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Participants Sought for March Hearings on Museum Funding

posted by Christopher Howard — Jan 15, 2008

Avid museum goers, community leaders, museum professionals, and individuals who have encountered barriers to museum-going are encouraged to make their views known at one of three public hearings on the use of public funds for museums, announced Anne-Imelda Radice, director of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The institute is the primary source of federal funding for the nation’s museums and libraries.

“In order to fully understand the impact of public funds for museums, we must hear from interested members of the public on the use of taxpayers’ dollars for these cultural institutions,” Radice said.

IMLS is particularly interested in testimony from school coordinators, older people, special-needs groups, and directors of cultural tours. IMLS would also like to hear from leaders who can speak about the use of public funds for cultural purposes based on their understanding of county, state, and federal budgets and their experiences with any and all kinds of museums, including art, history, natural history, and children’s museums, as well as planetariums, science centers, gardens, and zoos.

Hearings will be held at three locations in March:

March 10, 2008: Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio
March 12, 2008: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
March 14, 2008: Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California

Radice and members of the National Museum and Library Services Board will listen to both formal and informal testimony. With the testifiers’ permission, testimony will be recorded and used as part of a report on the public funding of museums that will be released in summer 2008.

The public hearings are the last in a series of IMLS’s information-gathering efforts designed to determine the sources and uses of public funds for museums. Also part of the effort is a rigorous examination by the Urban Institute, which, through a cooperative agreement with IMLS, has gathered information about public funding for museums through a national survey as well as through individual interviews with museum professionals and museum funders in selected states, in order to compare the impact of different funding mechanisms. All the information gathered, including the perspectives from the public, will be part of the IMLS report.

To participate in the public hearings, please contact Mamie Bittner or Celeste Colgan. For more information on the IMLS Museum Study, see www.imls.gov/news/2008/012208_bkg.shtm.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.