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

Mar 31, 2020 Press Release

New York, NY — Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), sponsor of H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, released the following statement marking the end of Women’s History Month 2020. 

Feb 21, 2020 In The News

With a solidly bipartisan vote of 374-37, the US House of Representatives this month passed a bill to establish a National Women’s History Museum. Here’s hoping the Senate follows suit.

Feb 14, 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Feb 14, 2020 In The News

There are not many things that Democrats and Republicans agree on these days. But there is this: “America needs and deserves a national museum dedicated to showcasing the historical experiences of women in this country.”

Feb 11, 2020 In The News

WASHINGTON – The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted 374-37 Tuesday to build a women's history museum on the National Mall.

Thirty-six Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., voted against the measure. 

"Women have been left out of the telling of the nation's history," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., one of the bill's sponsors, said on the House floor. 

"This is about giving women, all women our rightful place in history," said Maloney, who noted the lack of national landmarks or textbook entries dedicated to women.

Feb 11, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act by a vote of 374-37.

The bill’s lead sponsors, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released the following statement celebrating the bill’s passage:

Feb 10, 2020 In The News

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Women in Congress are celebrating what could be a landmark week for women’s rights.

The House is expected to vote this week on an Equal Rights Amendment bill and on the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act.  

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, who has pushed both bills for years, describes this as a culmination of decades of advocacy for women.

Maloney, a lead sponsor on the Equal Rights Amendment, has reintroduced it to Congress every year since 1997.

Feb 9, 2020 Press Release

NEW YORK, NY ​​—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined NYC elected officials and women’s rights advocates at the historic Roosevelt House at Hunter College to rally support for critical legislation expected to pass the House of Representatives this week. 

 

Feb 7, 2020 In The News

The House is expected to vote next week on legislation to establish a women's history museum in the nation's capital, in a victory for female lawmakers who have been pursuing the effort for years.

A spokeswoman for House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the author of the legislation, confirmed Friday that the vote is slated for next week.