WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), author of H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, on February 10 joined with lead bill co-sponsors and the Chair of the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission to celebrate the bill’s expected passage on Tuesday, February 11.
Congresswoman Maloney first introduced legislation to create a museum dedicated to telling American women’s history in 1998. She introduced H.R. 1980 on March 28, 2019 with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). The bipartisan bill now has 293 cosponsors and passed unanimously out of the Committee on House Administration on November 12, 2019.
“This museum is so important because if we fail to recognize women, we cannot empower them,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “But women’s stories have been largely excluded from history textbooks. Out of 2,500 national historic landmarks across the country – only 5 percent are dedicated to women’s accomplishments. Seeing role models doing things we all aspire to can change the course of someone’s life. Women and men of all ages deserve to see and be inspired by the remarkable women who helped shape this nation.”
“It is long overdue for our nation to dedicate itself to the task of telling the story of American women and the role of women in building and shaping our country,” said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer. “I’m proud to join Chairwoman Maloney in cosponsoring H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, and to work for its adoption by Congress. Tomorrow, I will bring this legislation to the Floor, where I expect it will pass the House with strong bipartisan support. I hope the Senate follows suit quickly and that it can be signed into law.”
“For too long, the contributions women have made to our country have been overlooked and underappreciated. This is unacceptable. Women have been making contributions to America since our founding, and it is time they get the recognition they deserve,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation.”
“Our country should know the names of its history-making women,” said Congresswoman 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.”
“A museum dedicated to American women’s history will educate and inspire young women in our country and around the world,” said Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (IN-05). “This Congress, an historic number of women were elected to Congress to represent our great nation, and I think this is the perfect time for all Members of Congress to celebrate and support a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum dedicated to American women making history. American women who played an integral role in shaping our country deserve their stories to be shared with the world and our future generations to come.”
“U.S. history is not complete without women’s history,” said American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission Chair Jane Abraham. “The contributions of women deserve national celebration and recognition. The history of American women is diverse. Women span every race, class, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, region of the country and interest. There are so many stories from so many perspectives that are missing from our current narrative. The Smithsonian is the right institution – our national caretaker of American history – to tell these stories.”
The Senate companion (S. 959) was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
Maloney’s bill to establish the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission passed in 2014. The bill was co-led by then-Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Congresswoman Norton in the House and Senators Collins and then-Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate.