Joined by other museum leaders from Maryland, Hayes will be visiting Members of Congress from the state to make the case for federal support of America’s museums. He will be among more than 300 museum professionals from across the country participating in the fifth Museums Advocacy Day, organized by the American Alliance of Museums.
Hayes however, belies the image of the typical Washington lobbyist. “Today, political advocacy is perceived to be confined to well-heeled, well-connected lobbyists,” Hayes said, “but the founders felt it was essential that average citizens not only maintain the right to petition the government, but more important, to exercise it. The various petitions the colonies had put to the king of England are noted in the Declaration of Independence. And while we are not going that far, we are intent on making sure Congress knows about the vital work museums do, and their role as educational, economic and overall community assets.”
Hayes cited the programs Spaceflight Institute provides to Southern Maryland. “Beginning in 2001, we have been offering a series of educational programs and related services. These are designed to foster long-term interest in aerospace technology, communications, Information Technology, and related fields. Students of all ages have an opportunity to participate in activities that include:
· Spaceflight Institute™ Camp (Grades K - 9)
· Teacher Education Seminars (Grades K - 12)
· In‑school Programs
· Traveling Museum Program, Future Space Museum and Education/Visitor’
· Family Space Adventure
· Team Building (for students and professionals)
From June 2001 - December 2012, over 12,827 students and over 5,208 adults/teachers have participated in our formal/informal educational programs. These include in-school, summer camp, national conventions, local meetings, and NASA Programs.”
This is emblematic of the work museums of all types and sizes are doing nationally. According to the Alliance, there are more than 850 million museum visits annually in the U.S. – more than the attendance at all major league sporting events combined. Museums invest more than $2 billion in educational programs each year, serving Americans of all ages and income levels, in all 50 states. More than 55 million school children visit U.S. museums each year, and a study by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services found museums (and libraries) to be the most trusted sources of information for Americans.
Another study cited by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that for every $1 in public funds invested in museums and other cultural institutions, there is a $7 return to community coffers, through cultural tourism and related economic activity.
Hayes will be sharing these and other facts about museums with the Maryland Congressional delegation. “Museums are essential to communities everywhere, as parts of our educational infrastructure, as economic engines, and as community assets that improve the overall quality of life,” said Alliance president Ford W. Bell. “We feel privileged that Alan Hayes will be joining us in Washington for Museums Advocacy Day. The work Spaceflight Institute is doing in Southern Maryland is extraordinary, and the Members of Congress from Maryland need to hear about its contributions to their constituents.”
For more information on Spaceflight Institute, visit www.sfi-md.us. For more information on museums and their impact on communities nationally, visit www.aam-us.org.