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About NWHM

From Our Founder

A better world awaits the generation that absorbs what women and men have to share about life from a joint perspective. We have much to work toward…If we - and future generations - are to learn all the lessons of the past upon which to build the future, we must be aware of the true experiences and contributions of women. Clearly, men cannot get there alone. Together, all things are possible.

Karen Staser
Founder, National Women's History Museum

What is the National Women's History Museum?

The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), founded in 1996, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation's history. NWHM is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Although women constitute a majority of the population, their lives, achievements, and contributions are underrepresented in museums. Recognition of the achievements made by American women will promote a better understanding of our history and culture for all who visit Washington, D.C. In 1999, The President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History called for a women’s history museum in Washington, DC, and specifically cited the NWHM in that role.

Obtaining a Permanent Site

From its founding, NWHM has worked hard towards obtaining a permanent museum site in the nation’s capital on or near the National Mall. Such prestigious space requires Congressional approval.  Click here to learn about the latest effort to secure a permanent home.


The NWHM has the support of a strong and diverse network of national organizations representing citizens throughout the country:

  • The NWHM Honorary Board of Directors comprises over 200 members of the U.S. Congress and past and present members of the Cabinet.
  • The NWHM has organized a National Coalition, currently numbering 43, of leading national women’s service and professional organizations.  Together these organizations reach over 8.5 million members. 
  • Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, spearheaded the NWHM national outreach campaign beginning in September 2001.  In more recent years, actress Meryl Streep, authored a membership appeal, and actress Laura Dern authored  one.  NWHM’s national membership has grown rapidly and over 50,000 people have become Charter Members.
  • Newsletter – The NWHM newsletter, A Different Point of View, is published quarterly and mailed to current Museum members and supporters. The newsletter provides information on past and future educational events and programs sponsored by the Museum. The publication features seasonal stories about topics in women’s history and notable American women, as well as updates on the progress of the museum.