Is a women’s history museum in the making?

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Having been to Washington, D.C. and toured the U.S. capital city for about a week, something was missing…

     I went to D.C. in April 2017 with my mom, a veteran. We went to every memorial and monument imaginable, every museum that sparked our interest. We even found a hidden gem inside Arlington National Cemetery, a memorial dedicated to “Women in Military Service for America.” As an army veteran, this was something my mom took special interest in seeing. She even found replicas of some of her old uniforms on display.

     But what D.C. has been missing all these years is a museum dedicated to women’s history.

     Now, they are one step closer to making this a reality.

     Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives, with a majority of Democrats, passed the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act. The vote passed 374-37.

     When you walk around D.C., note how many landmarks and monuments and statues represent women. None. There is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial as you make your way to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. This statue was erected in 2013 and is dedicated to the women who served during the Vietnam War, mostly as nurses.

     “It serves as a reminder of the importance of women in the conflict.”

     Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) co-sponsored the bill, and said, “Women have been left out of the telling of the nation’s history. This is about giving women, all women our rightful place in history.”

     This women’s museum would be part of the Smithsonian collection. There would be a committee tasked with design, planning, location, and construction near the National Mall.

     While no funding is included in the bill, it is estimated to cost around $375 million.

     Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Indiana) co-sponsored the bill as well. She said this would ensure that her children and future generations understood the impact women had on our nation’s history.

     This bill has been circulating Congress since 1998. And look how far it’s gone… Now, perhaps something will come from it.

     Last March, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a companion bill about such a museum. It did not make it through the Senate.

     The newest addition to the Smithsonian family, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened in 2016. Legislation passed on this project in 2003.

     I would this a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum is something not only Democrats and Republicans can come together on, but women and men as well. Perhaps this could be that monumental project that crosses both divides…


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