WASHINGTON, DC – On November 17, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), author of H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women's History Museum Act, released the following statement following the Senate Rules and Administration Committee’s hearing on S.959, the Senate companion to her bill. H.R. 1980 passed the House by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 374 – 37 on February 11, 2020.
“I am pleased that the Senate Rules Committee has taken a momentous step to advance historic legislation to create a women’s history museum. There was broad bipartisan agreement on the Committee that the museum is a critical investment in the future and that the time to begin this effort is now. I couldn’t agree more.
“For too long, women who have made extraordinary contributions to our nation have been left out of the telling of our history. Seeing role models doing things we aspire to can change the course of someone’s life. People of all genders and all ages deserve to see and be inspired by the remarkable women who helped shape this nation.
“As Jane Abraham, Chair of the American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission, said in her testimony today, a comprehensive museum dedicated to women’s history ‘will reflect all the many different ideas, perspectives and causes that were championed, invented, and led by American women.’ In its 2016 report, the Commission unanimously found that Americans need and deserve a national museum dedicated to American women’s history and that this institution deserves a prominent location on or near the National Mall. Recognizing women’s achievements and contributions is essential to empower future generations.
“I hope the Senate will take action quickly to bring the bill to the floor and pass it into law.”
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. Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.R. 19 in the 115th Congress and H.R. 1980 in the 116th Congress based on these recommendations.
H.R. 1980 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.