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 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

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.

Nov 16, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – 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, received the group’s final report today. Over the last 18 months, the bipartisan Commission engaged with historians, scholars and various experts to draft the report and make their recommendations for an achievable plan to establish a national women’s history museum in Washington, D.C.

Nov 16, 2016 In The News
A Congressional panel Wednesday night said the nation's capital should be home to an American Museum of Women's History. Nearly two years after its creation, the bipartisan American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission delivered its final report to Congress. All eight members said the museum should be built. The report also suggested making it part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Nov 16, 2016 In The News

A week after the highest of all glass ceilings proved indestructible, a congressional panel finds the country needs a national museum dedicated to showcasing the contributions and experiences of American women.

To be called the American Museum of Women’s History, the institution would open in a new or existing building on or near the Mall and would be operated by the Smithsonian Institution. Private donors would provide the estimated $150 million to $180 million needed for the construction or renovation.

Apr 12, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Following President Obama’s announcement today that he will designate the Sewall-Belmont House, the headquarters for the National Woman’s Party since 1929, as a national monument known as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement:

Mar 1, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON  – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today released the following statement marking the annual celebration of March as Women’s History Month – a commemoration that has occurred in America since 1987.

May 8, 2015 Press Release

NEW YORK -- Congressional leaders have now appointed all eight members of the National Women’s History Museum Commission and planning can begin on establishing a National Women’s History Museum in our nation’s capital. The commission was established by bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Maloney praised House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on their appointees to the commission.

Dec 12, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON – After 16 years of work, a bill to form a commission on the creation of a National Women’s History Museum (H.R. 863/S. 398) will soon become law. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) hailed the achievement as a major victory for women.

Nov 17, 2014 Press Release

NEW YORK  – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and leading women today gathered in Manhattan to launch the #BecauseOfHer campaign. The social media effort features women sharing the stories of the women who inspired their lives, and aims to draw attention to the effort to build a National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) in Washington DC that would chronicle those stories. Rep. Maloney and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) authored a bill (H.R. 863) to create a privately funded commission to make recommendations for a NWHM.

May 7, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON  – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to form a Congressional Commission on the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum in Washington, DC. The bipartisan legislation (H.R. 863) passed by a vote of 383 to 33 and now heads to the Senate, where Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are leading the charge.

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