A congressional committee studying the creation of a national women’s history museum in Washington, D.C. released its final report yesterday, a crucial roadmap for building a permanent institution in our capitol celebrating the achievements and contributions of women throughout our history
“There are issues that should be bipartisan—honoring the contributions of half of Americans to our great nation’s history should certainly be one of them,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), lead House sponsor of the bill that kickstarted started the process in 2014. “We cannot empower the women of this country if we fail to recognize them and their achievements. Our founding mothers deserve to be honored alongside our founding fathers, and we all deserve the opportunity to learn the complete account of our country’s history. “
The report outlines a 10-year strategic plan to construct the museum, estimated to cost between $150 million to $180 million, and recommends the new institution become part of the Smithsonian, with a prime location on or near the National Mall.
The roadmap breaks down into three parts: establishing an American Women’s History Initiative within the Smithsonian to lay the groundwork with exhibits and planning activity, convincing Congress to transfer a prominent plot of land (free of charge) to the Smithsonian for the museum, and establishing up a public-private partnership to oversee a capital campaign.
The next step, according to Maloney, will be to establish a women’s history initiative at the Smithsonian and begin drafting legislation to establish the museum. The report recommends approving $2 million in new federal funding for the initiative. The upcoming Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in 2019-2020 offers an immediate focus for any such programming and exhibitions.
Created after 18 months of study between historians, scholars, and experts, the report is the end result of bipartisan legislation passed by a wide margin in the house—383 to 33—which established the privately-funded congressional research commission.