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
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) issued the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day:
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) to provide $2 million for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative. The initiative aims to make important improvements to existing museum exhibitions that would more accurately and completely tell the story of our nation’s history and will help lay the groundwork for a future Smithsonian museum dedicated to American women’s history..
Following the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) announcement that President and CEO Joan Bradley Wages will be stepping down from her position at the end of this year, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), author of H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, thanked Wages for her dedication and tireless work.
NEW YORK—Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) today rang the Opening Bell at NASDAQ in honor of Women’s Equality Day, which falls on August 26 and commemorates the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment. Rep. Maloney was joined by 40 women leaders from business, government, and non-profits. A full video of the bell ringing is available here.
New York’s top female Democrats and women’s groups renewed calls for the establishment of a women’s history museum and the need for an Equal Rights Amendment at an event marking the 44th annual Women’s Equality Day.
Who run the world? Girls. That was the message in Times Square Friday morning as Rep. Carolyn Maloney, joined by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and a contingent of women leaders, rang the opening bell at Nasdaq.
Maloney (D-12th District) and a group of 40 women representing businesses, nonprofits and government were invited to ring the bell ahead of Women’s Equality Day on Saturday, which commemorates the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York at the Fearless Girl statue as they announced their enthusiastic endorsement of a women’s history museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC and Rep. Maloney’s legislation, H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to create such an institution.
Our country’s rich history is filled with awe-inspiring stories and rich characters. Yet, too often when we tell these stories and celebrate our history, women are mere footnotes or simply left out altogether.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of students travel to Washington, D.C. to learn more about how our country works and, hopefully, get inspired by it all. They tour the extraordinary museums and walk the halls of the Capitol, taking in the exhibits that showcase the courageous accomplishments of extraordinary individuals who have helped to shape our history.