H.R. 1980 would authorize the appropriation of whatever amounts are necessary for the Smithsonian Institution to plan, construct, and operate a museum dedicated to women’s history. The bill would establish a council within the Smithsonian Institution to advise the Board of Regents on museum operations, acquire artifacts, create exhibitions, and raise funds for the museum. Additionally, the bill would permit the Smithsonian Institution to appoint a Director to manage the museum and to carry out educational programs related to women’s history. H.R. 1980 would allow the Board of Regents to select a site and design and construct the museum. Fifty percent of the total construction cost would be financed by the Smithsonian Institution with nonappropriated funds that do not appear on the federal budget.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1980 would cost $190 million over the 2020-2029 period: $83 million for construction and $107 million for staffing, planning, creating exhibits and educational programs, and operating the museum. This estimate is based on information from the Smithsonian Institution about similar efforts, and from the report to the Congress from the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum. Based on specifications from the Commission, CBO expects that a site for the museum would be chosen in 2021 and that the site would be under 100,000 square feet.
For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 1980 will be enacted near the beginning of 2020. Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns. The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget function 500 (education, training, employment, and social services.)