For Immediate Release – September 24, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) today hailed committee passage of her bill, H.R. 1700, which establishes a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC to honor the role that women have played in American History. It passed the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by a voice vote.
“Less than five percent of the 2,400 national historic landmarks chronicle women’s achievement and of the 211 statues here in the U.S. Capitol, only ten are of female leaders,” Rep. Maloney said. “The museums and memorials in Washington are one measure of what our society values. We already have museums for stamps and spies. This bill would provide women, comprising 53% of our population, a long overdue home to honor their many contributions to building our country.”
“From Susan B. Anthony to Oprah Winfrey, from Hattie Caraway–the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate–to Julie Taymor–the first woman to win a Tony Award for Directing–the story of what women have contributed to the American way of life is a story long overdue for the telling,” she continued. “This museum will do just that, and I’m grateful for the leadership of Chairman Oberstar and Ranking Member Mica in moving H.R. 1700 through the Committee, and for the extraordinary support of District Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. Now, it’s on to the House floor!”
“Women are indispensable to the functioning of society, but absent from the Mall and other prominent monument sites in Washington. We are overdue in giving women their due,” Rep. Norton said. Norton also said she is particularly proud of the women who have raised funds and have persisted with the effort to build a museum for women in the nation’s capital. Norton has been a strong proponent of the museum, not only because of its importance to women, but also because of its significant potential to bring to D.C., a major tourist town, new visitors and to encourage others to stay longer.
“Women will finally have a front row seat on the National Mall. We are very appreciative of Representative Maloney’s leadership on this. She’s really been our champion and Chairwoman Norton, whose efforts moved the bill, has been extremely supportive,” said Joan Wages, President & CEO of the National Women’s History Museum.
The bill directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to sell its old Cotton Annex property on the Mall at 12th and Independence to the museum at fair-market rates. The museum would be built and maintained with private funds.
Senator Susan Collins (ME) is working on introducing the companion bill in the Senate.
The National Women’s History Museum, 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. Until legislation passes in Congress designating a site for a permanent museum in Washington, D.C., the NWHM promotes women’s history through its permanent and temporary exhibits, special events, CyberMuseum, and online educational materials (www.nwhm.org).