Smithsonian Names Members of the American Women’s History Museum Advisory Council

August 20, 2021
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The Smithsonian’s Board of Regents has announced the advisory council members of the Institution’s new museum, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. The 25-member board is composed of 19 citizens, the Smithsonian Secretary, a member of the Board of Regents and four members appointed by congressional leadership.

The council advises the Regents and makes recommendations on the location, planning, design and construction of the museum; helps with private fundraising; and provides for the maintenance of the collections.

“As someone who helped bring a museum to life on the National Mall, I know firsthand how indispensable an advisory board is,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “We have been fortunate to enlist an extraordinary group to help envision, create and guide this new museum, enabling the Smithsonian to expand the breadth and vividness of the American story by illuminating the essential contributions women have made to our nation.” 

The members appointed to the advisory council are:

  • Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio)
  • Former Ambassador Barbara Barrett, 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
  • Melissa Fetter, former vice president of JP Morgan
  • Edna Kane-Williams, chief diversity officer at AARP
  • Billie Jean King, winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles and founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative
  • Singleton McAllister, of counsel at Husch Blackwell LLP
  • 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 & Company and David C. Walentas Jefferson Scholars Chair at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia
  • Martine Rothblatt, founder of United Therapeutics and SiriusXM
  • S. Mona Sinha, co-founder of Raising Change and founder of the Asian Women’s Leadership University
  • Cara Sylvester, executive vice president and chief marketing and digital officer for Target Corporation

The members of Congress appointed to the council are*:

  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)

*Senate members are pending

The appointments of three additional candidates are pending and will be announced soon.

“The founding council members come from a wide range of backgrounds and industries, but they each possess the same passion for gender equity and uplifting women’s voices,” said Lisa Sasaki, the interim director of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. “They have broken through barriers and shattered expectations, making them uniquely qualified to lead a new museum that aims to do the same.”

“During this 175th anniversary year of the Smithsonian, it is fitting to bring another museum into the fold that looks back, but also looks ahead,” said Steve Case, chair of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. “This group of accomplished leaders will help the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum both build on our institutional traditions and also reimagine what a museum can be, an innovative, instructive, inclusive place of learning that serves a variety of audiences through digital and in-person experiences.”

A site-selection process is underway. The architectural/engineering firm Ayers Saint Gross will conduct the site evaluations for the museum and for the National Museum of the American Latino; both were established by Congress Dec. 27, 2020.

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 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers and libraries. Two new museums—the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum—are in development. There are more than 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,900 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. Follow the Smithsonian on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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