Senate considers bills to create Smithsonian museums for women, Latinos

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WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — On Tuesday, the Senate considered two bills that would create plans to build a Smithsonian women’s history museum and the National Museum of the American Latino.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) says the 19 Smithsonian museums in the nation’s capital only tell part of America’s story.

“There are other powerful stories that need to be told,” Blunt said.

He says the histories of Latinos and women are missing.

“Surely if we can have a museum that celebrates buildings, we ought to have one that celebrates the many contributions of American women,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) agreed.

Collins and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) are backing the bills.

“The contributions of generations of Latinos are largely unknown, and I hope this committee will soon take action to right this wrong by advancing legislation,” Cornyn said.

The bills would help kickstart planning for the two museums, their possible locations and how construction would be funded.

“Museums aren’t built overnight, and the project would require at least a 10-year timeline,” said Jane Abraham, who is part of a commission to study the potential for a national women’s history museum.

Abraham says bipartisan commissions have been laying the groundwork for these museums for the past decade, but in order to make the plans reality, they say they need Congress to put up half of the cost. The other half would come from private donations.

“I am confident in our ability to raise the funds needed to build a world-class institution,” Chairman for Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino Danny Vargas said.

Both bills passed the House. With Senate approval, they would head to the president’s desk.

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