WASHINGTON – The Democrat-led House of Representatives aims to pass a bill Tuesday to build a women’s history museum on the National Mall.
“This museum is so important because if we fail to recognize women, we cannot empower them,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s sponsors, in a statement noting the lack of national landmarks dedicated to women. “But women’s stories have been largely excluded from history textbooks.”
The measure, which has the bipartisan support of 293 cosponsors, would establish a women’s history museum within the Smithsonian Institution and make steps towards the construction of a facility. It would also create a council that would make recommendations to the Smithsonian Board of Regents for the design, planning, and construction of the museum, as well as for the location of the building on or near the National Mall.
Read senators’ impeachment notes:7 senators’ handwritten notes offer a new view of President Trump’s impeachment trial
Although the bill does not authorize any funding for the construction of the museum, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates appropriations for the museum would cost $375 million over the next decade based on a size estimate of 350,000 feet and previous costs of Smithsonian museum construction.
“This Congress, a 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,” said Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., who co-sponsored the bill, in a statement.
Maloney’s office said she first introduced legislation to establish a women’s history museum in 1998, and her bill to create a commission studying the necessity and feasibility of a women’s history museum passed in 2014.
The Smithsonian’s newest addition is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in September 2016, though Congress passed the original legislation to create the museum in 2003.
The bill will go to the Republican-held Senate for consideration if it passes. A companion piece of legislation was introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, in March of last year but has not progressed through the Senate.