What We Do

The Museum researches, collects and exhibits the contributions of women to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation in a context of world history. The museum will use innovative and engaging means including permanent and online exhibits, educational programs, and outreach efforts to communicate the breadth of women's experiences and accomplishments to the widest possible audience. The sharing of this knowledge will illuminate and encourage women and men, people of all classes, races and cultures to move into the future with respect, equal confidence, greater partnership, and opportunity.

When was the NWHM founded?

The National Women's History Museum was founded in 1996 by Karen Staser. Click here for a letter from our founder.

Our Institution

We have been a privately funded institution since our founding. Once a physical site is established, we will apply to the Smithsonian for an affiliation. This will enable us to borrow objects from the Smithsonian's collections for use in exhibitions.

"A better world awaits the generation that absorbs what women and men have to share about life from a joint perspective. Together, all things are possible."

Karen Staser
Founder, National Women's History Museum

Why "Women's History"?

Women's contributions and accomplishments for the most part have been overlooked and consequently omitted from mainstream culture. The National Women's History Museum will help fill that void. Rather than rewriting current exhibitions at other history museums or having to decide what to omit elsewhere to "fit in" women's history, the NWHM will serve to place women's history along side current historical exhibitions.

Women's history isn't meant to rewrite history. The objective is to promote scholarship and expand our knowledge of American history.


The National Women’s History Museum’s vision is to build a world-class museum at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The National Women’s History Museum currently raises awareness and honors women’s diverse experiences and achievements through its dynamic online museum, educational programs, scholarship and research. Once housed prominently among the other great museums of Washington, D.C., it will create better understanding and greater partnerships among men and women. The National Women’s History Museum will be the first museum in any nation’s capital to show the full scope of the history of its women and will serve as a guiding light to people everywhere.

Shop the Museum

100% of the profits from our online store will directly benefit our ability to build the National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Meet Our Board of Directors

"Throughout history, women have come together to change our society for the better whether it was gaining reforms in the early 1900's that gave us sewage systems and pasturization of milk or, more recently, reforms giving women rights to credit and home ownership. The NWHM Board is bound together by the aspiration to honor the women who came before us and to ensure that their many traditional and nontraditional roles are systematically explored and acknowledged and brought into the mainstream culture. The NWHM Board invites you to join in this effort."

Joan Wages
NWHM President & CEO