Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate

Senator Lisa Murkowski, by Melina Mara. Courtesy of The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Being a senator means constantly shuttling to and from the home state. With one of the longest commutes, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska works while flying home on an early morning flight. (October 2013)


Melina Mara began photographing the thirteen women in the U.S. Senate in 2001, continuing as their number grew to fourteen in 2003. At a time when access to national politicians is increasingly controlled, Mara persuaded a majority of the senators to allow her to document the unprecedented role of women in the Senate, both behind the scenes and before microphones.

Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate, which opened at the Smithsonian Institution in 2003, includes informative text provided by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Veteran White House journalist Helen Thomas conducted interviews with ten of the senators, which have been distilled into two audio presentations. A photography-based video presentation portrays exhibition images with narration by Melina Mara.

Changing the Face of Power is an exhibition by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin, presented in partnership with Humanities Texas.

Changing the Face of Power is made possible in part by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Exhibition Format

Content38 black and white photographs
  • 1 - 23” x 33” mounted photograph
  • 9 - 11” x 14” framed photographs
  • 28 - 16” x 20” framed photographs
38 identification labels
8 subtext panels
40-minute audio CD
Video presentation (VHS or DVD)
Space Requirements107 linear feet of wall space
Shipping Weight and DimensionsTravels in 3 wooden crates and 1 box:
  • 32” x 27” x 31” - 155 lbs.
  • 26” x 22” x 23” - 155 lbs.
  • 26” x 22” x 24” - 75 lbs.
  • 26” x 38” x 6” - 40 lbs.
Rental Fee*$600*
Rental Period6 weeks

*Rental fees are based primarily on the cost of shipping. Prices may vary based on current fuel surcharges or venue location within the state of Texas. Out-of-state rentals are priced on an individual basis. Please call for a rental fee quote specific to your venue.

Publicity Materials

Press release

Changing the Face of Power press release.

Publicity image

A publicity image is available for promoting this exhibition at your venue. Please contact the exhibitions coordinator to request an electronic file of this image. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the exhibitions coordinator to process your request.

Humanities Texas logos

Venues may request a CD with the Humanities Texas logo in a number of electronic file formats for use when developing print and online promotional materials. Logo files are also available for download on the logo page.

Questions and Rental Information

Call 512.440.1991 or email

2018–2019 Bookings to Date

Dr. Pepper Museum

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, by Melina Mara. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.