House approves plan to create US women's history museum

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2019 file photo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., is sworn-in during the opening session of the 116th Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Three years after the opening of the Smithsonian's landmark Museum of African American History and Culture, momentum is building toward the creation of a museum dedicated to American women's history. The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to establish the museum inside the Smithsonian network and take steps toward funding and construction. The vote was 374-37. “Seeing role models doing things we all aspire to can change the course of someone’s life,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., one of the bill's principal sponsors. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three years after the opening of the Smithsonian’s landmark Museum of African American History and Culture, momentum is building toward the creation of a museum dedicated to American women’s history.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to establish the museum inside the Smithsonian network and take steps toward funding and construction. The vote was 374-37.

“Seeing role models doing things we all aspire to can change the course of someone’s life,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s principal sponsors. “Women and men of all ages deserve to see and be inspired by the remarkable women who helped shape this nation.”

“Our country should know the names of its history-making women,” said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate. “Women have helped the United States since our founding, despite not being recognized for our many accomplishments.”

Linda St. Thomas, spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, said the existing museum network already makes a point of showcasing the historical contributions of American women through displays in venues like the African American museum, the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of American History. A new facility, she said, would naturally gather some of these existing artifacts and displays together while developing its own dedicated programming.

“We look forward to working with Congress and supporters nationwide to illuminate the profound impact women have had on the American story,” Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch said in a statement.

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