers to the good fight at TOHO. One of the available afternoon tours is “Hear Her Roar,” an experience that focuses specifically on women and civil disobedience. Starting in Freedom Plaza, this tour touches on everything from suffragettes to pink pussy hats. For a queer-inclusive view of the District, “Under The Rainbow” explores LGBTQ+ rights activism in historically gay Dupont Circle. “Department Stores: A Feminine Oasis” is the only virtual tour of the day, and contrary to the cliches it’s name might invoke, this tour analyzes shops as a “nexus of class and commerce,” where women who lived otherwise regimented and chaperoned lives could exercise both social and fiscal power.
It’s a perfect weekend activity for all ages, whether you’re a seasoned activist or a burgeoning one. In D.C. this Saturday the forecast is sunny, the mid-50s, and with a high chance of women’s liberation.
Buy tickets to one or all of TOHO’s tours and VIP Salon Experience on eventbrite, $30 for a single ticket or $111 for groups of 4 to 8 (free with TOHO membership). Tickets for the Salon are limited. To learn more about TOHO and Maggie O’Neill, visit atourofherown.com; @atourofherown // maggieo.com; @maggieoartist
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