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Momentum builds in Washington, Congress to have museum dedicated to American women's history

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D) of North Carolina was the main sponsor of the Smithsonian Women's History Museum Act, which 374 Congress members supported.
Credit: Mark Wilson
The sky lights up as the sun rises behind the U.S. Capitol on March 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Momentum is building in Washington for the creation of a museum dedicated to American women's history. 

The House has passed a bill to establish the museum inside the Smithsonian network and take steps toward funding and construction. 

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D) of North Carolina was the main sponsor of the Smithsonian Women's History Museum Act, which is what the bill in the House is being called.

374 Congress members voted for the bill, while only 37 voted against it.

A similar bill is working its way through the Senate. If approved, it could take a decade or more to finalize funding, design and construction of the museum. 

House passage comes three years after the opening of the Smithsonian's landmark Museum of African American History and Culture.

"I am so proud that this museum is going to be in may own district, in our Nation's Capital," said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton. "Throughout our history, women have been dramatically underrepresented in all our memorials and museums throughout the country. ... Yet in too many ways to count, women have built this nation."

In January, a new museum in Virginia, the Lucy Burns Museum, opened in honor of the women's suffrage movement, which took place between 19th Century and early 20th Century in the United States. 

The museum is in a restored and newly designed Lorton Prison building, where many suffragists were kept while fighting for the right to vote.

Just miles outside of D.C., the exhibits hope to pay homage to the many suffragists who were imprisoned for picketing the White House and fighting for women's rights in 1917. The museum plans on opening in January to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being ratified.

January 25 is the first day the public got to see the new museum, but the grand opening for the museum isn't scheduled until May 9.

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