Notes from IHA

Notes from IHA

Federal Funding Legislation Clears Congress with Good News for Museums

Better late than never! Congress has sent legislation finalizing Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations to the president’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law shortly. Despite very strict limits on total domestic spending, the legislation contains a number of small increases for programs that benefit our nation’s museums. Successes like this are only possible because of year-round advocacy work: advocating from anywhere (,  attending Museums Advocacy Day (,  and securing support ( ) from members of Congress. The American Alliance of Museums leads advocacy efforts, including the Museum Advocacy Day, where representatives from museums all over the United States make visits to members of their Congressional delegations.

See some key details of the omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (  in the table below:


 FY 2016 Current Funding

 FY 2017 Omnibus

IMLS Office of Museum Services

$31.3 million

$31.7 million


National Endowment for the Humanities

$147.9 million

$149.8 million


National Endowment for the Arts

$147.9 million

$149.8 million


Smithsonian Institution

$840 million

$863 million


State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices

$56.9 million

$58.4 million


Civil Rights Movement sites

$8 million

$13 million


Save America’s Treasures


$5 million


National Park Service Operations

$2.370 billion

$2.425 billion


NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning

$62.5 million

$62.5 million


NIH Science Education Partnership Awards

$18.5 million

$18.5 million


NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training

$7.2 million

$7.5 million

“While these funding increases are modest, they are a significant victory in a very difficult environment, and museum advocates should be proud today,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott. “I’m especially grateful for the work of our champions in Congress on both sides of the aisle. But there is no time for rest, as we continue to make the case in Congress on Fiscal Year 2018 funding.”

The process for determining funding levels for FY 2018 has already begun in earnest. After record-breaking support ( in the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is now circulating a companion letter to her Senate colleagues on behalf of the IMLS Office of Museum Services.

Efforts to raise awareness about the work that museums do is ongoing and informs elected representatives about programs that help the educational role of museums and ways they reach people of all walks of life, making museums accessible to a broad public.





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