American Alliance of Museums calls for $4bn economic relief from Congress

Article: David Styles

As its members are said to be losing $33 million each day during the coronavirus shutdown, the American Alliance of Museums has written to leaders of Congress seeking $4 billion in emergency relief for non-profit cultural sites.

“We write to urge the U.S. Congress to include at least $4 billion for non-profit museums in COVID-19 economic relief legislation to provide emergency assistance,” the open letter states.

The Alliance says its members are losing at least $33 million per day due to closures and will be in “desperate need of significant federal support to maintain jobs, secure our cultural heritage, help to rebuild our nation’s tourism industry – and simply to survive the months to come”.

Citing economic impact data it compiled with Oxford Economics, the Alliance claims the ‘museum economy’ contributes $50 billion a year to the U.S. economy and generates $12 billion in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments.

Museums, the letter adds, are vital local sources of employment – supporting 726,000 jobs each year in the United States. The contributions made by museums to American education also amounts to $2 billion annually, the statistics claim.

“The destabilising effects of the current crisis place the future of these contributions to the U.S. economy and education system at great risk,” the memorandum asserts.

You can read the full letter addressed to senior politicians including Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, here.