Advocacy Alert: Oct. 8

Federal Government Shutdown Continues;
How Museums Are Faring

Oct. 8—Today marks the beginning of week two of the shameful federal government shutdown, and the American Alliance of Museums is reporting that museums have been significantly harmed while others are stepping up to help the communities they serve.

“The federal government shutdown continues to wreak havoc on many federally funded museums, and I call on Congress to pass a budget and end this disgraceful shutdown,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “For many museums, every day that they remain closed represents a financial and programmatic disaster and an irrevocable economic hardship for the communities they serve. The shutdown is not only disappointing many museum-goers and national park visitors, but also leaving many traveling exhibits in limbo, delaying important research, halting many contracts and grants, and causing revenue losses for the local businesses that serve museum visitors.”

The American Alliance of Museums is continuing to collect information on the impact of the federal government shutdown on museums, and is urging museums to send a one-week snapshot of how the shutdown has affected the museum’s finances, collections, programs, jobs, and attendance. Museums have a significant effect on local economies, and this type of impact data is especially important.

The Alliance also commends the vast majority of our member museums that remain open, many of which are accommodating a record number of visitors, providing a temporary venue for traveling exhibits, and welcoming displaced family and public events (such as weddings) that were originally scheduled to take place on federal property.

“I’m proud that so many of our member museums are finding ways to help their communities during this reckless federal government shutdown,” said Bell. “We are fortunate to have so many outstanding museums around the country and it is good to know that the public is newly rediscovering many of them while our national parks and federally funded museums are closed. When the Congress comes to its senses and re-opens the federal government, they need to thoroughly evaluate the economic hardship caused to communities because the national parks and federally funded museums were closed during this time, and make restitution to these communities.”

Bell added, “I encourage the public to review our entire list of member museums and continue visiting the many wonderful museums that remain open at this time.”