Women have contributed to America’s most defining moments—times that shaped constitutional rights, yielded scientific breakthroughs, created the symbols of our nation. Yet a diversity of women’s stories has not been widely told. To create a more equitable America, the Smithsonian is researching, disseminating, and amplifying the histories of American women through its American Women’s History Initiative in preparation for the future Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. The Smithsonian wants the role of women in American history to be well-known, accurate, acknowledged, and empowering.
With a digital-first mission and focus, the Smithsonian amplifies a diversity of women’s voices in a new museum and throughout the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, cultural heritage affiliates, and anywhere people are online. Through these efforts we reach millions of people in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the world.
We invite you to join us by exploring untold stories of American women. #BecauseOfHerStory
Frequently Asked Questions
Decades in the making, the Smithsonian is building the American Women’s History Museum in our nation’s capital. The museum will recognize women’s accomplishments, the history they made, and the communities they represent.
On December 27, 2020, Congress enacted legislation to create the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. Planning is currently underway for the new museum. The Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative will continue to work while the museum is being established. We are grateful to the leadership donors who have contributed to the initiative as of August 2020.
For more than 170 years, the Smithsonian has been recognized around the world for its scholarship and collections, which are made up of national treasures and artifacts held in trust for the American people. Millions of visitors from all walks of life are drawn to our museums, free and open 364 days a year. They come to see themselves reflected in America’s diverse story and to understand their place in the world.
The curators and educators hired through the American Women’s History Initiative and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum will fill the gaps in our national narrative, shedding light on untold women’s stories.
Based upon previous experience constructing museums, the Smithsonian estimates it will be at least ten years before physical buildings are open to the public.
The Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum will be brought to life via a public-private partnership. In addition to federal appropriations, philanthropy and support from the public will be essential for the development of the Museum.
By making a tax-deductible donation, you can help the Smithsonian build an American Women’s History Museum in our nation’s capital.
The museum is not accepting object donations at this time. We greatly appreciate people’s willingness to donate objects to the new museum, but we ask for your patience and understanding while we develop the internal infrastructure to assess, house, conserve, and care for the museum’s future collections.
Lisa Sasaki, Interim Director, Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum
Tey Marianna Nunn, Director, American Women’s History Initiative
Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio) Ambassador Barbara Barrett, member of the Smithsonian 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 Bridget Bush, counsel at Landrum & Shouse LLP 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, 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 Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, majority leader of the New York State Assembly 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 Alice Walton, founder of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Art Bridges Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation; member of the Walton Family Foundation
The members of Congress appointed to the council are: