Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is introducing a bill that would add the Sewall-Belmont House — former headquarters of the National Woman’s Party — to the National Park System.
The group was formed nearly 100 years ago to fight for women’s suffrage, but the aging building is getting expensive to keep up.
“We have the trust of the public to conserve this wonderfully important collection,” says Page Harrington, executive director. “And that’s where we have to put our resources. The difficulty with that is that takes an awful lot of money. And we also must maintain the house and we also want to share the history with the public.”
If added to the National Park System, though, the Park Service would be responsible for preservation.
Harrington says that would allow her to concentrate resources of sharing the history. And she says that history is often overlooked.
“There are very few women’s history sites that are noted for our national history. And this is something everyone knows is a deficiency and that everyone wants to correct,” Harrington says. “Women are 50 percent of the population and women’s history happened on every corner and yet those stories aren’t widely told.”
Harrington says there’s no timeline for when the museum might become part of the park system, explaining it’s a lengthy process and needs congressional approval.