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Lofgren Statement on Smithsonian’s 175th Anniversary

Washington, D.C. – Today, Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement on the 175th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution.  On August 10, 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was formally established by Congress.

“175 years ago today, the Smithsonian Institution was established for ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge.’  Today, it is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, spanning an impressive 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, and numerous education and research centers.  Its vast collections are a historic, cultural, and scientific resource worldwide.

“The Committee has committed to building on this success by leading efforts in Congress to broaden the Institution’s powerful representation of our history, culture, and values.  In the 116th Congress, the Committee passed legislation signed into law to establish within the Smithsonian a National Women’s History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino.  I look forward to adding additional museums in the future.  Last Congress, the Committee held a hearing on studying the feasibility of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.  It is important that the voices, contributions, and traditions of these underrepresented groups are moving towards taking their rightful place in the Smithsonian’s representation of our history and society.

“It is a testament to the Smithsonian’s value that, since James Smithson’s inaugural gift, its growing collections have been funded through a unique public-private partnership.  With its most recent successful fundraising campaign, I am confident the Smithsonian Institution will remain an engaging source of knowledge and inspiration for generations to come.”

Background:

In addition to jurisdiction over federal elections and House operations, the Committee on House Administration is responsible for oversight of the Smithsonian Institution. 

In the 116th Congress, the Committee on House Administration held hearings to examine the feasibility of establishing additional Smithsonian museums, and advanced legislation to establish the National Women’s History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino.  H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, and H.R. 2420, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, were included in the Omnibus spending bill, signed into law on December 27, 2020.  For more information about these museums, click here.

Additionally, the Committee held a hearing about the importance of establishing a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.  For more information about H.R. 3235, Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act, click here.

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