A record-breaking 380 museum advocates are on their way to Washington, D.C. to make the case that museums are essential community assets that bolster local economies and play a vital role in lifelong learning. Advocates will receive policy briefings and data points, and then make the case in over 400 congressional offices during Museums Advocacy Day.
The Time is Now: President Trump is expected to release his FY 2018 budget plan in mid-March, and reports indicate that significant budget cuts may be proposed, including the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, two agencies that support museums in every state. Vice President Mike Pence has stated the administration’s intention to pass tax reform by this summer, which puts the charitable deduction squarely at risk, as offsets will be needed to pay for the tax reforms proposed by the administration.
How will museums fare when Congress begins writing spending bills and tax reform legislation? It’s up to all of us. Let’s make sure members of Congress—and elected officials at the state and local level—hear from the most influential kind of advocates: their constituents.
What You Can Do
Use AAM’s advocacy tools to join the nationwide effort to make the case for museums. Here are five ways to get involved today:
- Speak Up! Customize and send our template letters to Congress on issues that you care about, including preserving the charitable deduction, supporting NEA and NEH funding, supporting funding for the IMLS Office of Museum Services, demonstrating your museum’s economic impact, and many more.
- Engage your Board Members. AAM has launched a museum trustee initiative, and it couldn’t have come at a more critical juncture. Download a copy of Stand for Your Mission and begin a dialogue with your board about how they can play a critical role in advocating for your museum.
- Visit Legislators Locally. Your elected officials maintain local offices near you, and you can make an appointment to talk about your museum. Use our step-by-step guide to arrange a meeting or invite your elected officials to visit your museum.
- Raise Awareness. AAM’s Publicity Toolkit makes it easy to write an op-ed, craft a media pitch, write a press release, or be on talk radio. It is newsworthy when a local museum has something to say about public policy issues. Our social media guide can also help you speak up for museums and connect with lawmakers. (Did you know that Congressional Management Foundationfound that 80% of Congressional staff pay close attention to their constituents on social media?)
- Join the Cause. We are going to need all the advocates—and resources—we can muster to speak up for museums during this critical time so we are launching a national campaign to enlist museum supporters. You can help by using the social media sharing tools to spread the word and #JointheCause.american
We are grateful to the more than 40 organizations that supported Museums Advocacy Day 2017. Join the cause today!