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

Sep 12, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), lead sponsor of H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act today announced that she has formally requested that the bill be placed on the consensus calendar. The legislation currently has 292 cosponsors.
Jun 28, 2019 Newsletter
Dear Friend, I hope you had a good week – I know I had a busy one with some key wins in Washington, DC – in Congress and at the Supreme Court. I’m thrilled to share good news on our fights to fully fund and make permanent the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and to ensure a full, fair, and accurate 2020 Census. This week, I also gathered with my colleagues to celebrate growing bipartisan support for a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, the House passed the SAFE Act – a bill to better secure our elections against foreign interference, and I offered my Federal Employee Paid Leave Act as an amendment to the NDAA. More on all this below.
Mar 29, 2019 Newsletter
Dear Friend, I’m writing today with another weekly update to fill you in on some key votes I took in Washington and a new report and piece of legislation I unveiled today.
Mar 28, 2019 Press Release
Today, Congressmembers Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the bipartisan Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act to create a national museum dedicated to American women’s history. The bill has 26 bipartisan original cosponsors.
Mar 27, 2018 Press Release

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. 

Mar 22, 2018 Press Release

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.

Mar 8, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) issued the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day:

Sep 7, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) to provide $2 million for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative. The initiative aims to make important improvements to existing museum exhibitions that would more accurately and completely tell the story of our nation’s history and will help lay the groundwork for a future Smithsonian museum dedicated to American women’s history..

Sep 5, 2017 Press Release

Following the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) announcement that President and CEO Joan Bradley Wages will be stepping down from her position at the end of this year, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), author of H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, thanked Wages for her dedication and tireless work.