Legislation passed Dec. 27, 2020, that established two new museums at the Smithsonian: the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino. Congress has not yet allocated money for these museums; funding will be included in future appropriations. Below are the next steps for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.
The museum’s 25-member advisory council was established in fall 2021. The council held its first meeting virtually Sept. 20, 2021. It will make recommendations on the location, planning and design of the museum and assist with fundraising. The members are:
Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio)
Barbara Barrett, former U.S. secretary of the Air Force; former U.S. ambassador to Finland and member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents
Jane Abraham, former chair of the Congressional Commission to Study the Potential of a National Women’s History Museum
Catherine Allgor, president of the Massachusetts Historical Society
Mary Boies, counsel to Boies Schiller Flexner LLP
Tory Burch, executive chairman and chief creative officer of Tory Burch LLC
Lynda Carter, actress, singer, songwriter and producer
Jean Case, chairman of the National Geographic Society and CEO of the Case Impact Network and The Case Foundation
Rosario Dawson, actress, designer, activist and producer
Melissa Fetter, owner of Beacon Hill Books
Edna Kane-Williams, chief diversity officer at AARP
Billie Jean King, sports icon and equality champion and founder of Billie Jean King Enterprises Inc.
Singleton McAllister, of counsel at Husch Blackwell LLP
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Penny Pritzker, founder and chairman of PSP Partners and former U.S. secretary of commerce
Abbe Raven, chairman emeritus of A+E Networks and former chair of the National Museum of American History
Vivian Riefberg, director emeritus with McKinsey & Co. and the David C. Walentas Jefferson Scholars Chair at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia
Martine Rothblatt, chairperson and CEO of United Therapeutics and creator for SiriusXM
S. Mona Sinha, investor in gender equality and executive producer of Disclosure
Cara Sylvester, executive vice president and chief marketing and digital officer for Target Corp.
Alice Walton, founder of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Art Bridges Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation
Bridget M. Bush, counsel at Landrum & Shouse LLP, appointed by the U.S. Senate
Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, majority leader of the New York State Assembly, appointed by the U.S. Senate
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), appointed by the U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), appointed by the U.S. House of Representatives
Appointing a Founding Director for the Museum
The Secretary has named Lisa Sasaki as the interim director of the Women’s History Museum. She has temporarily left her post as director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. An executive search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, has been selected to lead the search for the museum’s founding director.
Site-Selection Process (scheduled to be completed by December 2022)
An architectural engineering firm, Ayers Saint Gross, was selected through a RFQ procedure to evaluate the sites for the museum and the National American Latino Museum. The final decision on both sites will be made by the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. The legislation expresses the intent of Congress that the sites be located on or near the National Mall.
About the Smithsonian
Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers and libraries. Two of the 21 museums—the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum—are in the early planning stages. There are more than 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 5,100 volunteers. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History. www.si.edu
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Linda St. Thomas