A Home For NWHM

New National Women’s History Museum Legislation Introduced

February 27, 2013 - Legislation has been introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate that would provide a permanent home on or close to the National Mall in Washington, DC – the place that shows what our nation honors.  Legislation (H.R. 863 and S. 398) is pending that would create a commission to make a recommendation for a site – hopefully on the National Mall – and would explore how the Museum would be funded.  The Commission will be underwritten with private monies. 

Bills have passed the House on a voice vote and twice in the Senate on unanimous consent but never in the same Congress.  We have high hopes that Members of Congress will honor their own mothers and daughters by passing this legislation this Congress. 

Sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-congress-women-s-history-needs-a-home.

UPDATE (4/14/2011):

On April 14, 2011 S. 680 passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on a voice vote.

UPDATE (3/30/2011):

On March 30, 2011 Representative Carolyn Maloney and Senator Susan Collins reintroduced The National Women's History Museum Act (HR 1269 and S 680).

More about HR 1269 and S 680

HR 1269 was introduced with 22 cosponsors: Representatives Sandy Adams (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Karen Bass (D-CA), Judy Biggert (R-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY), Doris O. Matsui (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), James P. Moran (D-VA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA).

S 680 was introduced with 19 cosponsors: Senators Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH),  Mark Begich (D-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).


UPDATE (04/21/2010):

NWHM Legislation Passes Out of Senate Committee. On April 21, 2010, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed HR 1700 and S. 2129 by a voice vote. Click here to read the press release.

UPDATE (10/29/2009):

Senator Susan Collins has re-introduced The National Women's History Museum Act as S. 2129. Click here to learn more and urge your Senator to co-sponsor and support this bill.

UPDATE (10/14/2009):

HR 1700 passed the House on a voice vote. Click here to learn more.

UPDATE (3/25/09):

Rep. Carolyn Maloney has re-introduced The National Women's History Museum Act in the new Congress (H.R. 1700). Senator Susan Collins will soon be re-introducing the Senate companion bill. The legislation provides for NWHM to purchase a vacant lot at 12th St. SW and Independence Ave. SW, adjacent to the National Mall. Click here to learn more and urge your representative to co-sponsor and support this bill.

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NWHM recently identified a new site bordering the National Mall. After waiting so long, NWHM has an opportunity for the best of all worlds – a wonderful location and a new building of our design at significantly less costs. HR 6548 was introduced on July 17, 2008 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and a companion bill, S. 3528, U. S. Senate.

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Previous site information:

Since 1997, NWHM has evaluated 43 possible building sites – some privately owned, some federal buildings. In 2000, legislation was introduced in Congress directing the General Services Administration (GSA) to negotiate with NWHM for a long-term lease on the Old Post Office Pavilion Annex, a 100,000 sq. ft. glass-enclosed building at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The legislation passed the U. S. Senate twice on unanimous consent but stalled in the House of Representatives. The legislation (S. 1841) was again introduced in the Senate in the 110th Congress.

On November 1, 2007, Smithsonian Institution released a request for qualifications inviting private entities to respond with a plan to renovate and occupy the Arts and Industries Building, an 1879 Victorian building located on the National Mall next door to the Smithsonian Castle. This building, known as the “Mother of Smithsonian” since it was Smithsonian’s first exhibit hall, would be the ideal location for a women’s history museum. NWHM responded on January 7, 2008.

On May 5, 2008 Smithsonian announced that it was withdrawing consideration of a private entity occupying Arts and Industries. Several reasons were given – one is to wait on the outcome of a commission studying the Latino-American Museum.  Smithsonian indicates that it will wait two years to determine if the Latino-American Museum wants the site and IF it will become a Smithsonian Museum.  In the meantime, the Arts and Industries Building deteriorates. An architect told NWHM, “Smithsonian had better be praying that we don’t have a snow storm or the ceiling will collapse!”

Smithsonian’s blatant disregard for the use of resources costs NWHM in excess of $100,000 in out-of-pocket and pro bono services.  In addition, Smithsonian squandered tax-payer dollars in issuing the RFQ and who besides the tax-payers will provide upkeep on the building and pay for the $65 million in facility repairs.

View a 6 minute video featuring Meryl Streep about the NWHM legislation

HISTORY ON NWHM LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS:

1) CONGRESS ENACTS LEGISLATION DESIGNATING FEDERAL PROPERTY FOR MUSEUM SITES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Recent examples include: Building Museum, Holocaust Museum, Native American Museum, Law Enforcement Museum, and most recently the African American History Museum, all of which were sponsored by non-profit organizations like the National Women’s History Museum.

2) THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM HAS THE SUPPORT OF 31 EDUCATIONAL AND WOMEN'S PROFESSIONAL AND SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTING OVER 8 MILLION MEMBERS NATIONWIDE.

3) THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM WILL PRESENT WOMEN’S HISTORIC CONTRIBUTIONS IN A RESPONSIBLE AND INSPIRING MANNER.

NWHM was responsible for installing the Suffrage Statue in the Capitol Rotunda in 1996

NWHM was endorsed as a museum sponsor in 1999 in the President’s Commission on Celebrating Women’s History.
(full text) (Excerpts: Page 11, Page 12, Page 13)

NWHM has sponsored many programs adding women’s voices to the historic record

4) THE U.S. SENATE HAS TWICE PASSED LEGISLATION PROVIDING VACANT FEDERAL PROPERTY TO THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM.


Text of Senate Bill S. 1841
Text of Senate Report 109-104 (PDF Format)