In these unprecedented and trying times, we are all faced with difficult decisions and concerns regarding the implications of COVID-19 to our museum community. In the interest of health and safety, NAAM encourages its members to review materials posted by the American Alliance of Museums at its “Health in the Workplace” page.
In an effort to learn how our colleagues are responding to these difficult times, NAAM conducted an informal survey to determine how many of our member museums remain open, and how many are closed. The information was collected by reviewing member museums' websites and social media channels. The data was updated on March 25, 2020, but is certain to change as the COVID-19 situation evolves, and as new restrictions are set by various federal, state, and local government agencies.
At this extraordinary time, we encourage you to use NAAM's Facebook group to discuss measures that your museums are taking in response to the crisis, and to share plans you may have for alternate access to your programs and collections (virtual tours, live streaming, social media channels, etc.) while doors are closed. To join the NAAM Facebook group, simply search National Association of Automobile Museums Private Group in the Facebook search bar, click join, and you will be added promptly.
We are off the road map, and surely in for a struggle. Please know that, now more than ever, NAAM is committed to its mission of sharing information, advice, and experience among automobile museums across the country. We will each be better when we work together.
Message from the American Alliance of Museums
Urge Your Legislators to Include Museums in COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus
The U.S. Congress is currently considering COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief and economic stimulus legislation, and likely will consider additional economic relief proposals in the future. The Alliance is engaged in this rapidly developing and fluid situation, including in coalition with our partners in the broader nonprofit community. Earlier this week, the Alliance joined a letter urging Congress to include museums, and other nonprofit organizations, in economic relief legislation.
Your legislators need to hear directly from you that they must include museums in COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus. They also need to hear specifically about how COVID-19 is affecting you and your museum and how your museum is helping impacted communities. Talking Points
Economic impact data compiled by AAM and Oxford Economics shows that museums contribute $50 billion a year to the US economy; support 726,000 jobs annually; and generate $12 billion in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments. Museums are economic engines and play an essential role in the nation's educational infrastructure, spending more than $2 billion a year on education. They are also community anchors, addressing challenges in times of crisis.
Museums of all sizes are experiencing closure, attendance drop-offs, canceled events, and possible or actual layoffs in certain areas. Declines in international and domestic tourism, declines in local attendance, and increases in social-distancing will have a devastating impact on the museum community which operates on thin margins of financial sustainability.
Currently, most museums are experiencing higher unanticipated costs related to increased sanitation labor and cleaning supplies to help prevent the virus' spread while maintaining operations. Many museums also may need to cope with costs of moving employees to remote work and there are field-wide concerns, especially about the lowest paid and hourly staff potentially being hit the hardest.
In addition to losses in earned revenue, museums are expecting lost charitable contributions as donors reassess their capacity to give due to the stock market's volatility.
Unfortunately, the Alliance expects hardships to be faced by an increasing number of museums in communities spread across the country in the months ahead, underscoring the need for museums to be included in any economic stimulus relief.
On a positive note, museums are the most trusted source of information in America, rated higher than local papers, nonprofit researchers, the US government, or academic researchers. Museums can take advantage of this high level of public trust to provide education on COVID-19 and fight misinformation about its spread. By empowering the public with the information they need to lower their risk of contracting or spreading disease, museums can help sustain healthy communities, maintain calm, and reduce the chances for an increase in discrimination or xenophobia often created by global diseases.
The Alliance will continue to inform and activate the museum community. Thank you for your advocacy.
Be safe and healthy.