Arts, Culture, and Humanities

National Women's History Museum

Educate. Inspire. Empower.

Alexandria, VA   |


The NWHM's mission is to tell the stories of women who transformed our nation. This is accomplished through a growing state-of-the-art online presence and a future physical museum to educate, inspire, empower, shape the future, and provide a complete view of American history.

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Holly Hotchner

Executive Vice President

Kymberly Wolff

Main address

205 S. Whiting Street Ste. 254

Alexandria, VA 22304 USA

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Cause area (NTEE code) info

History Museums (A54)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Across all industries, women continue to be underrepresented. At the current rate of change, women are still 208 years away from achieving gender equality in the United States. While women represent half of the U.S. population, they occupy only .5% of our nation’s recorded history, according to historian Dr. Bettany Hughes. Women are missing from America’s textbooks, museums, and statuary across the country – simply put, women are missing from history. The statistics bear this out. According to a 2015 survey, only 24% of Americans consider themselves knowledgeable about women’s history, and 77% of Americans think women’s contributions to history are not well understood. While these statistics are sobering, public sentiment is clear: America needs a comprehensive museum dedicated to women’s history, More than 85% of Americans believe that it is important to build the National Women’s History Museum to communicate the breadth of women’s experiences and accomplishments.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Women Making History Awards

The Women Making History Awards recognizes and honors a select group of women who have made a significant contribution to their field and serve as an inspiration to women everywhere.

Population(s) Served

While NWHM works to secure a permanent building site in Washington, D.C., its website is its virtual home. There is ongoing development of the site including classroom-ready lesson plans, biographies of notable women, articles, virtual exhibits, and interactive timelines.

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)

The NWHM, in collaboration with other like-missioned organizations and museums, engages the public in discussions and informative lectures on topics relevant to current women's history scholarship and research.

Population(s) Served

The NWHM invites educators to bring a Museum Educator into the classroom and to offer students a glimpse into how museums bring history to life. The National Women’s History Museum continues its offering of 30-minute electronic field trips via Google Hangout for 4th through 11th grade classes and extracurricular groups on a variety of topics, including women in STEM, woman suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

The National Women’s History Museum is the United States’ national institution for the promotion, interpretation and celebration of women’s history. It serves to present a complete view of American history by broadening public understanding of women’s distinctive contributions to our national discourse, while providing a safe forum for global dialogue on issues related to women and other marginalized populations. The National Women’s History Museum aims to meet the nation’s need for informal, interactive, self-directed learning experiences centered around women’s history and historical contributions. It inspires curiosity and life-long learning, promotes dialogue and helps break down barriers to understanding by: • Reconsidering traditional methods of audience engagement in order to be inclusive of multiple learning styles, prior knowledge and life experiences, and generational differences; • Consistently challenging single narrative in the Museum’s interpretation, education, public programs, and exhibition development because inclusive history is good history; and • Centralizing issues that have remained on the margins of history and cultural narrative in order to help audiences discover the value and worth of telling the histories, stories, contributions and impacts of communities that have been marginalized, shut out, enslaved and/or silenced, so that a better future can be realized.

NWHM’s award-winning website has interactive dynamic exhibits and static educational sections to engage visitors and provide educators and students with robust resources that explore the stories, challenges and achievements of women past and present. Further, because women’s history has largely been left out of American textbooks, NWHM created lesson plans for educators to use in their classrooms that relate to our online exhibits and focus on themes such as Progressive and Colonial Eras, the Reform Movement, and Women’s Crusade for the Vote. We also offer virtual classroom field trips, which allows teachers and students to interact with Museum staff in real time (students especially love the question and answer period). NWHM also offers additional digital classroom resources, oral histories, biographies, and chronicles of American women history makers. Additionally, NWHM has a physical resource library and archives on women’s history, as well as a donor-supported Study Collection which includes art, books, and historical ephemera from the mid-19th Century through the present day. The Study Collection is open to students, scholars, and history enthusiasts alike. In addition to our robust online resources and physical resource library, NWHM brings public programming across the country. Programming includes discussions, panel presentations, theme-based lecture series, and two Women Making History Award events, one on each coast, as well as women’s history walking tours in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. NWHM also participates in National History Day and awards two scholarships to students who have won the competition in the area of women’s history. More than a half a million middle and high school students—and 30,000 teachers—participate in this annual event. Finally, NWHM is working on raising funds to open a world-class national women’s history museum in our Washington, D.C. Our Museum will be known as a leader in innovative spaces—crafting experiences that elevate women’s stories, redefine possibilities, and create community.

NWHM’s president and CEO, Holly Hotchner, is not only a leading expert in museums, but has extensive experience creating institutional advancement and new and innovative experiences for museum visitors. As the first museum director at the New-York Historical Society—considered one of America’s oldest museums—Hotchner built a staff, raised millions of dollars for the care of the collections and exhibitions, and took the museum through the American Alliance of Museums’ accreditation process. Her team established a premier education department, the Luce Study Center for the Study of American Material Culture, and made collections accessible through innovative interpretation, helping the New-York Historical Society take its place as a world-class museum of history and culture. Hotchner also served as director of the American Craft Museum, a niche museum in New York. During her tenure as director, Hotchner re-envisioned it as the Museum of Arts and Design, a new kind of interdisciplinary museum adhering to the values of craftsmanship and expanded the mission to include creativity across traditional boundaries. Through the process of translating that vision, she built a greatly expanded collection and institution. She led the museum through site and architect selection and creating plans and budgets. She developed the board, enhanced staff and, under her leadership, the museum raised $120 million starting from a very small donor base. In addition to the Museum’s president, NWHM’s active and experienced Board of Directors is dedicated to ensuring that the Museum and its programs become the leading place to learn, experience and enjoy women’s history. Further, NWHM’s National Coalition of more than 60 women’s service and professional organizations represent more than 12 million women nationwide supporting its efforts. Finally, NWHM has a strong education department comprised of staff with extensive experience in both museum studies and women’s history; more than 61,000 members; and a Museum Advisory Council. Further, the majority of the U.S. Congress—across both sides of the aisle—supports NWHM’s efforts and educational goals and wants to see NWHM have a physical presence in our nation’s capital.

Support for NWHM continues to grow. The Museum began its efforts in 1996 with 146 people donating $1 to support the creation of a National Women’s History Museum. Today, the Museum has over 61,000 members and supporters; the majority of Congress continues to support the Museum’s goals and objectives; more than 60 women’s organizations and institutions representing 12 million women support the Museum; leading corporations help to underwrite Museum programs and women’s history events; and the Museum has raised tens of millions of dollars to underwrite its educational programs and efforts to acquire a site to open a brick and mortar museum in Washington, D.C. In 2018, NWHM’s virtual education website had more than 600,000 active users and more than three million pageviews from across the world. To date, that number has grown to over three million users and more than 5.4 million pageviews. The Museum’s social media channels signal broad support for the Museum: nearly 500K followers on Facebook, 19K followers on Twitter, and over 68K followers on Instagram. NWHM also receives regular feedback from scholars, donors, supporters, teachers, and students about our programs. The participation from each of these groups is constantly increasing, along with individuals and institutions wanting to donate historical artifacts to the Museum now for when the Museum’s physical building opens.

Our first accomplishment was 22 years ago when, after 76 years and several failed attempts by other organizations, NWHM successfully lobbied Congress to get their approval to bring the “Portrait Monument” from the basement of the Capitol into the light of day in the Capitol Rotunda. At the time, this statue was the only statue honoring a woman or women in the Capitol. On Mother’s Day 1997, the statue of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony finally joined the statues of men in Statuary Hall. NWHM’s interactive, educational website has grown from 431 visitors in 1998 to over 5 million pageviews in 2019. Over 61,000 Charter Members and friends help to underwrite NWHM’s programs and the request for producing additional programs and materials is growing. Further, analytics show that more than 40,000 organizations and institutions use This one act was the birth of the National Women’s History Museum. Since then, NWHM has researched, created, and launched 26 online women’s history exhibits; established a national speaker’s bureau on women’s history that gives speeches across the country; and published 310 biographies on trailblazing women whose achievements helped to create and advance our great nation. In addition, in working to sharing the missing half of history—women’s history—NWHM established a lecture series on some of today’s hottest topics and the part women have played; held several women’s history panel discussions in coordination with George Washington University’s history department; and worked with Google on several online women’s history exhibits, including an exhibit on Sojourner Truth in 2018. The visitor response to this exhibit was so successful that the overwhelming traffic temporarily crashed NWHM’s website. For years, NWHM has worked closely with scholars, educators, and students to create educational materials and posters about women’s history that are downloadable from the NWHM website. This has been met with encouragement and praise from members of the education community. In 2016, NWHM undertook the challenging task of researching exactly how much women’s history is being taught from textbooks in each state in America. To date, this is the only study that has ever been conducted on America’s textbooks that explicitly gives the facts on every woman mentioned, the number of times that woman was mentioned, the reference, etc. The study’s findings were even more devastating than anticipated: The study found that women's experiences and stories are not well integrated into U.S. state history standards. The lack of representation and context in state-level materials presupposes that women's history is even less represented at the classroom level. In 2020 we enter our most exciting chapter, as we work to build a brick and mortar museum in Washington, D.C. and multiply ten-fold the number of people we reach with women’s history each day.


National Women's History Museum

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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National Women's History Museum

Board of directors
as of 3/23/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Susan Whiting

Nielsen (Retired)

Board co-chair

Singleton McAllister

Husch Blackwell

Susan Danish

The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc,

Catherine Allgor

Massachusetts Historical Society

Molly Bordonaro

Gerding Edlen Investment Management

Jon Bouker

Arent Fox

Mari Johnson

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Cheri Kaufman


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Julie Smolyansky

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Cynthia Young

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Vin Cipolla

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Peixin Dallara

Polaris Investments, LLC

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D.

Women’s Research and Resource Center

Rachel Vogelstein

Council on Foreign Relations

Julia Bianchi

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Grace Farraj

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Monica Gil

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Darlene Reyes

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Paula Volent

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Mary Smith

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Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 09/17/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


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Sexual orientation

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Education, Museum, Women's History, History, Women