WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the nation prepares to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02), a co-chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus introduced two bills to begin the process of creating a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture. “As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations,” Rep. Pocan said. “It is vital to remember our collective past – particularly when certain states seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQ+ youth and our community at large. Let’s tell these stories, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C. I look forward to the passage of this legislation and to visiting this museum in the near future.” Rep. Pocan introduced bills to establish a commission to study the potential creation of a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture and to establish it within the Smithsonian Institution. Both bills are required to be signed into law to create a new Smithsonian Museum. The first bill creates an eight-member commission – consisting of individuals with various expertise in museum planning or LGBTQ+ research and culture – to look into the viability of establishing such a facility in the nation’s Capital. The measure would require this commission to:
Report recommendations for a plan of action for the establishment and maintenance of a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture;Develop a fundraising plan to support the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the museum through public contributions;Obtain an independent review of this fundraising plan, including an analysis of the resources necessary to fund the construction of the museum and its operations and maintenance without reliance on federal funds;Report on the availability and cost of acquiring collections for the museum, identify potential locations for the facility in Washington, D.C., and determine its regional impact on other museums; and,Submit to Congress a legislative plan of action to establish and construct the museum.
The bill would also direct the commission’s recommendations to address whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. The commission would have 18 months to complete the full study.After the commission completes its work and issues its recommendations, Congress can consider the second bill to formally create the museum.All 9 openly LGBTQ+ Members of Congress as well as 50 other members are sponsors of this legislation.
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