Notes from IHA
As the national association that represents museum interests, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) champions advocacy and encourages museums to participate in making its concerns known. The technical insert with this newsletter addresses the topic of advocacy by museums and mentions the annual AAM Museums Advocacy Day, when museum supporters from around the country gather inWashington,D.C., to bring a message to Congress about why museums are essential and how federal policies affect museums. The 2014 Museums Advocacy Day is scheduled for February 24-25.
Museums Advocacy Day is made possible through the support and participation of museum service organizations, graduate programs, museums, individuals, and corporate supporters. Participants include museum directors, staff, volunteers, students, board members, and business owners. They make a case for federal funding, federal education policy, charitable giving incentives, and recognition of the economic impact and job creation of museums. The American Alliance of Museums makes it easy to participate by providing comprehensive policy briefings and scheduling meetings on Capitol Hill with elected representatives.Alliancemembers register for free.
The Allianceclosely tracks several legislative and policy issues affecting museums, including funding for grant-making federal agencies, tax incentives for charitable giving, and education policy. More about Museums Advocacy Day and topics covered in issue briefs can be found on the AAM website, www.AAM-US.org.
Illinoismuseums can also participate in statewide efforts to raise awareness about their services and their needs. In the spring, the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) and Museums in the Park join forces with the IllinoisStateMuseumfor Museum Day in Springfield. Together, board members, staff, and volunteers from museums across the state meet in person with elected state representatives to deliver a message to key decision makers that Illinoismuseums are crucial to their communities. The date for Illinois Museum Day is usually announced in January and may be found on the IAM website at www.state.il.us/hpa/iam/default.html.
Library associations also have organized to help members to track issues and make their concerns known to legislators. The Illinois Library Association’s website, www.ila.org/advocacy/legislative-directory, includes access to information and numerous resources about advocacy for libraries.
At the national level, the American Library Association (ALA) has taken a leadership role in informing its members of issues affecting them and providing resources to assist them in being active participants in advocacy concerning access, diversity, First Amendment rights, intellectual freedom, and civil liberties. TheALA’s offices and divisions sponsor a variety of library promotions throughout the year that libraries of all types all across the country can get involved with to promote libraries and create awareness of library issues. TheALAwebsite,
www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyinstitute/materials, has a section entitled Advocacy University that contains a current list of advocacy tools and resources for all types of libraries and invites comments or questions at email@example.com.
This month’s technical insert, “Why Advocacy Should Be a Best Practice of Museums,” by Karen Ackerman Witter, points out that museums and other nonprofits are affected by state and national legislation. They have the right to have their voices heard about issues that have an impact on them. Information is easily accessible to inform these organizations and to enable them to take part in civic discourse.