WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced legislation to create a national women’s history museum on the site of a vacant building in Washington, D.C., that is owned by the General Services Administration (GSA).
“This project is a win-win for women, the District of Columbia, and the federal government,” said Senator Collins, whose committee has jurisdiction over the District and the General Services Administration. “It would boost the local economy by creating new jobs, increasing tourism and visitor spending, and generating tax revenue for the District. Even more important, the museum would highlight the outstanding contributions that women have made to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation.”
The legislation would direct the GSA to enter into a long-term occupancy agreement with the National Women’s History Museum, Inc. (NWHM), a nonprofit organization, to develop the Old Post Office Annex on Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. into a national women’s history museum. It is estimated that such a museum would draw more than 1.5 million visitors to the Capitol each year. The site—which is adjacent to the Old Post Office Building—has been vacant for more than 10 years.
Under Senator Collins’ bill (S. 1741), NWHM would pay fair market value to rent the Annex and would be responsible for completing the building’s renovation and modification. The fair market value would be determined through an appraisal process.
“There are thousands of vacant federal buildings scattered across the country,” Senator Collins pointed out. “It makes good fiscal sense to enable these buildings to be reused. My legislation is a good deal for the federal Treasury and a good way to bring women’s history closer to millions of Americans.”
Earlier this month, Senator Collins held a committee hearing focusing on the need for federal real property reform and called for ways to reuse vacant or underutilized federal properties.