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Issue: IMLS Office of Museum Services Funding

IMLS is the primary federal agency responsible for helping museums connect people to information and ideas. Its Office of Museum Services (OMS) awards grants to museums to support educating students, preserving and digitizing collections, and engaging communities. Grants are awarded in every state, but current funding has allowed the agency to fund only a small fraction of the highly rated grant applications it receives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, OMS has provided critical leadership to the museum community through its CARES Act and American Rescue Plan grants, and the agency has been providing science-based information and recommended practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to staff and visitors engaging in the delivery of museum services. Its Communities for Immunity partnership is working to boost COVID-19 vaccine confidence in communities across the country. Congress has regularly reauthorized IMLS with broad bipartisan support, most recently in 2018. OMS has set a strong record of congressional support during the appropriations submission process in each of the last several years, with 151 Representatives and 42 Senators signing the FY 2021 appropriations letters on its behalf. In FY 2021, Congress provided $257 million to IMLS, of which $40.5 million was directed to the Office of Museum Services. With this funding, OMS provided 275 grants totaling $40.5 million to museums and related organizations in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

We urge Congress to:

  • provide $54.5 million in fiscal year (FY) 2022 for the IMLS Office of Museum Services (the House-passed and Senate draft approved level), a much needed increase of $14 million, and provide a robust funding increase for FY 2023.
  • include funding for the agency to explore establishing a roadmap to strengthen the structural support for a museum Grants to States program administered by OMS, as authorized by the Museum and Library Services Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 9173(a)(4), in addition to the agency’s current direct grants to museums.

Download the full Issue Brief (PDF)

Includes a list of Senators and Representatives who supported FY2022 OMS funding.

» See all Policy Issues

COVID-19 & IMLS Funding

Supporting Letters and Testimony


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