Skip to content

Urge Your Legislators to Include Museums in COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus

Category: Advocacy Alert
Image of the U.S. Capitol 2019

Support Field-Wide Advocacy for Museum Relief:
The current crisis is taking a distressing financial toll on cultural organizations, and AAM is no different. In these challenging times, we ask that if you can, consider supporting our advocacy work and making extensive COVID-19 resources freely available for our field, by making a donation or becoming a member of AAM. Thank you for your much-needed support.

Advocacy Alert – March 13, 2020

Urge Your Legislators to Include Museums in COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus

The U.S. Congress is currently considering COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief and economic stimulus legislation, and likely will consider additional economic relief proposals in the future. The Alliance is engaged in this rapidly developing and fluid situation, including in coalition with our partners in the broader nonprofit community. Earlier this week, the Alliance joined a letter urging Congress to include museums, and other nonprofit organizations, in economic relief legislation.

Your legislators need to hear directly from you that they must include museums in COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus. They also need to hear specifically about how COVID-19 is affecting you and your museum and how your museum is helping impacted communities.

Urge Your Legislators – Include Museums in
COVID-19 Relief

Talking Points

Economic impact data compiled by AAM and Oxford Economics shows that museums contribute $50 billion a year to the US economy; support 726,000 jobs annually; and generate $12 billion in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments. Museums are economic engines and play an essential role in the nation’s educational infrastructure, spending more than $2 billion a year on education. They are also community anchors, addressing challenges in times of crisis.

Museums of all sizes are experiencing closure, attendance drop-offs, canceled events, and possible or actual layoffs in certain areas. Declines in international and domestic tourism, declines in local attendance, and increases in social-distancing will have a devastating impact on the museum community which operates on thin margins of financial sustainability.

Currently, most museums are experiencing higher unanticipated costs related to increased sanitation labor and cleaning supplies to help prevent the virus’ spread while maintaining operations. Many museums also may need to cope with costs of moving employees to remote work and there are field-wide concerns, especially about the lowest paid and hourly staff potentially being hit the hardest.

In addition to losses in earned revenue, museums are expecting lost charitable contributions as donors reassess their capacity to give due to the stock market’s volatility.

Unfortunately, the Alliance expects hardships to be faced by an increasing number of museums in communities spread across the country in the months ahead, underscoring the need for museums to be included in any economic stimulus relief.

On a positive note, museums are the most trusted source of information in America, rated higher than local papers, nonprofit researchers, the US government, or academic researchers. Museums can take advantage of this high level of public trust to provide education on COVID-19 and fight misinformation about its spread. By empowering the public with the information they need to lower their risk of contracting or spreading disease, museums can help sustain healthy communities, maintain calm, and reduce the chances for an increase in discrimination or xenophobia often created by global diseases.

The Alliance will continue to inform and activate the museum community. Thank you for your advocacy.

Be safe and healthy.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership



  1. Is this urging advocacy on something other than the Families First legislation that passed the House on Friday and is to be voted on by the Senate today?

    If this advocacy alert is for something other than Families First, I’ll follow up with our Board. Is there a specific bill number or name?

    Thanks, in advance, for your help.

  2. The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them… Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with reverence and delight which are their due.” Winston Churchill, 1938, one year before the start of WWII. The implication being, then what are we fighting for?

  3. Can you please add links so that we may directly access our representatives with a sample letter through your site? That way we are all on the same page but can add our own individual voices as necessary.

  4. An online petition would be easier for people to sign on to instead of having to reach out to their legislators individually. Just a suggestion to get more people involved.

  5. Museums are a vital part of the fabric of any community. They provide education, entertainment and in many cases house the history of their community. On a more basic level, they provide jobs and attract tourism that benefits businesses in their area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.