The AAPI museum study bill was passed in the Senate on Thursday by unanimous vote, establishing the creation of a committee that will plan its building.
Sponsored by U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D, NY-6), who is also the first vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the measure first passed in the House on April 26 and was awaiting the Senate’s final approval.
Titled the “Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act,” the bill “seeks to create the first national museum dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and accomplishments of Asian Pacific Americans.”
With Congress’ support, a commission of eight experts will be created to facilitate the planning, or “examine the feasibility,” of the AAPI facility’s construction and planning, potentially as a part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., which is the world’s largest museum and research center.
While the bill does not guarantee the establishment of an AAPI Museum, the measure requires that the commission “report recommendations for a plan of action” and “develop a fundraising plan to support the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the museum through public contributions.”
In other words, Rep. Meng’s bill ensures that there will be a draft with a plan of action to be submitted to Congress, making the construction of the museum much more of a possibility.
According to the congresswoman, the bill was seven years in the making, and an important goal to ensure that “physical space” be allocated to remembering the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“I’m honored to champion this effort,” she said. “Our achievements, history, and experiences are American as everybody else’s, and we must recognize that the narrative of the Asian Pacific American community is woven into our greater American story.”
During Meng’s congressional career, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened, and Meng was a part of the National Museum of the American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum’s creations.