Rep. Grace Meng pushes bill to create first National Asian American Museum in US

Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) has called for a vote on a bill that would pave the way for the creation of the country’s first national museum dedicated to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

What it’s about: The legislation, which Meng first introduced in 2017, will examine the possibility of creating a national museum that preserves the history, culture and accomplishments of AAPIs. It is officially titled “Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act.”

  • The bill will create a panel of eight individuals with “a demonstrated commitment to the research, study, or promotion of Asian Pacific American history, art, political or economic status, or culture,” among other qualifications. 
  • The commission will be tasked to produce a report with recommendations for the “establishment and maintenance” of the museum in Washington, D.C. The report will include information on ​​”the availability and cost of collections” and “whether the Museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution,” among other listed issues. 

What Meng is doing: On Dec. 21, Meng sent a request to Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) to include her bill in the House Natural Resources Committee‘s first markup in January 2022. Grijalva is the chairman of the committee, which holds jurisdiction over the matter. 

  • In her letter, Meng stressed that Asian American history is often “forgotten or ignored in the greater narrative of American history.”
  • “The history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is filled with immense contributions and sadly embedded with stories of disenfranchisement,” Meng wrote. “From the thousands of Asian immigrants who helped build vital pieces of U.S. infrastructure, to the thousands who were denied entry and citizenship because of immigration laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act, AAPIs have shaped and been shaped by America for generations.”
  • Meng’s letter comes after her appearance at a Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on Dec. 7, where she testified for her bill. Journalist Lisa Ling and Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Dr. Russell Jeung also testified in support of the legislation.

Featured Image via U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (left) and House Natural Resources Committee Democrats (right)

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