Controversy already brewing over proposed National Women's History Museum

It could be years before it ever becomes a reality, but there is already controversy brewing over the proposed National Women's History Museum.

Joan Wages, President and CEO of the NWHM, said she was not surprised, adding,  "Any time a project like this comes to the forefront, starts getting some publicity, there are people who essentially come out of the woodwork."

The criticism appears to be coming from two fronts: conservatives and professional historians.

Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America, said, "Currently this project has a board overwhelmingly pro-abortion and leftist in their leanings."

As an example, Nance cited a NWHM website feature on Margaret Sanger, founder of organizations that ultimately became Planned Parenthood, adding, "but forgets to say she was a eugenicist and she was racist in her leanings."

Wages noted that a bipartisan congressional commission will conduct initial oversight of the museum. There is growing support for that on Capitol Hill, and once formally approved, the commission will be made up of four Republican and four Democrat appointees.

While that commission would give initial guidance and select a physical site, it is unclear how much influence it would have with regard to the actual content and exhibits that would eventually appear in the NWHM.

Wages also was criticized for disbanding a group of historians and experts who had been formally advising the NWHM.

One of the commission members said she had critiqued NWHM organizers over factually incorrect information on the website, and believed the commission was discontinued in order to avoid an embarrassing mass resignation by its members.

Wages said that was not so.

Jim Grossman, a professor and historian who collaborated on multiple Smithsonian museums, said professionals must be part of the process.

"It's crucial - transparency basically means having a group of people whose expertise people can trust," he said.

Wages said NWHM planners are continuing to work with other historians, adding, "It's really quite absurd to even think that we could create a women's history museum without historians."