A National Women’s History Museum Is One Step Closer to Being Built on the National Mall
Last Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with a vote of 374-37 to approve funding and construction of a Women’s History Museum. This vote comes more than three years after the opening of the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture and as advocates get closer to winning the fight to establish the National Museum of the American Latino.
“Women and men of all ages deserve to see and be inspired by the remarkable women who helped shape this nation,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s principal sponsors, per The New York Times.
Maloney told Supermajority News that she thinks the 2018 victories for women in the U.S. House of Representatives helped open up the opportunity for this museum to become a reality.
“I think we’ve finally been able to move this bill forward because of the history women are making every day across the country, including electing 100 women to the U.S. Congress for the first time in our nation’s history,” she said. “The momentum is palpable and undeniable – I’m so proud of the overwhelming bipartisan vote to send this bill to the Senate.”
Efforts to establish a women’s history museum have been ongoing for more than 20 years. As Time magazine reported in 2017, a women’s history museum has lived online since 1996, but it has not had a building where visitors can see artifacts and read about the history of women in the U.S. In 1995, founder of the online museum, Karen K. Staser, wrote a letter making a case for the National Women’s History Museum and announcing its foundation.
“A better world awaits the generation that absorbs what women and men have to share about life from a joint perspective,” Staser wrote then. “Global discrimination and violence against women will end. We have much to work toward.”
In November 2016, a privately funded, bipartisan committee presented a proposal to Congress recommending a women’s history museum under the central endorsement that the museum is what “America needs and deserves.”
Jennifer Herrera, vice president of external affairs at the Women’s Museum of Natural History, told Supermajority News that she is not surprised that a museum dedicated to women’s history in the U.S. had not been established.
“Women have been historically underrepresented across all disciplines, industries, and even in the history books, so it comes as no surprise that a dedicated space for women’s history hasn’t yet been realized,” she said. “What we’ve seen in recent years, however, is an increased focus and commitment to women’s equality and representation, and it’s happening across the board—legislatively, in corporate America, and in the groundswell of women who have stepped off the sidelines to make sure their voices and stories are heard. While we don’t have a brick and mortar museum yet, we’re ever closer to achieving this dream and creating a space for women’s history to be shared and celebrated.”