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 2017, Reps. Maloney and Ed Royce (CA-39) introduced H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to establish such a museum National Mall. The bill has broad bipartisan support, with 246 cosponsors. The bill number was reserved by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as a symbol of one of the most important moments in women’s history—the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919 granting women the right to vote.

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 MUSUEM 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

Aug 9, 2017 Press Release

NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York at the Fearless Girl statue as they announced their enthusiastic endorsement of a women’s history museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC and Rep. Maloney’s legislation, H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to create such an institution.

Jun 21, 2017 In The News

Momentum for a museum of women’s history on the National Mall is building, with 198 lawmakers signing on to co-sponsor legislation to create it.

That’s a jump from 150 co-sponsors on June 6, a surge in support that is edging closer to a House majority.

“I believe that there’s no reason not to support it,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bill. “It helps the country, it helps women, and it’s truly bipartisan.”

Jun 6, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — The movement to establish a new Smithsonian museum dedicated to American women’s history is gaining steam. The bill to create a women’s history museum (HR 19), sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ed Royce (R-CA), just passed the 150 cosponsor mark and the Smithsonian Institute is now raising funds for an American Women’s History Initiative. Under the new initiative the Smithsonian will hire new curators, survey its collection and begin to “amplify the voices of women from the past to inform the present and inspire the future.” 

Jan 12, 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

I’m writing to update you on my work toward making the dream of a Smithsonian museum honoring American women’s history a reality.  

Jan 9, 2017 In The News

Leading women from politics, the arts and other fields urged President-elect Donald Trump on Monday to support a new national women’s museum in Washington that would be affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

At a meeting in New York to give momentum to the idea, the group cited the report of a bipartisan Congressional commission in November that urged construction of the museum.

Jan 9, 2017 In The News

The time is now for a Smithsonian Museum of American Women’s History on the National Mall in Washington, Rep. Carolyn Maloney said Monday.

“We should be proud to make a strong statement that Americans value women, champion equality and honor the significant contributions of women throughout our history,” the Manhattan Democrat said.

An advocacy group, the Common Good, announced a Change.org petition calling on Congress to authorize construction of the museum.

Dec 1, 2016 In The News

President-elect Donald Trump will face a delicate question after he takes office next year: whether to support building a women’s history museum on the National Mall.

The two main proponents of the bipartisan push, which has been going on for years, both have ties to the real estate mogul.

Nov 21, 2016 In The News

We may soon get an exciting addition to the 19 Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC: An eight-member Congressional panel has laid forth a plan for the American Museum of Women’s History, which would spotlight women's contributions to the country. Its proponents plan to introduce it to Congress wi

Nov 18, 2016 Press Release

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), lead House sponsor of the bill to create a Congressional Commission to study a national women’s history museum, today was joined on the steps of City Hall with New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilman Ben Kallos, and women leaders to hail the final bipartisan report from the American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission. The report recommends the creation of a new Smithsonian Museum for American Women’s History on the National Mall.

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