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Outreach and Advocacy - Action Alerts


Action Alert

August 22, 2017: National Center for Preservation Technology and Training Center (NCPTT) Threatened with a 15% Budget Reduction – Grants at Risk

Urgent – Please take action now!

The Administration's FY18 Budget Request for the National Park Service (NPS), a division of the Department of Interior, proposed major reductions or elimination of the Service's assistance grants to federal, state, and local agencies and nonprofits that assist with preserving the nation's heritage. In the House markup of the request, most of these reductions were rejected and the funding restored; however, the committee accepted a 15% reduction in the base budget of NCPTT, in Natchitoches, LA.

Unlike other NPS assistance programs, NCPTT’s grant funds are part of its base budget and, while a small federal investment, these assistance grants are critical. They are not replicated anywhere else, they play an out-sized role in the world of preservation technology, and they help to keep the US heritage community a world leader in conservation.  A 15% budget reduction will result in the elimination of NCPTT’s Preservation Technology and training Grants.

These NCPTT assistance grants serve the public by addressing historic preservation problems through innovative research, training, and information sharing. NCPTT awards grants within several overlapping areas, including archeology, architecture, collections management, engineering, historic landscapes and materiĀ­als conservation.  Learn more at: https://www.ncptt.nps.gov/blog/looking-back-on-the-ptt-grants-program/, and https://www.ncptt.nps.gov/blog/2017-ptt-grants-announced/.

Since 1994, the National Center has awarded grants in 43 states totaling more than $10.8 million in Federal funds. In the last five years, the Preservation Technology and Training (PTT) Grants program has awarded $1.9 million federal dollars that have leveraged and additional $1.1 million in non-federal dollars, resulting in more than $3 million value added research funds.   

At last report, the committee markup was to be in included in a proposed multi-agency omnibus to be acted on after the August recess, so the last opportunity to affect the language in the House will be over the next few weeks.  Please contact your representatives in Congress in support of NCPTT Preservation Technology and Training Grants.  Protest the proposed 15% budget reduction for NCPTT. 

Search tool to locate contact information for your Representative and Senators: www.votervoice.net/ARTSUSA/address.

Sample Email - Cut and Paste Text in Email to Send in Minutes: www.conservation-us.org/membership/current-members/outreach-and-advocacy/advocate-for-conservation/action-alerts/advocate-for-national-center-for-preservation-technology-and-training-center-(ncptt) – Note text in red is an area to personalize your email.

Sincerely,

Eryl Wentworth
AIC Executive Director 

Past Alerts

March 16, 2017: Contact your U.S. legislators today to support NEH, NEA

This morning, President Trump released a budget blueprint that calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS). This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies.

Immediate Action
 
• Use the National Humanities Alliance’s (NHA) online tool for crafting a message to your congressional representatives asking for their support to fund and save NEH and IMLS. The NHA template does not currently reference IMLS, please add IMLS in to your message. NHA is currently updating their advocacy tools located under the resource tab of their website. Here you will find fact sheets about NEH and can search for NEH grants in your state.
• Use the Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) online tool for crafting a message to your congressional representatives asking for their support to fund and save NEA.
• AAM’s “State Snapshots” tool allows you to see how much funding museums receive on a state-by-state basis to improve your case with your representative
• If you can devote the time to send three emails, AAM has an email template to send your congressional representatives a message in support of IMLS. Please update the message to include the elimination threat.
• You can send one email for all three agencies. However, multiple emails are a stronger message.

Even if you sent messages in our last campaign, before the threat was real, please send another round of emails. You can reuse a lot of your text from last time. If you have never responded to one of our advocacy alerts – now is the time!

Next Steps

• This year’s appropriations process is likely to last for several months. You will receive additional advocacy alerts from AIC over the next days and weeks. Please respond to the emails as soon as possible, even if it sounds similar to a past alert.
• Reach out to your network of colleagues, clients, and friends and ask them to send emails to their representatives.

The Appropriations Process

The President only proposes a budget. It is up to Congress through the appropriations process to determine what departments and agencies to fund and at what levels. The process for the 2018 budget will start with the Appropriations Committees and Subcommittee drafting legislation that sets funding levels for the NEH, NEA, IMLS, as well as other programs.

In the last several years, we have seen strong, bipartisan support on the Appropriations committee for the NEH including a $1.9 million increase in FY 2016 and increases proposed by both chambers for FY 2017.

It is critically important that this year’s draft appropriations bills in the House and Senate subcommittees provide adequate funding for humanities programs. Strong draft appropriations levels will put our priorities in a good position to counter the President’s budget blueprint.

We should be prepared for actions outside of the typical appropriations process such as blocking amendments that would cut or eliminate funding both in committee and on the floor. If, in contrast, one or both subcommittees do not provide funding for these priorities, we will need to be prepared to restore funding by amendment in subcommittee, committee, or on the floor.

Reports from the AAM and NHA Advocacy Days show that there is bipartisan support in Congress for NEH, NEA, and IMLS. We need to continue to show our Congressional Representatives that NEH, NEA, and IMLS are vital to our democracy and society.

February 22, 2017: Contact your U.S. legislators today to support NEH, NEA

Last Friday reports emerged that the Trump administration may soon propose eliminating both the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In response, 24 senators led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a bipartisan letter to President Trump in support of these agencies.

Please take a minute to email, mail, and/or call your Congressional representatives to urge them to support funding for these vital agencies. If your senator(s) signed the bipartisan letter, please thank them for their support. You can find out how much NEA and NEH funding comes back to museums in your state and use this information in your email/letter.

AAM has created an pre-filled email form to contact your U.S. representative or senator. Simply type in your address, add a few personal lines, and quickly send the email to your representatives. This is a very efficient and effective form of communication. You can also print the letter and mail it. Given the time constraints, I would recommend sending an email or sending both the email and print version – and if you have another few minutes, call your representatives now.

Once you take action, please send a copy of your email/letter to rseyler@conservation-us.org. We can use your words to enhance our advocacy efforts here in D.C. It is important to show our support today, before the budget proposal is unveiled.

January 20, 2017: The Road Ahead – Advocating for Collection Care in the Trump Administration 

I realize that it is disconcerting to find ourselves in a new political landscape. Now more than ever, it is important to make time to advocate for conservation and collection care. It is reported that the Trump Administration proposes to eliminate NEA and/or NEH. As alarming as this is, it is important to remember that it is Congress that controls federal funding levels for NEA and NEH.

There are a few steps that each of us can take to help AIC strengthen our advocacy efforts.

  • Take the time to respond to AIC Advocacy Alerts. AIC will continue to monitor the situation and notify members when it is important for you to contact your congressional representatives. It only takes a few minutes, and draft language is provided. In past years, we have tried to limit the number of these requests. I hope that you will understand that in the coming months we will be contacting you more often with these important requests.
  • Assist the collecting institutions or private labs with which you work to arrange an invitation to your congressional representatives and their district staff members for an informational tour. Creating and fostering these connections independently of any advocacy efforts will strengthen your voice when advocacy is needed. The American Alliance of Museums has compiled an advocacy tool kit that includes a step-by-step guide on to how to be an effective local advocate.
  • Consider attending an Advocacy Day organized by one of AIC’s partners. Your knowledge and stories will greatly strengthen our efforts. No advocacy experience is needed; you will receive a day of training before your Hill appointments. For more information and to register:

AAM Museum Advocacy Day – Feb. 27-28, 2017 (Register by January 23. AAM has made a request for advocates from (AL, AR, ID, NE, NH, NM, UT, and WY and may extend the registration deadline for advocates from those states.)  AIC will award up to $400 in support of travel for one member from one of the under-represented states. Contact Ruth Seyler, rseyler@conservation-us.org.

NHA Advocacy Day – March 13-14, 2017 (Advocates from AK, AR, AL, CO, KS, KY, MS, NV, and OR are urgently needed). AIC will award up to $400 in support of travel costs for one member from one of the under-represented states. Contact Ruth Seyler, rseyler@conservation-us.org.

AFTA Arts Advocacy Day - March 20-21, 2017.

November 30, 2016: AIC’s Advocacy Outlook for 2017

AIC thanks you for taking the time to support our arts advocacy efforts. We need your support more than ever. The November elections have created a more uncertain landscape for federal funding for museums and other collecting institutions. Now is the time for all of us to expand our efforts to advocate on behalf of NEH, IMLS, and other federal funding programs that support museums, conservation, and the humanities.

While there is still considerable uncertainty, we believe the election results have created an increased risk of substantial cuts or possible elimination of NEH and NEA. The short-term outlook is still strong; Republican-led appropriations committees passed a modest increase for the NEH in FY2016 and proposed another for FY2017. We count a growing number of Republican allies in Congress and do not believe that humanities funding is, or should be, a partisan issue. Further, the incoming Trump Administration has also given no indication that they support efforts to defund or eliminate federal humanities programs, including NEH. However, it is important to recognize the long-term threats to funding and prepare to vigorously oppose any proposals that would harm  museums, conservation, and the humanities.

Appropriations Timeline

Since October 1, the government has been funded under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that is set to expire after December 9. Congressional leadership has indicated that when Congress reconvenes after Thanksgiving, they will take up another CR that will fund the government through March. The additional time will allow the incoming Trump Administration to shape appropriations for the final six months of FY 2017. Both Appropriations Committees provided increases for the NEH in draft FY2017 appropriations bills, and we will push for those increases to be included in any full-year appropriations bill.

At the same time, Congress must begin developing a budget and appropriations legislation for FY2018. In February, the Trump Administration will submit a budget request to Congress. Congress will hold hearings throughout the spring, introducing Congressional Budget Resolutions in mid-March, followed by draft appropriations legislation in each House, as normal. Through this process, we will be prepared to combat any proposals to decrease funding or eliminate the NEH.

How You and Your Organization Can Help: 

  • Be aware of and respond quickly to AIC action alerts. Remember it often only takes five minutes to draft a message to your representatives, but it is crucial to our efforts that you ask your representatives to support helpful legislation and reject harmful legislation.
  • Consider inviting your representatives and their district staff to your museum and/or lab. It helps to establish a connection with our representatives independent of asking for anything.
  • Consider attending an Advocacy Day of one of the organizations that AIC partners with for our advocacy efforts. If you can travel to Washington, DC, this winter, participating in an advocacy day greatly strengthens our efforts. No advocacy experience needed: you will receive a day of advocacy training before your Hill appointments. For more information and to register, please visit:
September 9, 2016: Express your support for IMLS

We received this important advocacy alert from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) today. Please take a few minutes to let your Congressional representatives know how important IMLS is to conservation, museums, and our cultural heritage.

Note: The links below will take you to the AAM website where you can use their template tools to quickly reach your representatives.

IMLS Reauthorization Introduced in Congress; Contact Senators Today!
Late last week, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced S. 3391, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2016, joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). This bipartisan legislation, which the Alliance worked with others to help craft, would reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services for six years and advance many of the Principles for IMLS Reauthorization endorsed by the museum field.

"The Museum and Library Services Act of 2016 will strengthen IMLS and enhance its ability to serve museums nationwide. Our field is lucky to have a supporter on Capitol Hill like Senator Jack Reed, and I’m grateful to him for working so closely with us on this proposal,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura L. Lott. “Now, this bill and the valuable improvements it contains need our help. With the congressional calendar running short, it is an especially important time to build momentum behind this legislation."

Ask your Senators to cosponsor the Museum and Library Services Act of 2016.

The legislation:

  • Formally authorizes a 21st Century Museum Professional Program, to improve the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of museum professionals, especially those from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Maintains the agency’s existing authority to support museum activities at both the state and regional level, while adding regional museum collaboration to its “Purpose” section, akin to how state museum collaboration is currently referenced.
  • Adds a new emphasis on ensuring that every American has access to high-quality museum experiences to the “Purpose” section.
  • Maintains and augments the agency’s research, data collection, and analysis about museums and libraries.
  • Establishes new reporting to ensure that the agency sufficiently collaborates with museum and library organizations at the national, regional, and state level on its research and data collection activities.
  • Includes additional federal entities on the list of potential interagency partnerships, allowing IMLS to expand its collaborative efforts with other agencies and magnify support for museums and libraries.
  • Updates the agency’s governance, so that it operates more closely in alignment with other federal cultural agencies.

Ask your Senators to cosponsor the Museum and Library Services Act of 2016. P.S. Debate continues in Congress on legislation needed to keep federal agencies operating past September 30. Negotiators and analysts continue to express optimism that a deal will be struck, but the clock is running out. See AAM’s most recent advocacy alert for more details on how programs that impact museums have fared so far during this year’s appropriations process.

September 14, 2016: Advocating for Conservation and Museums This Fall

As summer turns to Fall and Congress moves back into session, we are entering what could be an active time for Museum Advocacy, both before and after the November election.

While Congress has not yet enacted any of the 12 annual appropriations bills into law, the House and Senate have each completed some work on their Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding proposals. There may also be an upcoming vote on a stop-gap bill to keep the Federal Government Open.

The chart below compiled by AAM shows how the FY 2017 bills compare to FY 2016 current funding for some programs impacting museums:
 

 AGENCY/PROGRAM

 FY 2016 CURRENT

 FY 2017 HOUSE

 FY 2017 SENATE

 IMLS Office of Museum Services

 $31.3 million

 $31.3 million

 $31.9 million

 National Endowment for the Humanities

 $147.9 million

 $149.8 million

 $148.4 million

 National Endowment for the Arts

 $147.9 million

 $149.8 million

 $148.4 million

 NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning

 $62.5 million

 TBD

 $62.5 million

 Smithsonian Institution

 $840 million

 $863 million

 $860 million

 State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices

 $56.9 million

 $58.9 million

 $57.9 million

 Civil Rights Movement sites

 $8 million

 $11 million

 $10 million

 Save America’s Treasures

 unfunded

 $5 million

 unfunded

 National Park Service Operations

 $2.370 billion

 $2.435 billion

 $2.406 billion


Considering that the total allowable funding for FY 2017 domestic spending is essentially frozen at current levels, the numerous small increases for museum-related programs are an encouraging start. However, none of these totals have been finalized and they could all be altered significantly in year-end negotiations. Even if you have done so before, it would be helpful to let your legislators know where you stand on issues affecting museums and conservation. Visit the AAM website, where you will find many advocacy templates that you can personalize and use for this cause.

Get in touch with your representatives now to create a strong link and enhance the value of any future communications with them about legislation up for vote. Please be on the lookout for AIC advocacy alerts in the coming weeks. 

April 22, 2016: Stand with Conservation Professionals in France

In light of redefinition of conservation professions within the French government which would incorporate conservation professions with artisan/craftsperson professions, the AIC Board would like to share the following statement:

"The preservation of our shared cultural heritage depends on a corps of highly educated and trained professionals bound by a sound ethical philosophy. The AIC stands solidly behind our French conservation colleagues in their demand for official recognition of the critical skills, knowledge, and expertise—along with the extensive academic and experiential preparation—their profession requires."

Many prominent organizations have added their names to this petition and many colleagues in the conservation field have already signed on and helped raise awareness of this issue. If you would like to show your support, you can click below to sign a petition to support French conservators:

Sign the Petition

Sincerely,

Pamela Hatchfield
President
Board of Directors of the American Institute For Conservation

October 5, 2015: 

In a move harmful to the people of his state and to the preservation of its history and culture, Governor Bruce Rauner has closed the Illinois State Museum in Springfield and its four satellite institutions.  While trying to eliminate a budget deficit, this closure threatens income to the state from cultural tourism, deprives school children of educational opportunities, and impedes research into the natural and cultural heritage of Illinois.  In the long run, the closure of the Illinois State Museum threatens the security and future existence of the artifacts, records, and educational resources held in trust by the museum for the citizens of the state.

Please contact Governor Rauner to advocate for preservation of the cultural property held by the museum and for public access to its collections that allows for research and discovery. 

http://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx

Note – The above link will take you to a comments page managed by Governor Rauner’s office. While the state of IL is pre-selected you can change it to your state. The form asks you to pick from a list of issues. You would select “Closure of State Museums”.

March 9, 2015:
It is with great horror and sadness that we learn about the continuing destruction of mosques, shrines, churches, temples, historic sites, and cultural treasures in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. This senseless destruction is fueled by the misguided notion that we are not bound by a common humanity, empathy and intelligence. These heinous acts cause us to consider the critical importance of cultural heritage – it is our shared history, and the act of destroying it is an attempt to destroy the identities of not only the cultures and religions it represents, but also the rich diversity of the evolution of humankind. Even worse, the treasures not destroyed are being sold to finance the continuing efforts of ISIS. The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage at Nimrud, Mosul, Hatra, and elsewhere is considered cultural genocide. The current obliteration of heritage in Iraq has been described by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova as a war crime which cannot be tolerated. We call to action all the nations of the world who ratified the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict. http://www.archaeological.org/news/hca/3137

What can we do? Call your senators and members of congress and ask them to support the Hague Convention.

--Pam Hatchfield, AIC President


Funding for Conservation and Preservation Threatened – Act Now

As you may know, the budget battles have heated up and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are looking to make deep cuts to almost all programs.  While the President has called for deep cuts in NEH and NEA, for 2012 some Republicans are proposing amendments that would eliminate funding for these agencies and IMLS altogether. At the same time, Congress is gearing up for funding cuts within the Fiscal Year 2011 budget which is operating under a Continuing Resolution.

How to Respond
 

  • Please respond to as many of the action alerts listed below as possible.  It is more effective to send a separate email for each issue rather than combining topics.
     
  • It is OK to keep the emails your Members of Congress short and simple. Often they are just glanced at by staffers and a tally of mail for or against is created. However, this tally is a major part of what a Member of Congress bases his or her vote on.  However, if you have a relationship with your representatives (for example, you have met them or they have visited your museum or institution), be sure to mention that in the email.
     
  • Responding to an alert should only take 5 to 10 minutes. Please consider responding to them all. 

Congress Reaches Budget Deal: We Need Your Help!

As you know, President Obama and Congress have reached a budget agreement to fund the government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. Unfortunately, the budget pain was spread broadly across nearly every federal agency, including the Office of Museum Services within the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The bill passed in Congress this week. Funding for IMLS will fall from $265,869,000 in FY10 to just $237,393,262 in FY11. Funding for NEA will fall from $167,500,000 in FY10 to $155,000,000 in FY11. Funding for NEH remains uncertain for FY11, but President Obama's FY12 Budget proposes more than $21 million in cuts to that agency.

 Learn more about this buget cut >>

Arts Education Funding Cut in Two-Week Budget Fix

Although Congress quickly avoided a government shutdown this week, arts education funding somehow managed to get caught up in the two-week continuing resolution Band-Aid that was passed by both the House and Senate yesterday. While the Continuing Resolution (CR) keeps the government running for another two weeks, it also makes a $4 billion cut in domestic spending, including a number of federal education programs. Among the programs designated for cuts is the total elimination of funding for the Department of Education’s $40 million Arts in Education program.

 Learn more about this buget cut >>

Save America's Treasures

The President’s budget proposes elimination of this program for the second year in a row.  Funding for FY 2010 was $30,000,000, though only half that amount was available for competitive grants.   Elimination of the program was justified by saying that the program only contributes to “community and State-level historic preservation” and that funding needs to be “focused on nationwide historic preservation goals.”   This seems to reveal a misunderstanding of the program, which requires that successful projects demonstrate national significance.  Consider sending your representatives an email message supporting Save America’s Treasures. 

 Learn more about this buget cut >>

 Learn about past cuts to this program >>

 Send a message to Congress >>

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The agency’s budget is being reduced by 8.8%, covering support for both libraries and museums. The Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), managed by Heritage Preservation on behalf of IMLS, has been moved from having its own separate line item to residing within National Leadership Grants. The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) has also been moved. The budget for the other IMLS program of most direct relevance to collections care issues, Conservation Project Support, has been reduced by 10%. Please click on the link below for more information. Consider sending your representatives an email message supporting IMLS and encouraging them to vote against proposed amendment for FY 2011 or 2012 that reduces funding for IMLS.

 Learn more about this budget cut >>

House Appropriations Letter Supporting the Offices of Museum Services
Once again in conjunction with Museums Advocacy Day, U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter in the U.S. House of Representatives encouraging Members of Congress to join their bipartisan letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging $35 million for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

 Learn more about this budget cut >>

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

The President has proposed a $22 million cut for 2012.  Please take a few minutes to ask your elected representatives to support continued funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and to urge them to vote against any amendment proposed to restrict NEH funding for either FY 2011 or 2012.  Click the link below for more information and to compose a quick message to your representative urging them to support NEH.

 Send a message to Congress >>

Quick Links


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