WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Senate tonight has approved Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins’ (R-ME) 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).
During a speech on the Senate floor tonight, Senator Collins explained that a women’s museum would help the D.C. economy by boosting local tourism and visitor spending, and generating tax revenue.
“Such a museum would also showcase the many important social, economic, cultural, and political contributions that women have made to our country. And all this could be done at virtually no cost to taxpayers,” said Senator Collins.
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.
“This is a great use for an empty federal building, and it makes good fiscal sense,” said Senator Collins. “I hope the House will consider this legislation expeditiously.”
In October, 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.
The Governmental Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over both the District and the General Services Administration.