Washington DC February 28 and March 1 2017.
I recently attended the advocacy day for museums in Washington DC. This is my fourth year attending and it was a great experience yet again. With the challenging times and budget concerns of our country it is crucial that we let our elected officials know how important museums are to their districts.
Sunday evening was a reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This was a beautiful evening and kickoff to the event. We celebrated our 5year “star” advocates (2 of which are from Ohio), and had a nice evening visiting a great exhibition on pop up books.
The first full day was a conference and time to meet with other people from my state. Here is the Ohio Team minus Chad and Johnna. Places represented are Massillon Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cleveland Zoo, Akron Zoo, Bedford Historical Society, Decorative Arts Center, Ohio Museums Association, and 3 different students.
Don Wildman, host from the travel channel’s Mystery at the Museum, was one of our speakers. He talked about how we tell our stories and share those stories with others.
We also heard from people at the NEA, NEH, IMLS and other museum professionals. Each had a compelling story and each shared tips on advocacy.
The Big Day: I started my morning in the Hart Senate Building for breakfast kickoff, the key note was representative Paul Tonko. Mr Tonko is the house rep (along with Senator Gilabrand) that is presenting a letter for Senators and Congress to sign in support of IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services).
We went to capitol Hill as a team speaking with each of our senator’s offices. Then we split up into districts to talk to our representatives. My days were filled with planning, discussions, shaking hands and walking. Did I mention Walking? The senate buildings are on the North side of the Capitol Building and the House officers are on the South Side. I started in Senator Browns office then it was to congressman Chabot’s office in Rayburn, then to Congressman Stivers’ office in Longworth, Back to Rayburn to see Congressman Wenstrup, Senator Portman’s office at 5:00 and then to the Library of Congress at 5:30.
All of my meetings were very good. I was able to speak at length about our issues and get the message to the offices. I met with Senator Brown’s Chief of Staff Sarah Sutherland, Staff in Steve Chabot’s and Brad Wenstrup’s, Mark Gillibrandt and Congressman Stivers, as well as staff from Senator Portman’s office.
If you would like to know how you can help please look over the following issues at a glance that AAM gave to us. I will give you a hint. This came from Sarah Sutherland, Senator Brown’s Chief of Staff. Send letters and emails. Voice mails are back logged and they don’t have a way to translate voicemails without typing each one up. They really do count how many times they hear about issues. Know where your rep offices are here in Ohio and stop in, make an appointment, send a letter. Let them know how museums have changed your life!
-Trisha Clifford-Sprouse, Education Director and Co-Director