Norton Introduces Bill to Allow the National Children’s Museum to Remain in the Ronald Reagan Building Rent Free

Feb 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the National Children’s Museum Act today, which would require the General Services Administration (GSA) to enter into a cooperative agreement with the National Children’s Museum to allow the Museum to remain in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, a federally owned building, without charge.  Norton says that the newly redesigned Museum, the nation’s first combination children’s museum and science center, should remain centrally located in the nation’s capital for the benefit of all.

In her statement, Norton writes: “Despite its many benefits it brings to the nation’s capital, NCM remains an outlier in terms of upkeep and maintenance.  NCM is the only congressionally designated museum expected to pay rent in a federal building.  This bill would allow NCM to remain in its current federal location without payment of rent, allowing staff to focus on bringing 21st century STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) learning techniques to the nation’s capital.”

Norton’s introductory statement is below.

Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

On the Introduction of the National Children’s Museum Act

February 13, 2020

Ms. Norton. Madam Speaker. 

Today, I rise to introduce the National Children’s Museum Act, which would require the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to enter into a cooperative agreement with the National Children’s Museum (NCM) to allow NCM to remain in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, a federally owned building, without charge.  My bill would allow the newly redesigned NCM, the nation’s first combination children’s museum and science center, to remain centrally located in the nation’s capital for the benefit of all. 

Originally named the Capital Children’s Museum, NCM was a staple in the District of Columbia for decades.  The institution opened in 1974 in a former convent on H Street Northeast.  In 2003, Congress recognized the immense value in having a children’s museum in the District and officially designated the museum the National Children’s Museum.  By 2004, NCM had outgrown its home on H Street, but had difficulty securing a new location.  Since 2015 NCM’s presence has been digital, serving D.C. public school students and public libraries online.

Now located in its new home in the Ronald Reagan Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, NCM is poised to bring new and innovative STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) exhibits to the nation’s capital, building on more than 30 years of educating D.C. children and families.

Despite its many benefits it brings to the nation’s capital, NCM remains an outlier in terms of upkeep and maintenance.  NCM is the only congressionally designated museum expected to pay rent in a federal building.  This bill would allow NCM to remain in its current federal location without payment of rent, allowing staff to focus on bringing 21st century STEAM learning techniques to the nation’s capital. 

I strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill.

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