Metro Weekly

Bills to Create a National LGBTQ+ Museum Introduced in Congress

One bill would create a commission to study the logistics of opening the museum, and the second would actually create the facility.

Congressman Mark Pocan – Photo: U.S. House of Representatives.

A U.S. Congressman has introduced a pair of bills to begin the process of creating a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture.

The bills, introduced by U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) just prior to the start of LGBTQ+ History Month, would create a commission to study the creation of such a museum and establish it within the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex.

Both measures are required to be signed into law to create a new Smithsonian Museum.

The first bill creates an eight-member commission — consisting of individuals with expertise in museum planning or LGBTQ+ research and culture — to look into the viability of establishing a national LGBTQ+ museum.

The commission would be tasked with reporting recommendations for a plan of action to establish a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture; developing a fundraising plan to support operations and maintenance; obtaining an independent review of the fundraising plan; reporting on the availability and cost of acquiring collections for the museum; identifying possible locations for the facility; and submitting a legislative plan of action to establish and construct the museum to Congress.

The commission’s study would have to be completed, and all materials submitted to Congress, within 18 months of its start.

The second bill, which could only be acted upon after the commission’s findings are submitted, would formally create the museum within the Smithsonian Institution, which has previously hosted queer events at its facilities.

Pocan’s bill is currently being co-sponsored by all other eight out LGBTQ members of Congress, as well as 50 other House members. 

“As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations,” Pocan said in a statement. “It is vital to remember our collective past — particularly when certain states seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQ+ youth and our community at large.

“Let’s tell these stories, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C.,” he added. “I look forward to the passage of this legislation and to visiting this museum in the near future.”

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