Exhibitions

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg explores the American judicial system through one of its sharpest legal minds, the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Based upon the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, this unique exhibition was created by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, in partnership with the book’s co-authors: journalist Irin Carmon, a senior correspondent at New York magazine, and attorney Shana Knizhnik, who founded the popular Tumblr that earned RBG internet fame (and amused the Justice herself), working together with Skirball curator Cate Thurston. Like the book, the exhibition offers a visually rich, entertaining, yet rigorous look at RBG’s life and work. Through archival photographs and documents, contemporary art, media stations, and playful interactives, the exhibition tells the parallel stories of RBG’s remarkable career and the efforts she joined to expand “We the People” to include those long left out of the Constitution’s promises. By bringing to life RBG’s compelling biography and her commitment to our nation’s highest ideals, the exhibition invites visitors to participate in civic life and consider how the future of the Supreme Court impacts us all.

Briefs and other writings by RBG, including some of her famously searing dissents, are woven throughout the exhibit. In keeping with the spirit of Carmon and Knizhnik’s book, the exhibition riffs off the playful connection between Notorious RBG and rapper Notorious B.I.G. (as she likes to point out, they were both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.) The name of each gallery section alludes to a song or lyric from the late hip-hop artist.

Exhibition Highlights:

  • A robe and jabot from RBG’s Supreme Court wardrobe
  • Ten listening stations where visitors can hear RBG’s delivery of oral arguments, majority opinions, and forceful dissents in landmark Supreme Court cases such as:
    • US v. Virginia (regarding male-only admissions of the Virginia Military Institute)
    • Bush v. Gore (regarding the 2000 US Presidential election)
    • Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (regarding pay discrimination)
    • Shelby County v. Holder (regarding voting rights)
  • A new interview with Stephen Wiesenfeld, whom RBG has called her favorite client. In 1975, Wiesenfeld filed a lawsuit when he was denied his late wife’s Social Security benefits because only widows, not widowers, were eligible to receive them. As head of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, RBG successfully argued the case before the Supreme Court, which concurred that the gender-based distinction violated Wiesenfeld’s right to equal protection under the law.
  • Correspondence with civil rights leader, poet, and lawyer Pauli Murray, whose groundbreaking idea to use the Fourteenth Amendment to litigate civil rights and sex discrimination cases informed RBG’s winning strategy as an attorney for the ACLU.
  • Yearbooks from across RBG’s academic life, from her Brooklyn high school to Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, and Rutgers Universities—plus a chance to read a paper that she wrote as an eighth grader exploring the relationship between the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the recently formed United Nations Charter.
  • 3D reimaginations of key places in RBG’s life, such as:
    • The Supreme Court bench, where visitors can dress up in a robe and jabot and imagine making their own opinions heard
    • The desk in her chambers, where visitors can view the 2018–2019 Supreme Court calendar and grasp what sorts of cases will be decided by the justices in the near term
  • The official portraits of RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first-ever museum exhibition focused solely on this judicial icon, whose image graces mugs, t-shirts, posters, and bobbleheads. The exhibit is a vibrant exploration of Justice Ginsburg’s life and her numerous, often simultaneous roles as a student, wife, mother, lawyer, judge, women’s rights pioneer, and Internet phenomenon.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is organized and circulated by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, California.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Rocio Rubio at rrubio@hmh.org or 713-527-1638.

March 11, 2022 — July 31, 2022

M: Closed
T-Sa: 10 am to 5 pm
Su: Noon to 5 pm

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A special thanks to our sponsors

Presenting Sponsor
PNC Bank
Title Sponsors
Hartline Barger LLP
Donald and Martha Kaplan Freedman
The Lewis and Joan Lowenstein Foundation
Donald and Robin Wayne
Lead Sponsors
The Women's Initiative at Andrews Myers
Judge Caroline Baker
Brad and Anna Eastman
Judge Mike Engelhart
The Fealy Law Firm, PC
David and Heidi Gerger
Ronald Grabois Family Fund
Alan and Renee Helfman
Jerry Rochman
Wright Close & Barger, LLP