For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – More than 250 staff, students, board members, volunteers, supporters, and independent professionals who work for and with museums traveled to Washington, DC, from across the country to advocate for federal support of America’s museums, making visits to over 300 House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill. Organized by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the fifteenth annual Museums Advocacy Day, February 27–28, will present Congress with powerful research and stories on the economic, educational, and community impact museums have locally and nationally.
In recent years, museum advocates’ collective efforts have resulted in increased funding for museum programs at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This year witnessed a historic $8 million increase for the IMLS Office of Museum Services—the first time museum programs have been funded over the $50 million level—and the NEH and the NEA received an increase of $27 million each. During Museums Advocacy Day 2023, we are advocating for Congress’ tradition of strong bipartisan backing of the agencies who support the critical role museums play in society and the communities they serve every day.
“While advocates secured record levels of support for museums throughout the pandemic, saving thousands of museums and museum jobs, the field still faces a long path of recovery and rebuilding,” said Laura Lott, AAM President and CEO. “Now is a critical time to ensure legislators know the work our museums do, and that support is required to continue to serve all our communities.”
Museum advocates will urge Congress to support $65.6 million in FY 2023 funding for museum programs at the Institute of Museum and Library Service’s Office of Museum Services (OMS), and to sign on to Appropriations letters supporting “robust funding” for OMS once circulated. Advocates will urge legislators to co-sponsor legislation to renew and expand the charitable tax deduction for taxpayers to deduct their charitable contributions regardless of whether they itemize.
During Museums Advocacy Day, the Alliance will present awards to legislators who have demonstrated exemplary support for museums. This year’s awardees are Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and James Lankford (R-OK) for their bipartisan leadership sponsoring legislation to boost charitable giving.
Advocacy Leadership Awards
During Museums Advocacy Day, the Alliance presented awards to advocates who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in their advocacy for the museum field:
Dr. Vedet Coleman-Robinson for being a leader and mentor to members of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM), while also working closely with the Alliance to reach the offices of the Congressional Black Caucus members with key field-wide messages, and helping ensure that all museum professional voices are heard, including those working to protect, preserve, and interpret African and African American art, history, and culture.
Charity M. Counts for her leadership of the Midwest Museums Association, always approaching Museums Advocacy Day strategically, planning how to best to reach midwest legislators and speak up on behalf of midwest museums, and helping museum people share their advocacy story.
Jason B. Jones for his commitment to leading and representing western museums, keeping leadership, advocacy, and civic engagement at the center of the Western Museum Association’s (WMA’s) work, and for helping to reach congressional offices in the region.
Bonnie Styles for her leadership of the Association of Science Museum Directors, her tireless work to center advocacy for science museums and the broad museum field, cultivating deep and meaningful relationships with legislators, and championing informal and museum-based interdisciplinary science education and environmental sustainability in museums.
About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, we have been championing museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward.