by Kathy Bonk

The nation’s capital includes museums for the postal service, textiles and spies, but lacks a museum to recognize the rich history and accomplishments of women in America. That could soon change with an upcoming vote on New York Representative Carolyn Maloney’s bill (HR 863) that would establish a Congressional Commission to plan for and study the museum’s creation.

Maloney has been working to establish the museum for nearly 20 years, first introducing a bill in 1997. This year, the commission bill finally gained traction and now has the support of leaders in both parties, including Republican Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Conservative Representative Marsha Blackburn is the lead Republican cosponsor.

“Whether you’re reading a history text book or visiting our nation’s historic sites and the museums on our national mall, women are largely missing,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “While the historical experiences of men are well represented in existing museums, women’s achievements are often omitted. The fact is that women played key roles in virtually every landmark event in our history. A National Women’s History Museum would help restore the balance by presenting their amazing narratives and highlighting the important contributions of the women who shaped our nation.”

The bill is likely to come to the House floor next week. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are leading the Senate effort (S. 398) with 22 bipartisan cosponsors. More information is available on the National Women’s History Museum bill can be found at Maloney’s website.