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New women’s museum belongs in nation’s capital

Our nation’s capital offers a rich variety of museums that appeal to multiple interests, including art, air and space, U.S. history, native peoples history and culture, as well as the newest building focused on African American history and culture.

Next up, if all goes as it should, could be a museum dedicated to women’s history. Women’s accomplishments and roles in shaping culture and making their mark on American society have long taken a back seat to those of men. That’s not a surprise taking into account the way early laws were written by men favoring men, including voting and property rights.

Women always have played a significant part in the formation of this country — even though sometimes they were working behind the scenes of powerful men. It’s well known that politically astute Abigail Adams was chief adviser to her husband, John Adams, but there are a lot of other women who helped shaped America that many people never heard of, including those not in society’s upper crust.

A new museum dedicated to women in U.S. history belongs in D.C., complementing the other museums that specialize. There is no shortage of exhibit material for such a museum. Just last week, pioneering sports reporter Lesley Visser was named the first woman to receive the Sports Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been a leading sports reporter for 45 years and was the first woman to work on “Monday Night Football.”

The history of the women’s suffrage movement is marking its 100th anniversary this year, offering a depth of information about how women fought for the right to vote. And also a hundred years ago on Feb. 14, the League of Women Voters was founded.

So the timing is appropriate that this month the U.S. House easily passed legislation by a vote of 374-37 to establish a women’s history museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum has been proposed for decades, and it’s time to move forward. If the Senate also gives approval, the discussion will turn to funding, expected to be 50/50 between government money and private donations, which is how the African American museum was funded. The Senate should get on board to support the project.

Abolitionist and suffragette Susan B. Anthony said, “Oh, if I could live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done.”

Of course, no one’s work, including women’s, is ever done, but the American people should have the opportunity to see what women in this country have so far accomplished by visiting a national museum in the country’s capital.

— The Free Press of Mankato

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