A Democratic New York congresswoman representing Queens introduced legislation to look at the possibility of establishing the first museum “dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).”
The bill entitled “Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act” was presented by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng last week. It stipulates the creation of a commission of eight members, who have competence in terms of museum planning or the culture of Asian Americans / Pacific Islanders.
The commission would be responsible for weighing how feasible it would be to found such a museum in the nation’s capital. As part of their job, the members would be required to:
- Report recommendations for a plan of action for the establishment and maintenance of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American 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;
- Submit to Congress a legislative plan of action to establish and construct the museum.
According to Meng’s press release, the commission’s recommendations should also provide guidance as to whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution, which is the world’s largest museum and research complex. The group’s study would take 18 months to finalize.
With respect to the bill, Meng was quoted as saying “We need to weave the narrative of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities into the greater American story. I firmly believe the story of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is sorely misunderstood and creating a national museum would ensure that our experiences—both good and bad—are recognized by all Americans.”
She added “Museums are gateways for Americans and the world to see the United States’ rich history, challenges it overcame, and potential for greatness. Establishing this commission is the first step toward the creation of a national AAPI museum. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.”