WASHINGTON – Meryl Streep says her personal history led her to join the effort to establish a National Women’s History Museum.

“My grandmother had three children, and she couldn’t vote in the school board election. She gave my grandfather the piece of paper with her choices,” Streep said Wednesday at the Christine de Pizan Honors Gala celebrating pioneering men and women.

Personal stories, unknown bravery, everyday life and the epic personalities should all be part of a building, Streep said during an interview.

“We need a museum. By their monumentality, they claim a place in your heart,” she said.

She has found local stories with universal messages, she said. Near her home is a house where Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, who sued for her freedom, worked for the Ashley family and was abused by the wife.

“She heard the discussion about ‘every man is born free.’ And she was serving tea and stoking the fire,” Streep said. Freeman’s sister was attacked by the wife, but Freeman stepped in front to take the blow from the fireplace shovel.

During the museum’s fundraiser, Streep discussed the history of women’s rights and spoke of the long fight to get Congress to authorize the museum. She also spoke of funding because it will be financed by private funds.

“We’ve got to pull together, girls, and get this done,” said Streep, whose next movie is about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Using a British accent, she told the museum audience: “As Margaret Thatcher said, if you want something spoken about, ask a man, if you want something done, ask a woman.” That brought applause and a standing ovation.

Last year she surprised the Women’s Museum audience by pledging $1 million for the effort. Was she planning to add to that Wednesday night? She laughed the same warm chuckle she threw at Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in “It’s Complicated.”

“Oh, that was Margaret Thatcher money,” she said. “I have to make another movie!”

Hemingway speaks out on suicide

NEW YORK – Mariel Hemingway says her greatest mission in life is to survive a family with a suicidal history.

For the past decade, the actress has been speaking on how lifestyle choices can affect mental well-being.

That’s why her appearance in the cult film sensation “Archie’s Final Project” — formerly known as “My Suicide” — comes as no surprise. “There’s been at least seven suicides in my family, so obviously appearing in the film had great significance for me,” Hemingway said in a recent interview.

Her older sister, Margaux, and famed novelist grandfather, Ernest, are among her losses.

“Creative families such as the Hemingways tend to have substance abuse, they tend to have depression, and all kinds of things,” Hemingway said. But she added, “There are lifestyle choices you can make that can at least lessen the severity.”

‘Idol’ winner honored with mural

RALEIGH, N.C. – “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery is being honored in a mural at his high school in North Carolina.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that McCreery was on hand Friday as the new mural was unveiled at Garner High School.

The mural honors the school’s sports accomplishments. McCreery is pictured because he swung his microphone like a baseball bat at the end of a song on “Idol.”

McCreery is pictured next to former Garner basketball star Donald Williams, who was named most valuable player during the University of North Carolina’s run to the 1993 national championship.