News & Politics

Smithsonian Picks National Mall Sites for American Latino and Women’s History Museums

Congress still needs to green-light the selections.

Two new museums may soon be bound for the National Mall: the National Museum of the American Latino, and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.

The Smithsonian Institution just identified two potential sites for the museum concepts, which were authorized by Congress in 2020. Since then, the Smithsonian Institution and Baltimore-based architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross have worked together to identify optimal locations. Two have been nearly finalized: a “South Monument site” across the National Mall from the African American museum (the most recent addition to the landscape), and a “Tidal Basin site” that’s near Maine Avenue, Southwest.  

The final green-light for the museum locations are still pending legislative action, but the Smithsonian’s board must designate sites by the end of the year. 

Who and what group gets recognition on and around the National Mall is, understandably, a big deal. Recent decades have brought inclusivity to the forefront. Last year,  President Biden took the first step to commission a study on the potential creation of the National Museum of Asian Pacific American History. Meanwhile, Wisconsin congressman Mark Pocan introduced legislation to establish the National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture within the Smithsonian Institution. As Henry R Muño, who has helped spearhead the the National Museum of the American Latino’s inception for three decades, says:

“Latinos are such an important part of our country’s history and our future, and we are one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations of citizens…our board looks  forward to the day when we open doors to this important new American institution alongside the great museums on the land that is the National Mall, where American stories are told. Today, alongside our sister museum which honors and celebrates the rich history and impact of American women, we are one step closer to our dream.”

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.