Maloney, Fitzpatrick, Lawrence, Norton Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Create Smithsonian Women’s History Museum

Mar 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – 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.

In November 2016, a bipartisan Congressional Commission, created by a bill that Rep. Maloney sponsored, issued its final report regarding the establishment of a women’s history museum in Washington, DC. The report concluded unanimously that the American people need and deserve such a museum.

“I believe that one of the most important things we can do is show young women and girls they can be and do anything. How can we empower women if we do not even recognize them?” said Rep. Maloney. “The U.S. needs and deserves a comprehensive women’s history museum that will inspire men and women of all ages and for future generations. For too long, women who have made extraordinary contributions to our nation have been left out of the telling of our history. We can, and we must, change that. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill during Women’s History Month to do just that.”

“Women’s contributions to the development of our nation and society are immense, however only five percent of the approximately 2,400 national monuments honor women. As the first museum in the United States dedicated to the full story of women’s history, this museum will tell the diverse story of the women who helped shape America,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “It is time for Congress to authorize the creation of a National Women’s History Museum and I’m proud to stand with Congresswoman Maloney and my other colleagues to introduce this legislation.”

“As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Women’s Congressional Caucus and a member of the executive branch of the Congressional Black Caucus, I am especially excited about supporting a museum that would educate the public on the diversity of unsung ‘Sheros’ and women contributors in America,” said Rep. Lawrence. “This bipartisan effort sends a strong message that women deserve a museum to show the world our enormous role in making America the great nation it is today. The truth must be told, and everyone should know the tales, trials and triumphs of women in American history. Congresswoman Maloney has shown great leadership on this effort, and I look forward to seeing this amazing project break ground.”

“Our country should know the names of its history-making women,” said Rep. Norton. “Women have helped the United States since our founding, despite not being recognized for our many accomplishments.  I want to thank Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership on this bill to place a museum honoring women in the nation’s capital.  On the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, we remember that women were arrested and jailed simply for demanding the right to vote.  The Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act will memorialize these and many other women who deserve to be recognized in American history.”

“As our bipartisan Commission unanimously concluded, the American people need and deserve a museum dedicated to telling the story of American women,” said Jane Abraham, chair of the American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill that took our commission’s recommendations to make this museum a reality. Women’s history is as rich as it is vast and to truly learn about and celebrate our country’s history, women’s contributions must be showcased in a dedicated museum.”

“We are thrilled that Congresswoman Maloney has once again exhibited leadership to establish a national women’s history museum on the National Mall and we fully support her efforts,” said Susan Whiting, Chair of the Board of the National Women’s History Museum.

BACKGROUND

Bill Summary

  • Establishes a Smithsonian national museum for the collection, study and establishment of programs covering the historical contribution of women to various fields;
  • 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 either 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 or an alternative location selected at the discretion of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, setting a preference for sites on or near the National Mall;
  • Provides that a combination of federally appropriated and privately raised funds finance the construction of the museum building, mirroring the legislative model that successfully established the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

 

Main Findings by the Congressional Commission

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

  • 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.

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