What happened behind the scenes in the fight over the National Women's History Museum?

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tags: womens history

Lee White leads the National Coalition for History. 

In November, legislation (S. 398) to create a commission to study the potential creation of a National Women’s History Museum was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In May, NCH sent a letter to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), withholding our support unless changes were made to the original bill. NCH’s concerns were addressed in the amended bill passed by the committee. As a result, NCH sent a letter to Senator Collins in November endorsing S. 398.

Senator Collins added the language we requested: that an individual with “experience as a professional historian with expertise in women’s history” be appointed to the commission. The House passed a similar bill (HR 863) sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) last spring without these qualifications.

A strategic decision was made by the Democratic leadership in the Senate to add the National Women’s History Museum commission bill to a “must-pass” defense authorization bill for which amendments were not allowed. Unfortunately, the legislators adopted the language from the House bill, which did not include the language regarding historians that Senator Collins had agreed to. Nonetheless, NCH and the AHA have received assurances that the historical community will be consulted in identifying qualified historians to serve on the commission.

Read entire article at National Coalition for History

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