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Weekly Roundup: Museums in the News 3/24/2017

Category: Alliance Blog
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This week’s Roundup shares stories about the importance of museums and why now is the time to advocate on behalf of funding sources, equity in our organizations and creative problem-solving. Enjoy!

1. More than 700 advocates participated in Arts Advocacy Day this week hosted by Americans for the Arts. The event had a record number of participants visiting congressional offices in Washington, D.C. to communicate the message that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an essential investment.  Also check out AAM’s resources to help you advocate from anywhere.

If You Like the Arts, Save the N.E.A., Advocates Tell Lawmakers

“He’s not going to support us, regardless,” one of the women said of the Florida Republican. They moved on, though the senator has not made any statement about how he views that funding cut.

2. Who benefits from federal arts funding? Linda Norris shares her experience as a peer reviewer for the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) to illustrate the impact of this program on smaller museums and their communities across the country. MAP is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered by AAM.

A Small Piece of the Big Picture: IMLS and Local Communities

The new administration’s budget which proposes the total elimination of funds for NEA, NEH and IMLS (the Institute of Museum and Library Services) got me thinking about my role as a Museum Assessment Program (known as MAP and administered by the American Alliance of Museums) reviewer.

3. We know that museums still have a lot of work to do in areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility, which is why it’s the theme of our AAM 2017 Annual Meeting in St. Louis. The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) just published the Gender Gap Report 2017 finding that the number of women in leadership positions and pay inequity are still issues. I’d also recommend Kaywin Feldman’s article and speech on gender issues.

Study Shows Gender Gap Persists in Museum Directorships | artnet News

The Gender Gap Report 2017, published on March 22 by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), found that representation and pay equity for female museum directors is getting incrementally better, but a gender gap persists. The AAMD is a 100-year-old association, with 242 members from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

4. “Mini can be mighty” reports MuseumHack. This read is a lot of fun in its celebration of small museums. The museums listed made me want to immediately jump a plane and experience these “small museum superheroes around the globe.”

Mini but Mighty: Why Small Museums are Superheroes

The most intriguing thing about superheroes isn’t that they leap tall buildings in a single bound or change into capes and spandex tights inside phone boxes. It’s the fact that they help save the world every day - without most people ever realizing it. That’s why we think small museums are real-life superheroes.

5. This is an older story, but I recently ran across this article and it struck me as relevant to museums’ financial sustainability and existentialism in times of shifting funding priorities. Back in 2013, Detroit’s bankruptcy negotiations alarmed the museum world when negotiators asked the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) to contribute at least $500 million towards the city’s debts, even if it meant selling off parts of its collection. The museum responded by launching a massive fundraising campaign that allowed it to help the city while also becoming an independent charitable trust. Cheers to the museum for its strong approach to the crisis.

Detroit Exits Bankruptcy, Thanks to Its Art Museum

A federal judge approved Detroit’s bankruptcy plan today, allowing the city government to hit the reset button after its years of financial mismanagement.

Do you have a great museum story to share? Let us know in the comments!


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