Yesterday, we witnessed a peaceful transfer of power to a new administration. Now comes the governing, policymaking, and setting of federal budget priorities.
Now is when our work begins in earnest.
In the coming weeks, President Trump will release a formal budget plan for Fiscal Year 2018, which begins October 1, 2017, and then Congress will begin the work of writing bills to fund federal government agencies and programs (and to complete the process for the current fiscal year, which began October 1, 2016).
You may have seen recent news reports suggesting what we anticipated following the 2016 election: that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) could face potential elimination. The Trump administration is reportedly working from a blueprint that claims to reduce federal spending by $10 trillion over 10 years, a Heritage Foundation report which calls for drastic cuts and consolidations of federal programs and agencies, including the elimination of NEA and NEH.
“We are extremely concerned by these reports, and the museum field will stand strongly against any effort to gut the important work of NEA and NEH, or any other federal agency supporting the work of museums,” said AAM President and CEO Laura L. Lott. “These agencies play a uniquely valuable role in helping make the arts and humanities accessible to every American.”
“We will need every museum professional, every trustee, and every volunteer to speak with one voice to help preserve these vital agencies. As we heard in yesterday’s inaugural speech, ‘Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.’ I agree; we have the power to make our voices and our priorities heard, and together we—the united museum field—must fight for the ideals we believe in.”
Join the effort today. Here’s how you can help right away:
- Go on record in support of NEA and NEH. Make sure your members of Congress know how important these funds are to your museum. Use our template letter, especially if your museum has benefitted from a federal grant, and personalize your message in just a few clicks.
Register for Museums Advocacy Day if you are from an underrepresented state. We are nearly at capacity for Museums Advocacy Day but we still have no advocates registered from eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Museum trustees are also especially welcome to attend this year, as trustees are critical in the effort to advocate for museums. Register by Monday January 23 (after Monday, we will only be able to accept registration on a limited case-by-case basis). Thank you to our many sponsors and partner organizations.
- Use our tools and templates. Did you know that AAM has tools and templates to help you advocate? Use our op-ed templates (including a new charitable giving op-ed template); develop an Economic Impact Statement; ask your board members to read and discuss Stand for Your Mission, a guide to helping them learn to advocate; and find out who represents you in Congress and in your state legislature. And get ready to lend your voice on February 28 when we’ll ask you to Advocate from Anywhere during Museums Advocacy Day.
- Get social. The Congressional Management Foundation found that 80% of Congressional staff pay close attention to their constituents on social media. More than three-quarters of senior staff reported that social media helps them have more meaningful interactions with constituents. Find your elected officials, including their social media information, and start following them to learn about their priorities, so you are prepared to make the case. Also be sure to follow AAM on Facebook and Twitter and use #museumsadvocacy and #museumsadvocacy2017 for advocacy updates, tools and resources.