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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Congresswoman Grace Meng introduced a new legislation on Wednesday to examine the possibility of creating the first museum dedicated to preserving the history, culture and accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). 

The bill “Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act,” would create an eight member panel — consisting of individuals with various expertise in museum planning or AAPI research and culture — to look into the viability of establishing such a facility in the nation’s capital. 

“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,” Meng said. 

The measure would require the commission to take the following actions: 

  • 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.

Meng’s 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.  

 “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,” Meng said. 

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