Statement from Alliance President & CEO Laura Lott on the Partial Federal Government Shutdown

Category: Press Release
Photo of the U.S. Capitol building DC, Photo by E.Neely

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Arlington, VA—Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums, issued the following statement in response to the partial federal government shutdown.

“As of this morning, the 19 Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will be forced to close their doors to the public, having run out of temporary funds. The National Gallery of Art will close tomorrow. Many national parks, national monuments, national forests, national historic sites, and other federally operated museums and sites are also closed or have no visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance. These national treasures and the communities that depend on them are bearing the burden of the partial shutdown. Our elected leaders may disagree, but they at least should keep the government operating in the meantime.”

“Museums are economic engines, supporting more than 726,000 jobs and contributing $50 billion to the U.S. economy per year. Even a brief government shutdown means not only the loss of access to valuable cultural resources for our communities, but also significant losses for our economy. The shutdown also burdens tourists, travelers, students and museum-goers throughout the US and around the world who have traveled to visit cultural and heritage sites.”

“The Alliance has recommended policy changes that would preserve public access and services to lands and collections at federally operated museums, national parks, national monuments, national forests, and national historic sites during any future government shutdown.”

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The partial shutdown—seven out of the 12 annual appropriations bills, or roughly 25 percent of the federal government—also affects agencies and programs that support museums, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Science Foundation (NSF), historic preservation programs, Save America’s Treasures, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Smithsonian Institution. It does not affect the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Fiscal year 2019 funding for IMLS, including a $2 million increase for the agency, was signed into law in September.

For more about the economic impact of museums, download a free copy of Museums as Economic Engines, A National Study, conducted by Oxford Economics with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In addition, a 2017 study conducted by AAM and Wilkening Consulting and fielded by the opinion polling agency, Ipsos, shows that 95% of voters would approve of lawmakers who acted to support museums and 96% want federal funding for museums to be maintained or increased.

Museums affected by the government shutdown are encouraged to contact the Alliance by emailing governmentrelations@aam-us.org.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

Press Contact:
Joseph Klem
Phone: 202-218-7670
Email: jklem@aam-us.org

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