At the end of February, Allison Grayson from our public policy team shared a federal policy update at Museums Advocacy Day 2018, hosted by American Alliance of Museums. Each year, the event is a key opportunity for museum professionals and supporters to come together, share knowledge, and ultimately make the case for the value of our nation’s museums. Last year’s iteration of this annual event brought 380 advocates to Washington, DC, and nearly as many made it back for this year’s.
This meeting of advocates came at a critical time, with some of the biggest changes in recent history to our nation’s tax code in effect, and activity around the federal budget already picking up. In previous weeks, lawmakers have indicated interest in provisions that would have a significant impact on the museum sector’s ability to deliver on their missions, and serve communities. Of the hundreds of advocates who made it out poised to learn how they can ensure their voice is heard, over half of attendees were first-time advocates.
Before heading to Capitol Hill with messages in support of our cultural institutions, advocates had an opportunity to learn about new AAM research illustrating the economic value of museums in our communities. And, while learning how to best advocate for the Institute for Museum and Library Services, advocates also learned how policy governing charitable giving factors into the way museums operate, and the resources available to them to do their work.
One noted speaker advocates heard from was Manuel Contreras. Contreras serves as legislative aide for the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor, and Pensions , and spoke to public policy proposals that would impact museums. He also described the role of higher-ed policy in helping tax-exempt organizations like many museums attract and retain talent to move their work forward. When asked to recall a favorite museum memory, Contreras spoke fondly about the local children’s museum in his hometown of San Diego.
Special thanks to Allison Grayson for making it out to this member event, and for sharing photos and highlights to help us bring you this installment of IS on the Road!