Women's Museum of California

Preserving the Past, Inspiring the Future

About Us

The Women's Museum of California is one of only six museums of women's history in the country. Founded in 1983 as the Women's History Reclamation Project, we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Founder, Mary Maschal

From 1983 until 1997, Mary Mashcal assembled an extensive collection of memorabilia and aritifacts, filling virtually every room of her Golden Hill home with historic documents, banners, posters, and books. Mary and others also reached out into the community, offering lectures on women's history to school children, professional and social organizations, and community groups. In 1995, at the urging of family and friends, Mary opened her home to the public and held exhibitions of her vast collection. The enthusiasm over Mary's collection, generated by the Open House, and the need in San Diego for a museum dedicated solely to women and their stories brought forth the Women's History Reclamation Project.


In 1997, the WHRP moved from Mary's home into the nearby ART UNION Building and opened to the public on a regular basis . In December of 2003 the WHRP changed its name to the Women's History Museum and Educational Center or WHM.

Since 1997 the Women's Museum of California evolved into a full-fledged women's history museum and valuable community educational resource. With the help of many volunteers and a dedicated staff, the WMC features a variety of changing exhibits and displays on women's history, sponsors workshop and lecture series, develops and implements educational and cultural events, including art shows, live performances and presentations; maintains a library, archive & collections; and provides speakers for the community through its Speakers' Bureau. The WMC is a co-founder and sponsor of the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame. We collaborate with dozens of women's and girl's organizations and agencies throughout San Diego.

In 2011, we changed our name to the Women’s Museum of California with the tag line “preserving the past…inspiring the future”. We are now located at the NTC at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

No timeline for this year.

Our mission is to educate and inspire current and future generations about the experiences and contributions of women by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the evidence of that experience.

... Respecting and honoring all women and their experiences.
... Respecting all individuals’ beliefs, cultures and ideas.
... Inviting and encouraging participation and open dialogue from women, men and children.
... Integrity of our collection and in our presentation of women’s history.
... Diversity, cultural competence, cultural democracy and inclusion in our organizational structure.
... An organizational environment that builds and fosters open, honest, considerate communication and a spirit of cooperative problem solving, consensus and community.
... Planning, responsible decision-making, well-designed systems Accountability, and fiscal responsibility.
... Enthusiasm, positive attitude, creativity, recognition, humor, commitment, support, passion, acceptance.
... Human life and human rights.

Ashley Gardner

Executive Director

A former local NBC TV host, producer, and owner of a small, video production company, Ashley has directed the operations of the Women's Museum since 2007. Having lived in San Diego since 1980 as part of the arts community, Ms Gardner brings her love of the community to her work here.

Li Huai

Guest Curator

Li Huai received her BA in fine arts at the Beijing Film Academy and her MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. She is on the faculty in the Visual Arts Dept. at UCSD.

Duane McGregor

Exhibits and Visuals Design

Background in Architecture, Graphic and Textile Design.

Tina Clarke

Operations & Program Consultant

Tina brings her experience as an artist, educator, and administrator in education to a variety of projects at the Museum. 

Charla Wilson

Library, Archive & Museum Collections Manager

Charla received her BA in American Studies from Scripps College and MA in Education from Claremont Graduate University. She is currently a student at CSU San Marcos, pursuing an MA in (digital) History.   

Anne Hoiberg

Former President

A writer, speaker and research psychologist, Anne has written and presented extensively on women's health, women in the military, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, health promotion, workman's compensation cost containment, stress related disease and role of military in society.

Hannah Cohen


President of the Cohen Policy Group, Hannah recently served as the consultant for Sustainable San Diego where she formed the collaborative of 40 agencies to address the implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategy. Her area of expertise is in affordable housing and homelessness policy.

Amy Freiburger

Vice President

Amy Freiburger currently works for Southwest Strategies, a full-service public affairs and communications firm, as a Senior Account Executive. Additionally, she serves as Vice Chair of the North San Diego Business Chamber’s Policy Committee.

Diane Peabody

Interim Treasurer

Diane recently joined the board after discovering the Women’s Museum as a result of her work as an Events Planner. She loves history and works on several major projects at the Museum including the planning and production of the Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Festival.

Linda Babcock


Retired after 40 years as a commercial property manager, Linda most recently spent 12 years with Jone Lang LaSalle dedicated to managing Bank of Amerca commercial branches in SD.  Always interested in giving back to the community, Linda recently joined the WMC Board.

Diana Palacios

Board Member

Diana completed her position as Deputy Chief of Staff for San Diego City Councilman, Scott Sherman, in 2015. As a new mother and professional women she is dedicated to the empowerment and education of young women and girls in San Diego.