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AAM Statement on Museum Ban in U.S. House of Representatives Community Project Funding (Earmark) Guidance

Category: Press Release

For Immediate Release

Arlington, VA – The American Alliance of Museums (AAM)—representing over 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, and museums of all types and sizes across the country—is profoundly disappointed that the U.S. House Republican leadership and appropriators retained a provision from last year making museums ineligible for Community Project Funding (also known as earmarks) in recently released guidance. Despite our field’s efforts—including advocating for the repeal of this ban during visits to Congressional offices during Museums Advocacy Day—the House Republican leadership has decided to continue to include last year’s museum earmark ban. Targeting museums is not only damaging to these educational institutions and the communities they serve, it is an affront to the 96 percent of Americans who are in favor of funding support for museums.

The recent House Republican rules go even further than last year’s by banning not just museums but our entire nonprofit community from receiving earmarks out of the Economic Development Initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a repugnant reaction to some earmarks going to support several LGBTQ+ organizations in fiscal year 2024. None of these restrictions apply to the Senate earmark process where museums and nonprofits, including those serving the LGBTQ+ community, remain eligible.

Museum earmarks are used to serve critical needs in communities across the country including supporting K-12 education, funding energy efficient buildings to support the conservation of cultural heritage, and increasing tourism and economic development – projects that are vital to communities’ health and vitality.

Museums are economic engines, pumping more than $50 billion into the U.S. economy annually pre-pandemic, supporting over 726,000 American jobs, generating $12 billion in tax revenue, and spurring tourism from around the world. Nationally, museums spend more than $2 billion yearly on education activities, and the typical museum devotes 75% of its education budget to K-12 students. They are essential community infrastructure that have the support of 96 percent of Americans who think positively of their elected officials who take legislative action in support of museums.

Going forward, the Alliance will continue to urge the House Republican Leadership and appropriators to remove the ban and allow museums to compete for earmarks on their own merits as they always have.

AAM stands for the broad scope of the museum community. Museums are a robust and diverse cultural and business sector, including African American museums, aquariums, arboreta, art museums, botanic gardens, children’s museums, culturally-specific museums, historic sites, historical societies, history museums, maritime museums, military museums, natural history museums, planetariums, presidential libraries, public gardens, railway museums, science and technology centers, tribal museums, and zoos.

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.


Press Contact:

Natanya Khashan


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