Organised by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Museum Advocacy Day (22-23 February) will see advocates present Congress with powerful research and stories on the economic, educational and community impact museums make locally and nationally.
AAM has been encouraging museum professionals and those who use museums to get in touch with Congress, wherever they are, and tell them about legislative issues affecting museums and why they are so important. Museums Advocacy Day it said is a ‘critical and unique opportunity’ in the US museum calendar where organisations get the chance ‘to make a unified case to Congress about the value of museums’.
“We’re thrilled to help our museum colleagues tell their story to members of Congress,” said American Alliance of Museums President and CEO Laura L Lott. “It’s important for lawmakers to know how much museums contribute to our communities and to our nation in terms of economic activity and PreK-12 education.”
Throughout the year Congress considers many legislative issues affecting museums and the Alliance has produced templates that make communicating with various legislators easier. The Alliance closely tracks several legislative and policy issues affecting museums—including funding for grant-making federal agencies, tax incentives for charitable giving and education policy.
Key issues it will be campaigning on today and tomorrow will be the fact that museums play a key role in education, job creation, tourism, economic development, historic preservation, environmental conservation and advancing scientific literacy and global competitiveness.
It will argue that each year, museums directly contribute $21 billion to the US economy, employ more than 400,000 Americans and bolsters a large tourism industry in local communities. Museums rank among the top three family vacation destinations, attracting over 165 million tourists annually.
“Unfortunately, in 2009, Congress excluded zoos and aquariums from competing for any funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and only narrowly avoided excluding all museums and other cultural institutions as well,” an AAM statement said. “In 2013, the federal government shutdown forced federally operated museums to close their doors for 16 days. These actions by Congress ignore the economic impact of museums in communities nationwide.”