Women’s History Wing Added to New-York Historical Society; Museum to National Mall?

In the first-ever digital report to Congress, the bipartisan Congressional Commission on the American Museum of Women’s History proposed on November 15 that a new Smithsonian museum be erected on the National Mall that would “tell the stories, celebrate the accomplishments, and illuminate American women’s history in ways that will inspire and inform people of all ages and all walks of life.” After two years of deliberation, the eight-woman Commission found that “America needs and deserves a physical national museum dedicated to showcasing the historical experiences and impact of women in this country.”

The report outlines a ten-year strategic plan in three phases to make the proposed museum come to fruition. Phase One includes establishing the American Women’s History Initiative to “support projects in research, collections and programming to advance and underscore the contributions women have played throughout American history.” The Initiative would include planning, fundraising, traveling exhibits and public events to provide information about the long-term goal of a museum and generate public support for it. The Commission has set a private sector fundraising goal of $150-$180 million.

If Congress moves forward with the Commission’s proposal, the American Museum of Women’s History will be the second public exhibition space and education center in the country dedicated to women’s history. The New-York Historical Society will reopen its fourth floor as the Center for Women’s History on March 8, 2017, International Women’s Day. According to N-YHS website, the Center “will highlight the significance of women’s history to the study of the American past and demonstrate how women across the spectrum of race, class, and culture exercised power and brought about change even before they could access the ballot box.” The Center will include rotating exhibits, a video installation and an educational space at the museum on Central Park West at West 77th Street.

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