Source: Queens Gazette

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) announced on June 28 that their bill to create a Smithsonian museum dedicated to American women’s history on the National Mall is now supported by a majority of the House of Representatives. With 227 co-sponsors, the representatives gave President Trump a joint letter at last week’s White House Picnic asking for a meeting and for his support of the first U.S. museum dedicated to telling the comprehensive history of American women, their accomplishments, and contributions to our nation. The representatives also sent letters to the Committees on House Administration, Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure to request hearings on the bill.

Reps. Maloney and Royce were joined that day by bill co-sponsors Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Rep. Mia Love (R-UT); Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), co-Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus; and Rep. Brenda Lawrence, co-Vice Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus.

“Just three months after Rep. Royce and I introduced H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, a majority of the House of Representatives has now cosponsored our bill,” said Rep. Maloney. “That’s what I call momentum and I believe the enthusiasm for this effort is only growing. Now is the time to get this done, which is why Mr. Royce and I have requested that the President lend his support to our efforts. A new Smithsonian museum dedicated to women’s history will inspire young women and men for years to come and demonstrate to the world our country’s commitment to equality. How can we expect to empower women if we do not recognize them? That is a mission we can all support.”

“The National Mall in Washington D.C. is a special place because it tells our uniquely American story. But that story is incomplete without paying tribute to the countless examples of courageous women who helped build America and sacrificed to ensure that it remains the land of the free,” said Rep. Royce. ”I’m proud to have joined Rep. Maloney in sponsoring the legislation that ensures future generations will always know their story.”

“Women have played a vital role in shaping our nation, many without the deserved recognition,” said Rep. Frankel. “A women’s museum will enlighten and inspire visitors of all walks of life.”

“I’m proud to have led a bipartisan team of women who collectively created a workable plan for a museum designed to be the gateway for connecting and enhancing the full spectrum of American women’s history and I’m proud that this plan inspired H.R.19,” said Jane Abraham, Chair of the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission. “Now is the time for Congress to pass this legislation to establish the museum. I applaud Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Congressman Ed Royce and their 227 cosponsors for putting forward H.R. 19. This bipartisan leadership is an extension of the Commission’s bipartisan work.”

H.R. 19 Summary

 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.

H.R. 19 is based on the work of the bipartisan American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission, which was created in 2014 to study the need for such a museum through legislation introduced by Reps. Maloney and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) in the House and former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate. The bipartisan commission submitted its report to Congress in November 2016 with a unanimous recommendation that a comprehensive women’s history museum should be established on or near the National Mall as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

The bipartisan commission’s report found:

 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.