National Women's History Museum
In November 2016, a bipartisan Congressional Commission — created by a bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney — issued a report recommending the creation of a new Smithsonian Museum dedicated to women’s history. In March 2019, Reps. Maloney, Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to establish such a museum National Mall. The bill has broad bipartisan support.
WHY WE NEED A WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM
Currently, depictions of our nation’s history are incomplete as they often fail to tell the stories of half our population — women. A national museum dedicated to recounting this history will show not only our country, but the world, that the U.S. values and appreciates women and what they have done to help build this great country.
- There is no comprehensive museum anywhere in the U.S. dedicated to the full story of women’s history
- Only 9 out of 91 statues in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall depict women;
- Only 5% of the approximately 2,400 national monuments honor women
- Women are underrepresented in the history textbooks taught in schools
BILL SUMMARY OF H.R.19: Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act
- Establishes a Smithsonian national museum for the collection, study and establishment of programs covering the contributions of women to various fields throughout history
- Establishes an advisory council consisting of 25 members appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents to make recommendations concerning planning, design and construction, operations and finances, and programming for the museum
- Directs Smithsonian to appoint a Director to manage the museum and carry out educational programs in cooperation with other Smithsonian Institutions and schools
- Instructs the Board of Regents to choose one of two locations for the museum site, both located on the National Mall and recommended by the Congressional Commission and authorizes the transfer of the chosen site to the Smithsonian Institution
- Ensures that private funds finance the construction of the museum building, while authorizing federal funds for the planning, design and operation of the museum by the Smithsonian
MAIN FINDINGS OF THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF WOMEN’S HISTORY CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION
- The U.S. needs and deserves a comprehensive museum dedication to women’s history in Washington, D.C.
- The future Museum of Women’s History should be part of the Smithsonian;
- The exhibits and collections should be inclusive and represent a diverse array of viewpoints and perspectives of women who have helped shape America;
- The museum deserves a prominent location on or very close to the National Mall;
- Private sector money should finance the construction of a world-class museum.
The full report can be found at amwh.us/report.
HISTORY OF EFFORT TO CREATE A WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM
Rep. Maloney worked for 16 years to create a Congressional Commission to study the need for a women’s history museum. In 2014, her legislation, introduced with Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) in the House and former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate, was passed and signed into law.
The bipartisan American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission submitted its report to Congress in November 2016 with its unanimous recommendation that a comprehensive women’s history museum should be established on or near the National Mall as part of the Smithsonian Institution.
SELECT PRESS COVERAGE
- Washington Post: Congressional panel calls for new Smithsonian museum of women’s history
- ELLE Magazine: It's Taken 20 Years for Congress to Consider a Women's Museum. Under Trump, What Now?
- The Hill: Support grows for Smithsonian museum of women’s history
- USA Today: Majority of House members now back bill for women's museum
- Marie Claire: Opinion: Our Country Needs to Stop Acting Like Women Have Only Played Supporting Roles in Its History
More on National Women's History Museum
For 20 years, proponents in and out of Congress have sought the creation of a national museum devoted to women’s history, and a new bipartisan push will likely get the matter a vote in the House this fall.
Last month, a bill to establish such a museum crossed the 290 co-sponsorship threshold that allows for fast-track floor consideration under what is known as the consensus calendar. The measure could be scheduled for a vote by November.
NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul hosted The Future is Female: Making a Difference in our Communities and in Congress with the Lower East Side Girls Club to highlight the importance of gender equality and discuss important initiatives to support women and girls, including state and federal Equal Rights Amendments, the establishment of a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, and New York’s Women’s Agenda.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), author of H.R. 19, Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, released the following statement on the inclusion of $2 million designated for the Smithsonian Women’s Initiative in the FY2018 Omnibus spending package.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) issued the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day: