Smithsonian Women's History Museum

Beginning in 1998, Congresswoman Maloney has led the effort to create a museum dedicated to the contributions women have made throughout the history of the United States. Rep. Maloney along with Marsha Blackburn (TN-7), former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) sponsored a bill to create a Congressional Commission to study the establishment of such a museum. In 2014, Congress passed the legislation and after 18 months of study, the bipartisan American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission submitted its final report unanimously concluding that the American people need and deserve such a museum.

Based on the Commission recommendations, Rep. Maloney introduced  the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, along with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), to establish a women’s history museum on the National Mall (H.R. 19 in the 115th Congress and H.R. 1980 in the 116th Congress). The Senate companion bill was sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

 

H.R. 1980 was passed by the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 374-37 on February 11, 2019. A version of the bill was included in the Omnibus package that passed the house on December 21, 2020 and was signed into law on December 27, 2020. 

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 the 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. It will serve to inspire men and women of all ages who come from around the world to visit the great museums of our nation’s capital.  

  • There is no comprehensive museum anywhere in the U.S. dedicated to the full story of women’s history
  • Only 9 out of 100 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 student read in schools

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;

The full report can be found at amwh.us/report.

SELECT PRESS COVERAGE

  • Washington PostCongressional panel calls for new Smithsonian museum of women’s history
  • ELLE MagazineIt's Taken 20 Years for Congress to Consider a Women's Museum. Under Trump, What Now?
  • The HillSupport 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
  • New York Times: Congress Approves New Museums Honoring Women and Latinos

Washington Post: Congress authorizes Smithsonian museums focused on American Latinos and women’s history

More on Smithsonian Women's History Museum

Jun 10, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), author of H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, this week urged the Appropriations Committee to provide adequate funding for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. A version of the Congresswoman’s legislation was included in last year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260).

 

Mar 22, 2021 In The News

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney celebrates Women's History Month. (Photo courtesy of Maloney's office)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney celebrates Women's History Month. (Photo courtesy of Maloney's office)

 

Mar 17, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and author of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which was recently signed into law, spoke on the House floor this evening in celebration of Women’s History Month. She highlighted the Equal Rights Amendment, the forthcoming Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, and the achievements women across the country have made in the advancement of equality.

 

You can watch the Congresswoman’s floor speech and read a transcript below.

Mar 12, 2021 Press Release

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), author of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, today celebrated the Smithsonian’s announcement of Lisa Sasaki to serve as the Interim Director of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum (SAWHM).

 

Jan 4, 2021 In The News

American girls and women need not wait much longer to see a Smithsonian museum telling their story on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall.

Congress passed the pandemic relief omnibus bill for fiscal year 2021 last week. It includes H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, ensuring the establishment of a branch of the world’s largest museum and research complex dedicated to telling the history of women in the United States.

Dec 23, 2020 In The News

Days after a single senator blocked legislation approving two long-awaited additions to the Smithsonian Institution—a National Museum of the American Latino and a museum dedicated to women’s history—Congress has officially authorized their creation.

Dec 23, 2020 In The News

Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill on Monday that also greenlit the establishment of two new Smithsonian museums that will honor Latinx and women's history, marking a victory for museum advocates who have been fighting for decades.

Dec 23, 2020 In The News

El paquete legislativo aprobado por el Congreso el lunes por la noche también da luz verde a la creación de dos museos Smithsonian largamente esperados en la capital del país: uno centrado en los latinos estadounidenses y otro dedicado a la historia de las mujeres estadounidenses.

Aunque conceptualizar, encomendar y construir los museos podría llevar años, la aprobación del Congreso es una victoria para los defensores de los museos cuyos esfuerzos se remontan a décadas.

Dec 22, 2020 In The News

The massive legislation package passed by Congress Monday night also greenlights the establishment of two long-awaited Smithsonian museums in the nation's capital: one focused on American Latinos and another dedicated to American women's history.

Though the museums could take years to conceptualize, curate and build, Congress' approval is a victory for the museums' advocates whose efforts date back decades.

Dec 22, 2020 In The News

The 5,500-page spending and relief bill that Congress passed Monday night includes the authorization of two Smithsonian museums — one focused on American Latinos, the other on American women — that pave the way for the world’s largest museum complex to become even more diverse.