We will need every museum professional, every trustee, and every volunteer to speak with one voice
As the new Trump administration has indicated that significant federal budget cuts may see the elimination of the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities, which support museums across the US, the 9th Museum Advocacy Day beginning today has extra importance.
This combined with proposed tax reforms that could put the charitable deduction at risk has seen an almost 50 per cent more museum staff, students, board members, volunteers, supporters and independent professionals who work for and with museums ravel to Washington, DC to advocate for federal support. For the first time each of the 50 states has sent a delegation that will visit House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill where they will have face-to-face meetings with their representatives.
Organised by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the museums will present Congress with powerful research and stories on the economic, educational and community impact museums make locally and nationally.
“Museum professionals are stepping up in record numbers this year,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott, “The museum field will stand strongly against any effort to impede the important work of NEA and NEH, and the multiplier effect their grants have in local communities. We will need every museum professional, every trustee, and every volunteer to speak with one voice to help preserve these vital agencies, and to make sure the new Congress knows about the vital role museums play in our communities, our economy, and in the education of our young people.”
Museum advocates will begin today with briefings, followed by a day of visits to Congressional offices tomorrow. In meetings with legislators and staff, they will advocate for federal agencies, such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the NEH, and the NEA, that support the work of museums. They will also urge Congress to protect the full scope and value of the charitable deduction in any tax reform legislation.
AAM figures to support museums
Museums invest more than $2 billion in education programs each year.
Museums welcome more than 55 million visits from schoolchildren each year.
In direct expenditures alone, US museums inject $21 billion into the economy, and employ roughly 400,000 Americans.
Museums receive more than 850 million visits annually, more than all major league sporting events combined.
For every $1 invested in museums and other cultural organizations, more than $5 is returned in tax revenues.
A significant amount of federal funding comes back to each state from the federal cultural agencies.
Nearly all museums are non-profit organisations, and over one-third of their funding comes from charitable donations.