Smithsonian Hears Call for Women’s Museum
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.
“It’s tremendously important,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, who first proposed the project in the late 1990s. “How can you empower women if they are not even recognized?”
The commission recommended “a national museum dedicated to showcasing the historical experiences and impact of women in this country.”
The commission did not specify a site but said its preference was for the museum, to be called the American Museum of Women’s History, to be located prominently in the capital, on or close to the National Mall.
The museum will require legislation to become a reality. Emily K. Rafferty, former president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and one of the commissioners who produced the congressional report, said, “The women’s tale has not been revealed, has not been properly identified or properly articulated.”
The commission proposed that the government provide the land or an existing building for the museum. Private fund-raising of about $150 million to $180 million would pay for construction costs, it said.
A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, Linda St. Thomas, said its secretary does not believe the institution is in a position to establish a new museum at this time, but was committed to representing the contributions of women in all the Smithsonian’s museums.
Last year on the Mall, the Smithsonian opened the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th museum or gallery in the Smithsonian portfolio.