Grants:Project/Effie Kapsalis/Smithsonian Wikimedian-in-Residence for Gender Representation/Final

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This Project Grant report has been submitted by the grantee, and is currently being reviewed by WMF staff. If you would like to add comments, responses, or questions about this grant report, you can create a discussion page at this redlink.

Welcome to this project's final report! This report shares the outcomes, impact and learnings from the grantee's project.

Part 1: The Project[edit]


  • One of the major successes of this grant period was how much Smithsonian leaders talked about Wikipedia and this project on social media, at board meetings, and in internal communications. Wikipedia is now seen as a key tactic to achieving the American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) vision “to create a more equitable and just American society, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative will create, disseminate, and amplify the historical record of the accomplishments of women.”
  • We generated 909,281 image views from April 2019 - March 2020 from a batch of 235 images from the National Portrait Gallery. These image views largely come from images of women of color, especially Sojourner Truth. We confirmed what we already knew about the gender gap on Wikipedia and American women’s history: that images and content about women of color are needed and we’ve prioritized, along with our American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) curators, getting more of this content from our collections onto Wikimedia
  • We created 70 new articles about American women from our edit-a-thons and added 11,442 words to Wikipedia articles relating to American women and/or American women’s history. For context, prior to this project and position at the Smithsonian, four #WomenInSTEM edit-a-thons over several years were held, resulting in about the same number of new articles. This is a great improvement in our capacity and will continue to grow over the next few years as the project continues.
  • We established avenues for AWHI curators to collaborate with Wikimedians and how their work can have a direct impact on solving the gender gap on Wikipedia
  • We identified and collaborated with new partners who allowed us to broaden our reach and activities while developing new ideas for the future
  • The grant period allowed us to be creative in how we approached this work. We developed new avenues for success and GLAM models to continue working on into 2021 and 2022. Our priority is a broad spectrum of American women’s history from a range of locations and participants. We look forward to expanding our reach in the coming years through our work with Smithsonian Affiliates, the Wikimedia community, the Wikimedia Foundation, our external partners, and our internal units.

Project Goals[edit]

  • GOAL 1: Capitalize on the Smithsonian's American Women's History Initiative (AWHI) to increase the representation of women on Wikimedia projects in partnership with other GLAM organizations and gender equity organizations.

We have successfully raised awareness with new and existing partners both within the Wikimedia community and outside of it including smaller affiliate cultural organizations. Our metrics for image views, articles created, and words added to Wikipedia about American women are a good first start to our 4 year long project. We successfully raised funds to grow campaigns to include smaller Smithsonian affiliated cultural organizations. We fully expect these metrics to increase exponentially over the course of the project and as we experiment with the campaign format.

  • GOAL 2: Demonstrate the benefit of sustained engagement with open knowledge projects to Smithsonian leadership to make an open knowledge coordinator position a permanent role in order to help it achieve its “Reach 1 billion people a year with a digital-first strategy” goal.

With the success of this initial year, AWHI was able to raise additional funds to include Smithsonian Affiliate museums in campaigns, partner with Wiki Education on training for Affiliate Museums, and fund the Smithsonian of Open Knowledge Coordinator for 3 additional years. The work will continue and expand within the American women’s history space both online and in collaboration with our curators and archivists. Building on the Smithsonian’s new open access policy (launched February 2020), our commitment to sharing Smithsonian trusted resources in Wiki spaces continues with bringing on a Wikimedian at Large in Summer 2020to help build at-scale processes for contributing new data and images about American women. As our world shifts to an increasingly digital one with the rise of Covid-19, we plan to continue our creative approach to accomplish our digital-first strategy goals.

  • GOAL 3: Develop and test micro-crowdsourcing tasks in Wikipedia and Wikidata to lower barriers to entry for new volunteers, and evaluate if those types of activities increase participation from communities with less free time and Wikipedia-savvy.

The micro-crowdsourcing tasks are detailed in greater detail in the “What didn’t work” section of this report. Our focus on internal partnerships to facilitate micro-crowdsourcing tasks may have impeded our ability to successfully host as many of these scaled down events as we had liked. However, the content required to successfully execute these events largely depended on these same partnerships with internal units. Our edit-a-thons did engage new volunteers and help increase participation from new GLAM members internally and externally. However, we are re-evaluating our micro-crowdsourcing efforts and re-introducing the concept internally as smaller, virtual events increase.

Project Impact[edit]

Important: The Wikimedia Foundation is no longer collecting Global Metrics for Project Grants. We are currently updating our pages to remove legacy references, but please ignore any that you encounter until we finish.


  1. In the first column of the table below, please copy and paste the measures you selected to help you evaluate your project's success (see the Project Impact section of your proposal). Please use one row for each measure. If you set a numeric target for the measure, please include the number.
  2. In the second column, describe your project's actual results. If you set a numeric target for the measure, please report numerically in this column. Otherwise, write a brief sentence summarizing your output or outcome for this measure.
  3. In the third column, you have the option to provide further explanation as needed. You may also add additional explanation below this table.
Planned measure of success
(include numeric target, if applicable)
Actual result Explanation
Recruit 2-3 new staff members who will partner more closely with the Wikimedia community. Completed - Our AWHI curators have been specifically helpful here
Register 50 new Wikipedia/Wikidata volunteers. Completed, 68 new users
Create 3 new Smithsonian partnerships with Wikimedia Chapters, User Groups, and WikiProjects to increase participation and contributions around gender. Completed. 1) Whose Knowledge 2) Wiki Education Foundation 3) Wiki Project Women in Red
Establish a permanent Open Knowledge Coordinator position at the Smithsonian Position funded for 3 additional years after March 2020.
Create and test 3-5 micro-crowdsourcing tasks Created and tested 1 micro-crowdsourcing task See ‘What didn’t work’ section for in depth analysis
Identify and test methods for recruiting female and diverse volunteers We have expanded our reach with partnerships with new internal units (e.g. National Air and Space Museum) and external organizations (e.g. 500 Women Scientists). In doing so, we find new audiences to recruit. We’ve also utilized our AWHI website and plan to increase engagement on the site in the future for recruiting.
Coordinate 4 in-person events hosted by the Smithsonian with a gender focus Completed, 5 in-person events were hosted throughout the year


Looking back over your whole project, what did you achieve? Tell us the story of your achievements, your results, your outcomes. Focus on inspiring moments, tough challenges, interesting antecdotes or anything that highlights the outcomes of your project. Imagine that you are sharing with a friend about the achievements that matter most to you in your project.

  • This should not be a list of what you did. You will be asked to provide that later in the Methods and Activities section.
  • Consider your original goals as you write your project's story, but don't let them limit you. Your project may have important outcomes you weren't expecting. Please focus on the impact that you believe matters most.

The achievements that resonate most from the first year of this project are the partnerships, the learnings on in-person events at a large cultural institution, and the increased buy-in staff and leadership have for Wikimedia across the Smithsonian.

I’m continually surprised by the impact that a single image has made across our organization and on Wikimedia itself. The image of Sojourner Truth that was added from the National Portrait Gallery’s collections has performed remarkably well and has shown the value of this work internally. The Provost of the Smithsonian, in December 2019, mentioned this image and its impact, in his opening remarks at the first annual Smithsonian Symposia (Working Women: The Smithsonian Institution as a Case Study). Our Secretary has tweeted about the image to a vast and diverse audience of followers, highlighting the importance of Wikimedia in GLAM spaces, especially in regards to the gender gap and American women’s history.

Our growing edit-a-thon model has re-invigorated my understanding of the importance of these events in our community and with new editors as an entry point to our platforms. Edit-a-thons don’t have to be a stagnant event model, but can be something that we as a community continuously reinvent over time to make them as effective and engaging as possible. Over the course of this year, our edit-a-thons have grown in performance but most importantly, they have grown in their scope. We have found that edit-a-thons at the Smithsonian work best when all of the departments within a given unit or museum work together on the planning. For example, our October 2019 Ada Lovelace Day edit-a-thon at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) was well attended, and produced high metrics. However, the true accomplishment was the coordinated effort by all internal departments to create a polished podcast, video livestream, social media posting, coordinated worklists with image releases from NASM curators and archivists, and opening remarks from Dr. Ellen Stofan, the director of NASM. It was especially powerful to have Dr. Stofan open the event discussing her passion for representation of women in science and the inspiration that gives to young girls and women interested in pursuing careers in science related fields. Her understanding that Wikipedia and Wikimedia are integral to this issue of representation furthers our ability to host successful events and campaigns like this one. Furthermore, the creativity of the team at NASM allowed us to have a staff illustrator, Diane Kidd, create an artistic rendering of Phoebe Waterman Haas when no rights free image was available. It was a dynamic element to the event and was my first edit-a-thon of many years as an organizer and attendee to see such a creative component effectively executed - which was only possible because of the coordinate team effort of this event.

I’m inspired by our AWHI curators, especially Liz Harmon at Smithsonian Archives, and their list building about notable American women in the Smithsonian’s history. Liz’s work on the Funk List specifically focuses on the history of Smithsonian women who achieved, discovered, and contributed a vast array within the field of science. This project unearths hundreds of notable women who are largely unknown, but through our collaboration these women will be added to Wikidata and be a constant source of edit-a-thon and micro-crowdsourcing worklists.

The Smithsonian’s Open Access launch in February 2020 opens the possibilities for what we can accomplish together as an Institution and a community in the coming years. Through many years of hard work and advocacy, we are now one step closer to narrowing the gender gap on Wikimedia through the opening of our collections.


If you used surveys to evaluate the success of your project, please provide a link(s) in this section, then briefly summarize your survey results in your own words. Include three interesting outputs or outcomes that the survey revealed.



Is there another way you would prefer to communicate the actual results of your project, as you understand them? You can do that here!

Methods and activities[edit]

Please provide a list of the main methods and activities through which you completed your project.

  • Edit-a-thons
  • Micro-crowdsourcing event
  • Wikimedia Commons uploads related to American Women
  • Conference attendance, sharing findings and happenings with the Wikimedia community through a variety of other community portals (social media, WREN network, Wikimedia DC, etc.)
  • Developing partnerships with internal units and external organizations (Wikimedia related and non-profits)
  • Collaborations with AWHI curators
  • Elevating American Women on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons
  • Sharing progress, ideas, and future plans and/or collaboration opportunities with Wikimedia Foundation GLAM staff

Project resources[edit]

Please provide links to all public, online documents and other artifacts that you created during the course of this project. Even if you have linked to them elsewhere in this report, this section serves as a centralized archive for everything you created during your project. Examples include: meeting notes, participant lists, photos or graphics uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, template messages sent to participants, wiki pages, social media (Facebook groups, Twitter accounts), datasets, surveys, questionnaires, code repositories... If possible, include a brief summary with each link.


The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you took enough risks in your project to have learned something really interesting! Think about what recommendations you have for others who may follow in your footsteps, and use the below sections to describe what worked and what didn’t.

What worked well[edit]

What did you try that was successful and you'd recommend others do? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.

What didn’t work[edit]

What did you try that you learned didn't work? What would you think about doing differently in the future? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • Micro-crowdsourcing events were less widely embraced internally than we had predicted during this first year. There seems to be several reasons for this:
    • Most museum professionals are still most comfortable with or aware of the Wikipedia edit-a-thon model and therefore prefer to work towards planning an edit-a-thon with the limited time they have to dedicate to Wikipedia / Wikimedia.
    • Well organized edit-a-thons tend to produce higher metrics, social media content, and press than smaller micro-crowdsourcing events. Therefore, they tend to be more desirable than a smaller, scaled down event.
    • There’s an ongoing challenge of getting Smithsonian staff to contribute to Wikipedia / Wikimedia actively. However, this project and position has helped us on board more editors and raise awareness, and we did develop an at-scale process that we will test out later in 2020 and into 20201.
    • However, with the onset of Covid-19 in the U.S. in the final month of this grant term, we saw an increased desire for small events that could be quickly organized around a simple task. Along with the increased focus on digital platforms I believe that our ability to produce, test, and refine micro-crowdsourcing tasks/events in the remaining months of 2020 and into 2021 will grow rapidly.
      • We currently have one such virtual micro-crowdsourcing event planned for June 25th with the National Museum of Natural History.

Other recommendations[edit]

If you have additional recommendations or reflections that don’t fit into the above sections, please list them here.

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

Are there opportunities for future growth of this project, or new areas you have uncovered in the course of this grant that could be fruitful for more exploration (either by yourself, or others)? What ideas or suggestions do you have for future projects based on the work you’ve completed? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • Continued and expanded work with Smithsonian Affiliates which will engage new GLAMs, increase the representation of women on Wikipedia / Wikimedia, and allow for new micro-crowdsourcing testing and usage within the Community. We plan to continue our collaboration with the WMF on this project, especially as the WMF embarks on additional Gender Gap programming in 2021.
  • We will move forward with list building internally about notable Smithsonian women, as well as notable women from our collections who need a presence on Wikipedia / Wikimedia.
  • We hope to continue, where possible, to expand our ability to release images and host Wikimedia events in coordination with exhibit openings related to American women’s history.
  • An expansion of our current partnerships is desired and something we are working on ongoing. New projects, ideas, and collaborations being a natural part of these collaborations.

Part 2: The Grant[edit]


Actual spending[edit]

Please copy and paste the completed table from your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed the actual expenditures compared with what was originally planned. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided to explain them.

Expense Approved amount Actual funds spent Difference
Wages for Wikimedian-in-Residence $40,000.00 $39,999.97 $0.03
Food and coffee for four in-person events with volunteer events and two coordinating meetings for Metropolitan D.C. area women's organizations, cultural heritage organizations, universities, etc. $798.00 $797.09 $0.91
Travel expenses to bring the AWHI Wikimedian-in-Residence for Gender Representation to Washington D.C. for a February microcrowdsourcing event at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and for the Art+Feminism edit-a-thon event in March at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. $1,702.00 $1,702.94 $-0.94
Administrative cost for the Smithsonian's Office of Sponsored Projects $4,250.00 $4,250.00 $0.00
Total $46,750.00 $46,750.00 $0.00

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any unspent funds from the grant?

Please answer yes or no. If yes, list the amount you did not use and explain why.

  • No.

If you have unspent funds, they must be returned to WMF. Please see the instructions for returning unspent funds and indicate here if this is still in progress, or if this is already completed:


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grantsadmin(_AT_), according to the guidelines here?

Please answer yes or no. If no, include an explanation.

  • Yes

Confirmation of project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

Please answer yes or no.

  • Yes

Is your project completed?

Please answer yes or no.

  • Yes

Grantee reflection[edit]

We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on what this project has meant to you, or how the experience of being a grantee has gone overall. Is there something that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed, or that you’ll do differently going forward as a result of the Project Grant experience? Please share it here!

  • We have been excited by seeing the impact one image release can make, in this case the Sojourner Truth image, and how it has created space for future image releases of notable women from our collections. (add image to report here)
  • Working with AWHI curators to develop worklists about notable women for Wikipedia articles in the first half of the grant term will aid the work we want to accomplish in the second half.
  • Bigger and better edit-a-thons were a theme throughout the year long grant term.
  • Smithsonian leadership now includes messaging in reports to the Smithsonian Board of Regents, as well as at the board meetings of the Smithsonian’s individual units. Smithsonian leadership included an image of the Votes for Women edit-a-thon volunteers with high-level statistics in an internal newsletter for over 6,500 Smithsonian staff, volunteers and interns.
  • We’ve also established a framework for reporting the impact of these events to Smithsonian partners, senior leadership and key external stakeholders.
  • This first year has given us the opportunity to be creative and experiment with what works well and what can be done better. We’ve found new avenues for expansion and potential models for crowdsourcing lists of names about American women from smaller GLAMS affiliated with the Smithsonian.