Elected legislators rely on their constituents to tell them what issues matter to them and how federally funded programs impact the communities they represent.
ACM monitors issues important to children's museums and updates members about how their organizations may be affected. Often, advocacy alerts include steps individuals may take to share their opinions with legislators.
ACM Statement on the President's Proposed FY 2018 Budget Priorities
The Association of Children’s Museums opposes the elimination of key arts and cultural federal agencies from President Trump’s 2018 budget priorities, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Museums are essential partners in communities across the United States, helping families of all backgrounds celebrate the ideas and objects that define who we are as Americans. The federal agencies now at risk support programs and exhibits in museums that introduce children to the joy of hands-on learning, welcome new immigrants to learn about their communities, offer free admission to the nation’s active duty service members, and encourage every American to explore new views and information their entire lives.
IMLS, NEA, and NEH grants support museums in every state, an important investment that museums then leverage for significant private, state, and local funding. The arts and culture sector is an economic engine for our nation that added more than $704 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013.
IMLS, NEA, and NEH have a history of strong bipartisan support, and ACM strongly encourages Congress to continue funding for these important agencies, which successfully amplify a small federal investment to create maximum impact in local communities. We also call on our members and stakeholders to contact their elected representatives and voice their opposition to the proposed budget.
Tools to Support Your Advocacy Work
ACM works closely with other museum associations so that we speak with one voice in support of museums. The American Alliance of Museums offers a variety of materials to support museum advocacy.
- Know the issues that affect museums
- Use state-by-state snapshots of cultural funding for museums
- Speak up for museums on social media
If you want to learn more about the issues that affect the charitable sector, follow the 100 Days for Good podcast. Produced by Independent Sector, the podcast shares what nonprofits, foundations, and anyone committed to the common good needs to know about what's happening in Washington.
Year-Round Advocacy Actions
To be an effective advocate for your museum and for the children's museum field, develop relationships with your local, state, and federal legislators. Invest your organization's time and effort into these relationships year-round.
- Put your legislators on your organization’s mailing list.
- When your organization receives a grant, write a thank you note. For a federal grant, thank your state's members of Congress and the director of the agency that awarded the grant. For a state grant, thank your state legislators and governor. For a local grant, thank your mayor and local council members.
- If your museum is turned down for a grant due to lack of funds, write to the appropriate decision makers (federal or state legislators, the governor) to ask for increased support for that agency or program.
- Invite your legislators for a tour of your facility and educate them about what you do and how your community benefits.
- Invite your legislators to openings and community celebrations and ask them to make a short speech about the importance of the children's museum to your community. Take pictures of legislators at these events and share them on the museum's social media channels and with the local newspaper.
- Invite your legislators to speak with your board of directors about early childhood education.