Why a Congressional commission wants a national women's history museum A national museum of women's history would celebrate the accomplishment of women like these members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, who went on strike against non-union shoulder pads in 1930. (Kheel Center - Flickr/Creative Commons/AP Photo)
Why a Congressional commission wants a national women's history museum
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How many historically noteworthy women can you name? It's likely that the number you can list off the top of your head pales in comparison to that of noteworthy men. That's not because there's a lack of fascinating women in American history. Rather, women's history has only relatively recently begun to be explored. And the nation's museums have not yet begun to catch up. But that could soon change. That is, if a congressional panel has anything to do with it.
 
As Peggy McGlone reported for The Washington Post, a recent report cries out against the lack of representation of American women's history. It also calls for a new national museum. It could bring the picture into balance.
 
The report was presented to U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney. It is the product of 18 months of meetings, research and public engagement. The work was conducted by a bipartisan commission. The commission was tasked with studying the chance of a national women's history museum. Among its conclusions was strong support for a new museum. It would celebrate American women's history and achievements. The commission included a recommendation that the museum reflect diverse experiences and views. There was a plea for public and private financial support. There was insistence that the museum be under the authority of the Smithsonian Institution. In addition it should have a place on or close to the National Mall. The mall is in Washington, D.C.
 
"The first step to creating a national women's history museum is complete," said Maloney in a release. "We have an achievable plan. (The) museum...will honor the experiences and contribution of women to our great nation."
 
But does the country have the political will, or the funds, to make such a museum a reality? That's a tough question. In a statement, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton told McGlone that, "building a new museum is not practical now." However, he said, "we recognize our responsibility to make sure that women's history is appropriately represented in all our museums. Assuming the funding recommended in the report is available, we will hire additional curators to help tell the growing and evolving story of women in American history."
 
Skorton noted that a similar effort has been successful. The effort is devoted to improving representation of the contributions of Latinos to American history and culture. In the 1990s, as The New York Times' Kate Taylor reported, a similar panel recommended not just a museum. The panel asked for an effort to correct an imbalance in the Smithsonian's coverage of Latino culture. Though such a museum does not yet exist, the Institution has focused instead on hiring more curators. It stages Latino-centric exhibitions. And it is beefing up its holdings.
 
Indeed, it took over a century of talks, federal legislation and an extraordinary amount of public and private money to fund the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. It opened in September. Only in 2016 did the United States obtain a national monument specifically devoted to women's history. And even notable women still remain strikingly absent from public sculpture.
 
Will or no, the commission's report does lay out a path to an eventual museum. It is included in a 10-year strategic plan. It recommends the creation of an initiative to lay the groundwork for such a museum. It wants Congress to donate a prominent plot of land. And it wants a campaign to raise between $150 and $180 million in private funds alone.
 
Even if the American Museum of Women's History never becomes reality, the report highlights an important need. It notes that the nation at large needs to better document, collect and celebrate evidence of the achievements and history of women. After all, nearly 51 percent of the American population is female. There's no lack of amazing historical women waiting to be recognized. Your list of noteworthy women may be short now. But it's about to get much longer.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is there a call for the museum to be on or near the National Mall?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (18)
  • nathanm14-ste
    2/24/2017 - 01:09 p.m.

    Not a lot is taught to us about women of historical significance. There are plants of women out there who have contributed to our country and we should learn more about them.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    2/27/2017 - 11:33 a.m.

    The museum should be near the National Mall because it is a part of our history. That is where most historic things go, so it should too.

  • hayleel-ste
    2/28/2017 - 01:56 p.m.

    This would be a great way to learn more abut the important women and what they have done, because not everyone knows about them.

  • quintonj-cel
    3/01/2017 - 11:22 a.m.

    The call for the museum is a very newsworthy topic. Women have fought and progressed through history to have the same rights, privileges, and voice as men in society. In my eyes, it is important that a national museum for women is created to honor the courageous women that have left a big footprint on this country.
    A museum could inform visitors about the women who have contributed to our country.

  • hlily-dav
    3/01/2017 - 05:57 p.m.

    In response to "Why a Congressional commission wants a national women's history museum," I agree that there should be a national women's history museum. One reason I agree is it can teach people more about history. There has been a lot of inspirational women in this country that we know nothing about and now we can learn about them and there accomplishments. Another reason I agree is it can help persevere history. It says in the article,"It notes that the nation at large needs to better document, collect and celebrate evidence of the achievements and history of women." This report has shown how if we don't represent and promote our history people will start to forget all of these amazing women. Finally, a museum like this can inspire young girls. It can show them they can do anything and that there was women with the same dreams as them and they made it possible. I bet there is dozens of powerful women we never knew about and because of this girls were scared to chase their dreams. Even though, a new museum could cost a lot of money, I think it is a great idea to create a national women's history museum.

  • chadm-orv
    3/06/2017 - 11:42 a.m.

    Because since the mall will have a lot of people going in and going out, their probably hoping the the museum will get peoples attention and draw them in.

  • jourdanc-
    3/08/2017 - 08:47 a.m.

    cause thats its has history near it.

  • marshallk-lew
    3/10/2017 - 09:24 a.m.

    I think that is because many people go to the National Mall and if they go the mall they will see the museum of History of women. Them seeing the museum might make them want to go there and learn about History and Achievements and they'll go there. Women have made an impressive history and achievements over time and they deserve to be honored.

  • loweryj-lew
    3/10/2017 - 09:26 a.m.

    because many people go to the mall and when they see the museum they will think its part of the mall and they will get to learn the important history of the revolution of women and how we got there

  • griffina-lew
    3/10/2017 - 09:27 a.m.

    Because many people can see the history of what women went thought to have all the rights men got to do. And also what they achieve to get where they are now. And so when you go to the mall you can stop by the museum.



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