Washington is a town of monuments. It is also a town of museums.
We have museums of art, history, modern art, science and natural history, a Holocaust museum, the National Museum of the American Indian and the soon-to-be Museum of African American History and Culture.
Yet, there is still no museum that honors the achievements of American women or role of women in American history.
That cause for women came a little closer to reality recently when Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced a bill to create a federal commission to determine the feasibility of constructing a National Women’s History Museum in Washington. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, is introducing a companion bill in the Senate.
For the National Women’s History Museum organization and its president and CEO Joan Wages, the news brings them one step closer to making the dream of a National Women’s History Museum a reality. “We are thrilled to have this legislation introduced by such distinguished national leaders as Sen. Collins, Rep. Maloney and Del. Norton and ten prominent senators as co-sponsors,” Wages said. “The establishment of a commission would be a giant step forward to help obtain an all-important site for the National Women’s History Museum on or close to the National Mall—the place where our nation shows what it honors.”
Aside from the Women In Military Service For America Memorial at Arlington Cemetery, there is no institution in the capital region which is solely dedicated to honoring women’s role in American history.
Bills to create a National Women’s History Museum have been passed in the Senate and in the House in various versions, but no bill has ever established a commission.
The other co-sponsors of the Senate bill include Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen Mary Landrieu, D-La., Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Sen. Amy Klobucher, D-Minn., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.