Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall

A group of senators on Monday called on the Smithsonian Institution to commit to building the upcoming National Museum of the American Latino and Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

In a letter to Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch, the bipartisan group of senators wrote the two museums should "be located on or near the National Mall, to the maximum extent practicable."

Both museum projects were approved by Congress in 2020, and the Smithsonian named the Latino museum's board of trustees in June and the women's history museum advisory board in August.

ADVERTISEMENT

The museums' boards are in charge of the site selection processes — Bunch is an ex-officio member of both boards.

Space on the National Mall is at a premium — the most recent major construction within the capital's preeminent national park is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, finished in 2016.

The movement to create the two new museums has been pushing for decades to find official approval and the promise of funding — obtained in 2020 — and spaces on the National Mall, a place visited by 25 million people each year.

Supporters of the museum projects argue other locations would imply a lesser status for the museums, compared to the Smithsonian's existing venues.

"The addition of the two new museums on the Mall will further the Smithsonian’s mission by showcasing and highlighting the untold and overlooked contributions to our nation of both women and Latinos," wrote the senators.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It is fitting that these two museums be prominently located as that will help ensure that more visitors will be able to enjoy and learn from them," they added.

Various specific locations have been discussed for the museums, including the existing Arts and Industries Building, which has a prime location on the Mall but lesser square footage than most modern museum projects.

There is some debate as to what land exactly the National Mall comprises, but the Senate letter defined the area as "the two-mile park from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, bounded on the north and south by Constitution and Independence Avenues."

That definition would exclude from contention the Upper and Lower Senate Parks, which have also been considered as potential museum sites, despite pushback from some Capitol officials who have been reluctant to give up the area, which includes parking for the Senate.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Spending bill faces Senate scramble MORE (D-N.J.) led the letter. He was joined by Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinWisconsinites need infrastructure that is built to last  Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO MORE (D-Wis.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats see Christmas goal slipping away Hickenlooper: Law preventing cannabis business banking 'a recipe for disaster' Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory BookerCory BookerMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-N.J.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff Senators propose sanctions against Iran over alleged plot to kidnap US journalist MORE (D-Md.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden administration seeks review of Trump-era approval of water pipeline What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? New variant raises questions about air travel mandates MORE (D-Calif.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenate poised to pass resolution to nullify Biden vaccine mandate Juan Williams: GOP infighting is a gift for Democrats Conservative group targeting Kelly, Hassan, Cortez Masto in multi-million-dollar ad blitz MORE (D-N.H.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Degrees not debt will grow the economy Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.M.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHonolulu shuts down water well amid fuel contamination concern Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Democrats call out Biden Supreme Court commission MORE (D-Hawaii), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyInstagram chief gets bipartisan grilling over harm to teens Senators seek to curb counterfeit toys and goods sold online Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Lawmakers call on Olympic committee to press China on human rights abuses MORE (D-Ore.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPharma lobby eyes parliamentarian Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (D-Wash.), Alex PadillaAlex Padilla91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Historic immigration reform included in House-passed spending bill MORE (D-Calif.), Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenFirst openly transgender Miss USA contestant eliminated before round of 16 Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall America's clean energy future cannot stop at state lines MORE (D-Nev.), Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGillibrand slams committee leadership, Pentagon for military justice reform cuts Build Back Better Is bad for the states  Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda MORE (D-N.Y.), Tina SmithTina Flint SmithBiden touts infrastructure bill in Minnesota swing district Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Senators seek to permanently expand telehealth eligibility MORE (D-Minn.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenReal relief from high gas prices Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Md.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley — Presented by Connected Commerce Council — Incident reporting language left out of package Exporting gas means higher monthly energy bills for American families Senators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing MORE (D-Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats see Christmas goal slipping away What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid MORE (D-R.I.), John CornynJohn CornynGOP working to lock down votes on McConnell debt deal Manchin quietly discusses Senate rules changes with Republicans House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike MORE (R-Texas), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioManchin quietly discusses Senate rules changes with Republicans Rubio calls on Airbnb to delist some properties in China's Xinjiang region Democrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China MORE (R-Fla.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Debt limit maneuvers; Biden warns Putin Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection Hillicon Valley — Presented by Connected Commerce Council — Incident reporting language left out of package MORE (R-Maine).

A similar letter was led in the House by Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyFormer Washington Football Team cheerleaders, employees to protest outside stadium Oversight panel eyes excessive bail, jail overcrowding in New York City Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.Y.). They were joined by a bipartisan group of 70 representatives.