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CEO DATELINE – Many museum closures could be permanent, association warns Congress

Feb. 23, 2021
By Kathryn Walson

Without continued aid, one-third of museums could close permanently within the next year, leading to the loss of 12,000 museums and 124,000 jobs, according to the American Alliance of Museums. 

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More than 600 museum advocates entreated lawmakers Tuesday—during AAM’s virtual advocacy day—to continue to provide federal funding for museums that face the risk of permanent closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The participants presented “powerful research and stories on the economic, educational and community impact museums make locally and nationally and how they are vital to our nation’s recovery,” according to a statement on AAM’s website.

“The pandemic has provided an overdue wake-up call for Congress and decision-makers who haven’t always understood the business models, or value, of museums,” AAM CEO Laura Lott said in the statement. “While the museum field received record levels of support from the federal government in the past 12 months, the funding provided only temporary relief. Museum recovery will take years and without a sustained Congressional lifeline, I fear that many museums will be lost forever.”

AAM is also urging Congress to facilitate donations by allowing taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions regardless of whether they itemize.