Museum Ban in U.S. House of Representatives Community Project Funding (Earmark) Guidance

The Oklahoma Museums Association Board of Directors appreciates the Oklahoma congressional leadership’s understanding of the value and economic vitality of Oklahoma’s 500+ museums to our state in the amount of approximately half a billion dollars annually. Furthermore, the board endorses the following American Alliance of Museums statement.

AAM Statement on Museum Ban in U.S. House of Representatives Community Project Funding (Earmark) Guidance

March 1, 2023  Arlington, VA – The American Alliance of Museums (AAM)—representing over 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, and museums of all types and sizes across the country—is outraged by the U.S. House Republican leadership and appropriators singling out museums as ineligible for Community Project Funding (also known as earmarks) in recently released guidance. Singling out museums is not only damaging to the standing and reputation of museums across the nation, it is an affront to the 96 percent of Americans who are in favor of funding support for museums.

Museum earmarks are used to serve critical needs in communities across the country including supporting K-12 education, funding energy efficient buildings to support the conservation of cultural heritage,  and increasing tourism and economic development – projects that are vital to communities’ health and vitality as they continue to emerge from the impacts of the pandemic.

Museums are economic engines, pumping more than $50 billion into the U.S. economy annually pre-pandemic, supporting over 726,000 American jobs, generating $12 billion in tax revenue, and spurring tourism from around the world. Nationally, museums spend more than $2 billion yearly on education activities, and the typical museum devotes 75% of its education budget to K-12 students. They are essential community infrastructure that have the support of 96 percent of Americans who think positively of their elected officials who take legislative action in support of museums.

This decision is devastating to communities across the country—rural to urban—who rely on the essential services museums provide and the massive educational and economic impact museums have locally and nationally.

AAM stands for the broad scope of the museum community. Museums are a robust and diverse cultural and business sector, including African American museums, aquariums, arboreta, art museums, botanic gardens, children’s museums, culturally-specific museums, historic sites, historical societies, history museums, maritime museums, military museums, natural history museums, planetariums, presidential libraries, public gardens, railway museums, science and technology centers, tribal museums, and zoos.