Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/27/1999 05:05 PM WTR

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HJR 14-NATIONAL MUSEUM WOMEN'S HISTORY AK COUNCIL                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BARNES announced that the first item of business would be                                                                 
Sponsor Substitute for House Joint Resolution No. 14, Relating to                                                               
the National Museum of Women's History and the National Museum of                                                               
Women's History Alaska Council.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0122                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KAREN STASER, President, National Museum of Women's History [NMWH],                                                             
testified via teleconference from Washington, D.C.  She stated that                                                             
she would like to discuss the federal perspective.  She indicated                                                               
that Katelyn Markley would discuss why the National Museum of                                                                   
Women's History is so important to women.  Ms. Staser said,                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Here in Washington [District of Columbia], there is an                                                                     
     increasing awareness of the role women are playing and                                                                     
     will play in the upcoming presidential election.  Issues                                                                   
     involving women will be brought into sharp focus over the                                                                  
     next two years.  The museum has been overwhelmingly                                                                        
     embraced by women throughout the country who are hungry                                                                    
     to see their past and their experiences reflected with                                                                     
     respect.  In response, to date, the museum has created                                                                     
     state councils in Alaska, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York                                                                   
     City, Washington D.C., Texas and North Carolina.  And you                                                                  
     can be sure that women will look favorably upon those                                                                      
     leaders who support the National Museum of Women's                                                                         
     History.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0248                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     To put into perspective why women are so committed to                                                                      
     NMWH, let me emphasize that there is a huge historical                                                                     
     void concerning women.  As Katelyn will discuss, did you                                                                   
     know that still less than two percent of modern history                                                                    
     texts cover the contributions and experiences of women?                                                                    
     Or that less than five percent of our national historic                                                                    
     sites interpret women's roles?  Or that in the U.S.                                                                        
     capital, of the 451 works of art honoring individuals,                                                                     
     only 12 depict women?  And that is why the National                                                                        
     Museum of Women's History is so important.  Our mission                                                                    
     is to fill this historical void by preserving and                                                                          
     celebrating the unique contributions and experiences of                                                                    
     women and to restore this heritage to mainstream culture.                                                                  
     NMWH has put together a powerful team.  We enjoy the                                                                       
     support of 44 members of Congress and over 200 prominent                                                                   
     citizens nationwide.  From Al Newhart, for example, the                                                                    
     founder of USA Today, and Gloria Steinhem (ph) to                                                                          
     renowned historian Doris Kerns-Goodwin (ph) and Steve                                                                      
     Forbes, who, incidentally, asked me to introduce him at                                                                    
     the Forbes Executive Women's Summit this year, and,                                                                        
     furthermore, Forbes Magazine will feature a 16-page                                                                        
     section on the museum in next month's issue, which we're                                                                   
     very proud that Alaskan businesswoman, Eleanor Andrews                                                                     
     (ph), will be highlighted.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The last point I'd like to make is that the museum is                                                                      
     privately funded.  What we're asking of the federal                                                                        
     government is an arrangement similar to that that they                                                                     
     have provided the National Building Museum and Ford                                                                        
     Theater, and that is the long-term loan of federal land,                                                                   
     preferably on the mall.  The federal government will                                                                       
     provide the site while operating costs will be privately                                                                   
     funded.  I urge you to pass this resolution in support of                                                                  
     the National Museum of Women's History and continue in                                                                     
     the tradition of Alaska, the pioneer state.  In doing so,                                                                  
     you will take the lead and make history by becoming the                                                                    
     first state legislature to formally endorse this                                                                           
     important institution.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0465                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked for clarification on the location of                                                              
the museum.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. STASER replied that a federal site has been requested in                                                                    
Washington, D.C.  She said they are interested in a site as close                                                               
to the capitol mall as possible.  She indicated that there has been                                                             
discussion with the Alaska delegation about a possible site; a                                                                  
federal building called the Sidney R. Yates (ph) Federal Building.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS referred to the United States Capitol                                                                   
Rotunda, in which there are statues of historical figures who                                                                   
helped shape America, and asked if the statue of Lucretia Mott,                                                                 
Elizabeth Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony would be moved into the new                                                             
building.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. STASER indicated that that is a decision that would be made by                                                              
Congress.  She stated that the original legislation called for the                                                              
statue to be in the rotunda for one year.  However, the statue                                                                  
remains there, and there has been no indication that it would be                                                                
moved.  She said this statue or another statue honoring these three                                                             
American leaders does deserve to be in the rotunda.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS stated that Senator Ted Stevens was very                                                                
anxious to get the statue moved to the rotunda.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. STASER agreed and stated that it was Senator Stevens who                                                                    
introduced the legislation and spear-headed the whole initiative to                                                             
move these leaders to the rotunda.  She said without him it would                                                               
not have happened.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0662                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KATELYN MARKLEY, Founder, Alaska Council of the National Museum of                                                              
Women's History, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  She                                                              
read the following testimony:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I am delighted to be hear today to testify on a project                                                                    
     I am personally committed to.  The project will add                                                                        
     important facts to the history of this nation,                                                                             
     acknowledge women for their many achievements and help                                                                     
     young women realize that they can be whatever they dream                                                                   
     of being.  This project is the National Museum of Women's                                                                  
     History.  In the story of American success, the chapter                                                                    
     on women's contribution was largely cut from an early                                                                      
     draft.  Women and their accomplishments as mothers,                                                                        
     political leaders, teachers, astronauts, inventors and so                                                                  
     on, have been left out of our history books.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     As an example, prior to becoming involved in the National                                                                  
     Museum of Women's History, if I was asked, "Who was the                                                                    
     first member of the territorial legislature of Alaska?",                                                                   
     I would not have known, but now I know that it was                                                                         
     Representative Nell Scott (ph), a Democrat from Seldovia.                                                                  
     At school, studying the history of the United States, I                                                                    
     learned of the struggle to settle the western frontier,                                                                    
     and later of the discovery of gold in Alaska, a struggle                                                                   
     that matched man against his environment.  I learned that                                                                  
     with courage and rugged individualism man won the West.                                                                    
     Similarly, I learned in Alaska history, that cheechakos                                                                    
     came to Alaska, during the rugged Chilkoot Trail, making                                                                   
     their way north to pan for gold in the great land.  All                                                                    
     these facts are part of the amazing history of the United                                                                  
     States and of Alaska, but there are important facts                                                                        
     missing.  The truth is that families conquered the West.                                                                   
     Without all family members working together, the settling                                                                  
     of the frontier would have been impossible.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0794                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     When history tells us about the enormous human cost for                                                                    
     this epic adventure, we should remember that women and                                                                     
     children bore more than their share of those costs of                                                                      
     work, disease and death.  Not only did women do their                                                                      
     daily chores and keep their families together, but they                                                                    
     worked alongside the men, and, without question, women                                                                     
     are civilizers.  On the western frontier, they were                                                                        
     expected to bring civilization and culture to soften the                                                                   
     harshness of the frontier male society.  Women lived up                                                                    
     to those expectations.  In town after town, women moved                                                                    
     in and saw to the building of churches and schools, and                                                                    
     probably brought law and order with them, in addition to                                                                   
     being mothers, businesswomen and political leaders.                                                                        
     Historians overlook these facts in history.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0839                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I grew up in what I thought was a fairly progressive                                                                       
     family in Southeast Alaska.  My parents both owned their                                                                   
     own businesses and they encouraged their five children to                                                                  
     study and work hard.  Each of us went on to get college                                                                    
     degrees in education, business and in the medical field.                                                                   
     We were also told that my brother would inherit the                                                                        
     family seafood business.  You see, it was a man's world                                                                    
     and only men could do certain things.  The four girls in                                                                   
     the family were told to marry well.  Most of you know my                                                                   
     husband, Larry Markley.  I think I respected my dad's                                                                      
     wishes.  All kidding aside, in part because of my lack of                                                                  
     knowledge and (indisc.) of past accomplishments of women,                                                                  
     I did not develop a personal and collected sense of                                                                        
     confidence and potential, and I truly limited myself in                                                                    
     what I thought I could do.  HJR 14 supports legislation                                                                    
     that was introduced in Congress to create an advisory                                                                      
     committee that will identify a site for the National                                                                       
     Museum of Women's History in Washington [D.C.], develop                                                                    
     a business plan for the museum using solely private                                                                        
     contributions and assist with a collection and program                                                                     
     for the museum.  HJR 14 also encourages Alaska                                                                             
     congressional delegation to help assign an existing                                                                        
     building on the mall for this effort.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0933                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The concept for the National Museum of Women's History                                                                     
     began in Alaska many years ago by Karen Staser and became                                                                  
     a dream in 1996, when Karen and her husband, Jeff, moved                                                                   
     to Washington, D.C. where Jeff took a job with Senator                                                                     
     Stevens.  Since that time, the board of directors, led by                                                                  
     Karen, has worked tirelessly to build support and                                                                          
     interest for this project, raising more than $10.5                                                                         
     dollars.  Perhaps we should get her to help out with                                                                       
     Alaska's budget situation.  Lending their support to                                                                       
     moving the suffragette statue from the crypt of the                                                                        
     rotunda, which Representative Phillips spoke of, and they                                                                  
     actually raised $85,000 for this effort.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0968                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Now, you might ask, "Why do we need a women's museum when                                                                  
     we have the Smithsonian?".  Edith Mayo, a curator with                                                                     
     the Smithsonian, an active member of the National Museum                                                                   
     of Women's History, can answer this question.  Since                                                                       
     1963, only two exhibits, just two, were dedicated to the                                                                   
     role of women in history.  I do find it interesting to                                                                     
     see the fancy dresses that the first ladies of the United                                                                  
     States wore to the inaugural balls, but many other                                                                         
     important accomplishments of women are not showcased,                                                                      
     and, in essence, have been deleted from history.  They                                                                     
     deserve to be in a museum.  Whatever period of history                                                                     
     you choose, women played a role.  Sybil Lunington (ph),                                                                    
     a 16-year old, rode through parts of New York and                                                                          
     Connecticut in April of 1777 to warn that the Red Coats                                                                    
     were coming.  Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian guide,                                                                        
     helped escort Lewis and Clark on their 8,000 mile                                                                          
     expedition.  Rosa Park, Joanne Robinson (ph) and many                                                                      
     others played important roles in the civil rights                                                                          
     movement of the 50's and 60's.  And as we move into the                                                                    
     21st century, the role of women, who now make up 52                                                                        
     percent of the population, will continue to be integral                                                                    
     in the future success of this country.  I urge you to                                                                      
     pass this resolution and I thank you very much for                                                                         
     hearing our testimony.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1063                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS wondered, since Alaska is going to be the                                                               
first state to consider this, if other states were going to look at                                                             
this also.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARKLEY indicated that she has only been involved on the Alaska                                                             
side of the issue and thought that Ms. Staser could answer the                                                                  
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. STASER stated that all the states she mentioned previously are                                                              
critically involved in the development of the museum, but we enjoy,                                                             
as Alaskans, the enviable position of having congressional members                                                              
chairing the three important committees that will make the decision                                                             
on Alaska's side.  Alaska has been the first state and the most                                                                 
important state in this process.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked Ms. Markley how many members are in                                                               
the Alaska Council of National Museum of Women's History, and she                                                               
wondered how to join.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARKLEY replied that she would send information.  She indicated                                                             
that the council is in the formation stage right.  She said there                                                               
are approximately ten people that have been actively working with                                                               
her.  Groups, such as the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Athena                                                                  
Group, are interested in making the National Museum of Women's                                                                  
History a project that they will focus on.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS wondered if it would be possible for Alaska                                                             
to have somebody involved in the advisory committee as far as the                                                               
selection of the location.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1195                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. STASER said she would welcome that.  She stated that the museum                                                             
has control over at least nine of the twenty-one positions on the                                                               
commission.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked if a synopsis of the Forbes article                                                               
on Eleanor Andrews (ph) could be sent.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. STASER said she would and stated that the article will be                                                                   
coming out the second week in May.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BARNES asked Ms. Markley if she could send, prior to the                                                                  
release of the magazine article, a brief piece on what she knows                                                                
about Eleanor Andrews (ph).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARKLEY said she would.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1275                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BARNES called an at-ease at 5:24 p.m.  She called the meeting                                                             
back to order at 5:25 p.m.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1367                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to move SSHJR 14 from the                                                                    
committee.  There being no objection, SSHJR 14 moved out of the                                                                 
House Special Committee on World Trade and State/Federal Relations.                                                             
                                                                                                                                

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