Congresswoman Maloney Calls on Appropriations Committee to Fund Smithsonian American 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).

 

In her testimony submitted to the Committee, the Congresswoman states, “This museum is overdue and has broad support. In 2016, the bipartisan American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission unanimously concluded that the United States needs and deserves a women’s history museum that acknowledges women’s contributions that have shaped the nation in every sector of society. There is no other comprehensive museum in the nation that is dedicated to the achievements of women. Women account for only about 5% of subjects in national monuments across the country and are woefully underrepresented in students’ history textbooks. This museum is an important step toward making the Smithsonian Institute even more inclusive of the nation’s history and diversity, and recognizing women who have made remarkable impacts on the country during every major moment in our history. Congress must continue its strong support for this effort, beginning with significant funding for operational expenses and an investment in the future construction of what will surely be a world-class museum.”

 

Text of the Congresswoman’s full testimony, as submitted, can be found below.

 

CONGRESSWOMAN CAROLYN B. MALONEY (NY-12)

APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBER DAY TESTIMONY

JUNE 9, 2021

 

Chairwoman DeLauro, Ranking Member Granger, and members of the Appropriations Committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony to express my support for appropriations for the Smithsonian Institute to begin operations of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. As you know, legislation to establish the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260), which Congress passed at the end of last year.

 

I request that the Committee appropriate $5 million for Salaries and Expenses for the Smithsonian Institute. This is a higher allocation than has been requested by the Smithsonian, but I hope the Committee will consider the importance of providing sufficient federal funding for the operations costs of the museum in the first Fiscal Year since the legislation passed. I am proud to have helped secure funding for the American Women’s History Initiative since it was created in 2018. The Initiative’s scholarship and educational programming has built a strong foundation for the work necessary to create a physical women’s history museum on the National Mall. As mentioned in the FY22 Smithsonian Budget Justification, it has already transferred funds from the Initiative to operations for the women’s history museum.

 

The Smithsonian has appointed an interim executive director for the museum who will shepherd the project through the initial stages of establishment, including launching a site selection study and starting a fundraising operation. I understand the Smithsonian will start hiring the personnel who will carry out these responsibilities with plans to hire more throughout the year. The fundraising operation is important because the legislation specifies that the construction costs of the museum will be evenly split between federal appropriations and private fundraising.

 

I also request that the Committee consider appropriating funds for the costs of future construction of the museum. Securing an early federal contribution for construction is an investment that will enhance the Smithsonian’s ability to successfully raise private matching funds.

 

This museum is overdue and has broad support. In 2016, the bipartisan American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission unanimously concluded that the United States needs and deserves a women’s history museum that acknowledges women’s contributions that have shaped the nation in every sector of society. There is no other comprehensive museum in the nation that is dedicated to the achievements of women. Women account for only about 5% of subjects in national monuments across the country and are woefully underrepresented in students’ history textbooks. This museum is an important step toward making the Smithsonian Institute even more inclusive of the nation’s history and diversity, and recognizing women who have made remarkable impacts on the country during every major moment in our history. Congress must continue its strong support for this effort, beginning with significant funding for operational expenses and an investment in the future construction of what will surely be a world-class museum.

 

In the months since the legislation was signed into law, the Smithsonian has made good progress toward meeting the deadlines set in the legislation and assembling its staff that will manage the early steps of the process to create the museum. The Smithsonian is also setting up the National Museum of the American Latino at the same time. Early Congressional support through adequate appropriations is necessary for the Smithsonian to successfully establish these important new museums that will help tell a more inclusive and complete story of our nation and its history that will inspire generations to come.

 

Thank you for your consideration and for your continued support for this historic effort.

 

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