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AAM President Testifies on Capitol Hill in Support of NEA, NEH, the Smithsonian Institution and Historic Preservation Programs

Category: Press Release


April 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC—American Alliance of Museums president Ford W. Bell will testify today before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, urging the Congressional panel to support funding for key museum programs within its purview, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution and historic preservation programs. Bell will give live testimony before the committee, joined by representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Americans for the Arts, the Federation of State Humanities Councils and other allies among cultural nonprofits.“Making the case for critical programs such as NEA, NEH and the Historic Preservation Fund, as well as national touchstones like the Smithsonian is a critical aspect of field-wide advocacy efforts and certainly a priority for AAM,” Bell said.

Focusing on museums as key educational providers, job creators, economic engines, Bell will bolster his testimony with on-the-ground examples of how NEA, HEH and historic preservation-related grants have empowered museums of all types and sizes to better serve their communities.

Indicative of the enormous return on investment realized from federal funding for museums, Bell will cite the case of the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center in Lawton, Oklahoma, where an NEH grant of less than $5,000 enabled the institution to develop a disaster preparedness plan that, in turn, enabled the museum to better protect the tribe’s heritage.In addition to Bell’s live testimony, AAM member Don Wildman, host of Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum and Monumental Mysteries, submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in support of funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and its Office of Museum Services.

“It is important for members of Congress to hear both the macro and micro stories surrounding the impact of federal grants to museums,” Bell continued. “It is especially powerful when elected officials hear from constituents. AAM urges all museums to tell Congress about the good works they are doing for their neighbors.”

You can find easy tools for communicating with Congress on the AAM website at

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