Congresswoman Proposes First National Museum for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

A national museum preserving the history, culture and accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) may be erected in Washington, D.C. in the future.

On July 31, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) introduced new legislation examining the possibility of creating such an institution, which would be the first in the nation.

The bill, titled “Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act,” aims to build a panel consisting of experts in museum planning or AAPI history and culture.

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The eight-member panel will put together a report with recommendations for the establishment and maintenance of the museum, including a fundraising plan subject to independent review.

A national museum preserving the history, culture and accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) may be erected in Washington, D.C. in the future.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens). Image via Facebook / @repgracemeng

The study will also detail the availability and cost of acquiring collections, identify potential locations for the facility in the nation’s capital and determine its regional impact on other museums.

“We need to weave the narrative of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities into the greater American story,” Meng, who is of Taiwanese descent, said in a press release. “I firmly believe the story of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is sorely misunderstood and creating a national museum would ensure that our experiences — both good and bad — are recognized by all Americans.”

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A national museum preserving the history, culture and accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) may be erected in Washington, D.C. in the future.
“It’s #AAPIHM and I’m proudly celebrating the diversity within our #AAPI communities. While we’re not a monolith, there’s no denying that we are ALL #PhenomenallyAsian and we all deserve better representation.” – Rep. Grace Meng in May for the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Image via Instagram / @grace4ny

The bill is expected to direct the commission’s recommendations to determine whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex.

“Museums are gateways for Americans and the world to see the United States’ rich history, challenges it overcame, and potential for greatness. Establishing this commission is the first step toward the creation of a national AAPI museum. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation,” Meng added.

The commission will have 18 months to complete the study.

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Featured Images via Facebook / @repgracemeng (Left) and Instagram / @grace4ny (Right)

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