After watching President Barack Obama mark the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016, Asian American leaders know getting a museum of their own is possible but that it will take persistence.
New York Rep. Grace Meng authored a bill that seeks to establish a commission to consider the possibility of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.
The eight-member commission would provide Congress with building and maintenance strategies, in addition to establishing a fundraising plan and potential locations.
The bill, brought before the House Natural Resources subcommittee this month, looks to uphold and celebrate the history and influence of the often-overlooked Asian American Pacific Islander community.
“I remember the excitement and the pride that was felt by so many when the African American museum opened up,” Meng told the Hill. “I just thought that [Asian Pacific Americans] should, as the fastest growing community in this country, also have a museum that's dedicated to our history and culture.”
Meng noted that she hopes the legislation will be marked up in January by the full Natural Resources Committee, a key step toward the bill making it to the House floor.
Plans to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture took nearly three decades before it was completed. The late Rep. John Lewis from Georgia first introduced legislation to create the museum in 1988.
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In 2020 Congress passed COVID-19 relief legislation that also established the National Museum of the American Latino and the National Women's History Museum.