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Senators Collins, Feinstein Introduce Legislation to Create Smithsonian Women’s History Museum

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum Act, a bipartisan bill to establish an American women’s history museum in our nation’s capital.  U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.


“American women have made invaluable contributions to our country in every field, such as government, business, medicine, law, literature, sports, entertainment, the arts, and the military.  Telling the history of American women matters, and a museum recognizing these achievements and experiences is long overdue,” said Senator Collins.  “A museum dedicated to women’s history would help ensure that future generations understand what we owe to those American women who have helped build, sustain, and advance our society.”


“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I’m pleased to support Senator Collins in this worthwhile legislation,” said Senator Feinstein. “We need a permanent place to showcase the accomplishments and tell the stories of women throughout our country’s history. A Smithsonian museum would be a fitting and long-overdue way to properly recognize women’s contributions to our nation’s narrative.”


“I believe that one of the most important things we can do is show young women and girls they can be and do anything. How can we empower women if we do not even recognize them?” said Rep. Maloney. “The U.S. needs and deserves a comprehensive women’s history museum that will inspire men and women of all ages and for future generations. For too long, women who have made extraordinary contributions to our nation have been left out of the telling of our history. We can, and we must, change that. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill during Women’s History Month to do just that.”


In December 2014, Congress created a Congressional Commission to study the potential for an American museum of women’s history in Washington, D.C.  This bipartisan commission’s report recommended the creation of a new Smithsonian Museum dedicated to women’s history.  Incorporating the recommendations of the bipartisan Commission, this bill would establish a national museum to collect, study, and create programs on a wide spectrum of American women’s experiences, contributions, and history.


“As our bipartisan Commission unanimously concluded, the American people need and deserve a museum dedicated to telling the story of American women,” said Jane Abraham, chair of the American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill that took our commission’s recommendations to make this museum a reality. Women’s history is as rich as it is vast and to truly learn about and celebrate our country’s history, women’s contributions must be showcased in a dedicated museum.”


The Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum Act would:


  • Create a Council of 25 members to make recommendations regarding the planning, design, and construction of a museum; advise on Museum administration, operations, maintenance, and preservation; acquire and manage artifacts and collections; and manage programming, education, exhibits, and research.


  • Authorize a Museum Director to collaborate with schools and to carry out education and liaison programs to support the goals of the Museum.


  • Allow the Board of Regents to designate a site for the Museum and include the consideration of two sites on the National Mall.