A Smithsonian museum dedicated to women’s history is a step closer to reality after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to create one. It now heads to the Senate.
H.R. 1980, also known as the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, passed 374-37 last week.
The bill establishes a council that will make recommendations to the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Museum on the planning, design, and construction of the museum.
The board is charged with designating a site for the museum. Any site that is on or near the National Mall will be given priority. The National Mall in Washington, DC, is home to a number of national monuments, memorials and Smithsonian museums.
“For too long, women’s history has been left out of the telling of our nation’s history,” the bill’s sponsors said in a joint statement. “Today, the House of Representatives took an important first step to change that. Women are part of every American moment, and their contributions should be recognized and celebrated.
“By creating a Smithsonian museum dedicated to telling American women’s history, we can inspire future generations to make history themselves. Representation matters. Let’s make sure that every child can see themselves in their heroes and role models. We will be working together to ensure swift Senate passage of this bill.”
The bill was sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-New York); Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania); Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-Michigan) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia).
The passage of the bill comes on the 100th anniversary of women in the US winning the right to vote.
But it’s just one step toward the creation of such a museum. The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture didn’t open until 13 years after Congress passed the bill in 2003 to create it.