Washington DC was cold and grim yesterday as hundreds of museum advocates visited the offices of senators and congressmen to encourage their support for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the charitable tax deduction. I had a short but very productive meeting with the staff in Congressman Van Hollen’s office, who has been a long-standing supporter of museums, libraries, and historic preservation, so despite the wet weather, my day felt great. I was also reminded how many other people are also promoting their causes and how easy it is for the value of museums and historic sites to get drowned out by others.
On Monday, we prepared for our visits with several solid briefings on IMLS and education policy, hearing some good news (the American Institute for Conservation will manage the Conservation Assessment Program, following the dissolution of Heritage Preservation) and some frustrating news (the recently adopted Every Student Succeeds Act restores history and civics to the curriculum but President Obama’s recently submitted budget eliminated the funding). Of course, it was really fun seeing colleagues from around the country and hearing about the interesting work they’re doing (l discovered Building Public Will for Arts and Culture, which is surprisingly similar to the History Relevance Campaign).
Thanks to the American Alliance of Museums for coordinating this event!