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Urge Congress to Support Museum Community Economic Relief

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 20, 2020
Message from the American Alliance of Museums: Today, we must make our voices heard to our members of Congress in support of museums. Congress is moving extremely quickly on consideration of economic relief and recovery packages in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact across many industries. Now is the time to contact your legislators to let them know what the museum field is facing and urge them to provide critical support for museums. CONTACT CONGRESS ABOUT COVID-19 RELIEF In support of the museum field, we urge the U.S. Congress to include at least $4 billion for nonprofit museums in COVID-19 (coronavirus) economic relief legislation to provide emergency assistance through June. In addition, we urge Congress to adopt a temporary "universal charitable deduction" to help incentivize charitable giving which is expected to decline in the months ahead. Nationwide, our museums are losing at least $33 million a day due to closures as a result of COVID-19 and will be in desperate need of significant federal support to maintain jobs, secure our cultural heritage, help to rebuild our nation's tourism industry - and simply to survive the months to come. Talking Points The U.S. museum community is robust and diverse, including aquariums, arboreta, art museums, botanic gardens, children's museums, cultural museums, historic sites, history museums, maritime museums, military museums, natural history museums, planetariums, presidential libraries, public gardens, science and technology centers, and zoos. The related "museum economy" is vast and is facing an existential threat from the closures required to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Museums are economic engines. Economic impact data compiled by the American Alliance of Museums and Oxford Economics shows that this museum economy contributes $50 billion a year to the U.S. economy and generates $12 billion in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments. Museums also are vital local sources of employment, supporting 726,000 jobs annually. Museums play an essential role in the nation's educational infrastructure, spending more than $2 billion a year on education. The destabilizing effects of the current crisis place the future of these contributions to the U.S. economy and education system at great risk. If these businesses fail during this crisis, then there will be no jobs to which many thousands of displaced workers can return. Museums of all sizes are experiencing closures, attendance free-fall, canceled events, and actual layoffs. This will escalate, day-by-day, as closures and cancellations continue. Most of these are cash-based businesses; their economic lifeblood is people visiting. Declines in international and domestic tourism, declines in local attendance, and increases in social distancing will have a devastating impact on the nonprofit museum community, which operates on thin margins of financial sustainability, without large designated operational reserve funds or access to tax-relief benefits, and is often largely dependent on earned revenue from visitors passing through their doors. We estimate as many as 30% of museums, mostly in small and rural communities, will not re-open without significant and immediate emergency financial assistance. Initial furloughs and layoffs among museum personnel have already begun this week. There are field-wide concerns about large-scale layoffs, especially for the lowest paid and hourly staff as they will potentially be hit the hardest. As employers, museums care deeply about the welfare, health, and financial stability of hard-working staff, and are concerned that increasing unemployment among museum personnel may exacerbate broader community issues of lack of access to health care, food insecurity, and even homelessness that will make the COVID-19 response much more challenging. Any federal support that directly supports workers can offset personnel costs, which make up a significant proportion of the average museum's operating budget. We also encourage inclusion of small nonprofit businesses, including many museums, in any support programs designed to help small businesses continue paying employees. Over and above losses in earned revenue and unremitted expenses, museums are expecting lost charitable contributions as donors reassess their capacity to give due to the stock market's volatility. Congress should ensure communities are able to support their local museums and all nonprofits during this crisis by enacting a targeted, temporary giving incentive that enables all Americans, regardless of whether they claim itemize deductions, to receive a tax incentive for giving to the work of charitable nonprofits, including museums, responding to, or suffering from, the COVID-19 pandemic. Museums have impressive support from the public. According to a recent public opinion poll, 96% of Americans would think positively of their elected officials taking legislative action to support museums, regardless of political persuasion or community size. 97% of Americans believe that museums are educational assets, and 89% believe that museums contribute important economic benefits to their community. Museums are also the most trusted source of information in America, rated higher than local papers, nonprofit researchers, the U.S. government, or academic researchers. Museums can leverage this high level of public trust to provide education on COVID-19 and fight misinformation about its spread. By empowering the public with the information they need to make informed decisions and lower their risk of contracting or spreading disease, museums can help sustain healthy communities, maintain calm, and reduce the chances for an increase in discrimination or xenophobia often created by global diseases. Even now, while museums are experiencing closures and significant losses in revenue, and planning for staff reductions, they are still serving an increase in demand in communities across the United States by providing lesson plans, online learning opportunities, and "drop-off" learning kits to teachers and parents in areas where schools have closed; freely sharing virtual exhibitions and content accessible to those who are otherwise isolated; maintaining their outdoor spaces to provide quiet places to relieve stress during this time of high anxiety; and supporting the families of health care workers and first responders with access to child care and meals. Museums are community anchors, addressing challenges in times of crisis like the one we are currently experiencing. Unfortunately, we expect hardships to be faced by increasing numbers of our member organizations in communities across the country in the months ahead, underscoring the need for museums to be included in any economic stimulus relief now.

Tags:  Advocacy  Covid19 

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COVID19 Impact Assessment

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Arts Alliance Illinois, is spearheading an assessment for arts and culture organizations, including museums, about the effects of the Covid19 quarantine on arts and culture. This information is being coordinated with Forefront. They are also monitoring nonprofits and effects the closures are having across the sector. To ensure that museums are factored into these efforts, we encourage you to fill the assessment out as soon as possible. Fill out the assessment here: https://artsalliance.formstack.com/forms/cultural_sector_impact_assessment

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Resources for COVID19

Posted By KELLY KLOBUCHER, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Preparing to close up and have staff work from home? Here are some good resources to check out. https://www.wipfli.com/insights/articles/ngp-checklist-to-prepare-for-covid-19-outbreak-at-work https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html https://www.aam-us.org/

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Tags:  Covid19 

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Everything's Closed. Now What? 5 Ways Museums Can React.

Posted By Jeanne Schultz Angel, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
The Covid-19 novel coronavirus is a global pandemic and is making history. We urge museums to please consider the following during this time: 1. History is being made right now. At Naper Settlement we are practicing “rapid response” collecting to this crisis, including collecting images of our community, online chatter on how the community is reacting, and collecting the material culture of this pandemic. Ask yourself: what stories and artifacts you would have liked to have had to help tell the story of the 1918 Flu Pandemic? Now go and collect those items for today (while following the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing). Click Here for an example. 2. Crisis management is an ongoing process and changes based on the situation. When was the last time your museum reviewed its response protocol? Consider the advice from Wipfli later in this newsletter. Click Here for a link to their blog. 3. In what ways can you maintain a connection with your audience? Do you have online resources tours or exhibits to share? Check out the tips for reaching out in this newsletter. Click here for a guide to online resources. 4. Is now the time to consider professional development? Check out the opportunities listed and keep a lookout for more to be offered in March and April from IAM. Click Here for AASLH. Click Here for AMM. 5. Museums, like other economic engines in your community, will be significantly affected by the pandemic. At Naper Settlement, we understand firsthand how much harm the shutdown does to earned revenue such as school field trip cancellations. As we consider the businesses that will be in jeopardy due to the closures, IAM intends to monitor how this crisis will hit bottom line of our cultural institutions as well. IAM intends to study the impact of the COVID 19 virus on the Illinois museum community. To advocate for Illinois museums effectively, we need to understand the impact on your museum. What has been the economic burden that the widespread closing of schools and community organizations has had on your museum? Please watch in the coming weeks for a survey to help us tell our story. We hope that when this pandemic subsides that our communities will bounce back with resilience and continue to learn and grow as vibrant places of learning and culture. IAM is here to help Illinois museums. Please contact us with questions, comments, ideas, or information that we can share with your peers. We are all in this together! Yours for Universal Liberty, Jeanne Schultz Angel Director of Learning Experiences, Naper Settlement President, Illinois Association of Museums Speaker, Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Program

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Public Museum Capital Grants Program Deadline Extended

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As a result of public and state agency closures due to COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the application deadline for the Public Museum Capital Grants Program would be extended until May 29, 2020 at 5 p.m. The program, which is administered by IDNR, grants funding to public museums in Illinois to improve museum facilities and develop new exhibits. A total of $25 million in funding from the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital program is available for public museum capital grants for Fiscal Year 2020. Grant awards for qualifying projects can range from $25,000 to a maximum of $750,000. Interested applicants may email the IDNR Office of Grant Management and Administration at DNR.Grants@Illinois.gov with questions. To view the Notice of Funding Opportunity, visit https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/GATA/Grants/SitePages/CSFA.aspx.

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AASLH Small Museums Scholarship-Deadline June 21

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 9, 2020
Small Museums Scholarship Application 2020 AASLH Annual Meeting Las Vegas, NV DEADLINE: June 21, 2020 The American Association for State and Local History will hold its Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, NV, September 23-26, 2020. This year’s theme, What Kind of Ancestor Will You Be?, examines the personal, communal, and organizational journeys that lead to vibrancy, authenticity, social change and sustainability. Depending on the work at hand, our response to the question will vary. It might serve as a call to action, a challenge to embrace difficult work now. It might also serve as a cautious whisper, a reminder to slow down and get it right. Although different issues warrant different responses, consideration of the question is essential in light of the challenges our field, communities, nation, and planet are facing. Websites, listservs, and social media constantly offer new sources of technical and psychological support, but nothing is better than the face-to-face fellowship of sharing survival strategies. Every year, increasing numbers of Annual Meeting sessions address issues specifically affecting small museums. These sessions can be as practical and wide-ranging as training, marketing, and strategic planning. Other sessions focus on creative ways to forge and re-energize relationships with the surrounding community. Now in its fifteenth year, AASLH’s Small Museums Committee is offering scholarships to AASLH members who are full-time, part-time, paid, or volunteer employees of small museums. Each $700 scholarship will cover the cost of both the conference registration and the Small Museums luncheon. Any remaining funds may be used to offset travel and/or lodging expenses. Acceptance of the scholarship is contingent upon recipients submitting a post to the AASLHblog about their Annual Meeting experience. To qualify, the applicant must work for a museum with a budget of $250,000 or less. They also must either be an individual AASLH member or work for an institutional member. The deadline for applications is June 21. The committee will email award winners by July 10. For questions, please contact Bruce Teeple, Small Museum Scholarship Subcommittee Chair, at mongopawn44@hotmail.com, or Alex Collins, AASLH Program Coordinator, at collins@aaslh.org or 615-320-3203. To apply for this scholarship, please go to: https://aaslh.submittable.com/submit/160190/2020-small-museums-scholarship Thank you, Bruce Teeple SMC Scholarship Subcommittee Chair

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Museum Day on Capitol Hill

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Last week The American Alliance of Museums hosted Museum Day in Washington DC. Museum professionals from all over Illinois joined delegates from across the country to visit elected officials on Capitol Hill and asked for robust funding for museums, libraries and arts organizations.

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Grants Watch!

Posted By KELLY KLOBUCHER, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
The Public Museum Capital Grants Program is designed to help public museums in Illinois expand and upgrade facilities and create new exhibits and other physical facilities to enhance public museums' abilities to meet their mission.​ Applicant Eligibility Museum Grants are available to non-profit public museums that meet the following criteria: Must have been open to the public, for its instruction and enjoyment, for at least two years Must be operated by or located upon land or owned by a unit of local government or certified as a public museum Must meet professional standards of the appropriate accreditation program Must have a professional staff Must care for and own or utilize tangible options and present programs and exhibits Must be open to the public on a regular schedule and must collect and maintain auditable attendance data For more information go to https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/grants/Pages/Museum-Capital-Grants.aspx

Tags:  grants 

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AAM's and Wilkening Consulting's 2020 Annual Survey of Museum-Goers

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 21, 2020
Need to benchmark YOUR audience? Then join AAM's and Wilkening Consulting's 2020 Annual Survey of Museum-Goers! Consider how useful it would be to know how your museum's stakeholders feel about your museum, lifelong learning in museums, and more. By enrolling your museum in the 2020 Annual Survey of Museum Goers, you can easily benchmark the visitation rates, motivations, attitudes and preferences, and demographics of your stakeholders. Additionally, you can compare your results to your peers, begin to track them over time, and gain far more contextual information through your custom results and report. The fee for 2020 is only $1,000 per museum. https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4937335/2020-Annual-Survey-of-Museum-Goers-Enrollment

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Apply for an AASLH Award!

Posted By KELLY KLOBUCHER, Thursday, February 6, 2020
Now is the time to put together your application for a national award from American Association of State and Local History (AASLH). If your museum has completed a project that transforms your institution, if your project is ground-breaking and phenomenal, if your project allows your museum to reach new and underserved communities, you could be handed a meaningful national award in Las Vegas in September. Here’s what you need to pull together: • Budget information for the project and your institution • Letters of critical review (from people not associated with your project who can provide feedback on why the work is exceptional) • Resumes of key people involved in the project • Photos of your exhibit or project • Evaluation data for the project (surveys, letters, feedback, etc.) • Text from exhibit panels and labels • Marketing materials or handouts used in the project • News coverage of your project Here’s how to get started: https://aaslh.org/programs/leadership-in-history-awards/ Illinois Museums do fantastic work and we should be recognized for these achievements. If you have questions about the process contact: Lance Tawzer AASLH Awards State Captain Lance.tawzer@illinois.gov

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