Action Alert from Association of Science and Technology Centers

Via Association of Science and Technology Centers:

Here are a few key messages that members of ASTC and the American Alliance of Museums have been using in advocacy efforts related to the COVID-19 response.

  • Science and technology centers, as well as other museums and science-engagement institutions are among the many “hard-hit” industries facing immediate impacts—facing extreme revenue loss that will result in widespread furloughs and layoffs.
  • We have temporarily closed so that our institution can comply with and model responsible social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and “flatten the curve.”
  • Nationwide, museums are losing at least $33 million a day due to closures. Institutions like ours are heavily dependent on earned revenue—which includes admission revenue, education and program fees, memberships, and facilities rentals—to deliver on our mission.
  • Nonprofit museums are 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.
  • Despite these threats, science centers and museums are rising to the occasion and engaging their communities by educating them about COVID-19, convening conversations between the public and experts, providing virtual exhibitions and online learning opportunities, putting together “drop-off” learning kits for teachers and parents, maintaining outdoor spaces to provide quiet places to relieve stress during this time of high anxiety, and supporting the families of health care workers and first responders with child care and meals.Museums are economic engines—they contribute $50 billion a year to the U.S. economy and generate $12 billion in tax revenue to local, state, and Federal governments (source).
  • They are also vital local sources of employment, supporting 726,000 jobs annually (source). Any relief that directly supports workers can offset personnel costs, which make up a significant proportion of the average museum’s operating budget.
  • Science and technology centers and museums are among the nation’s most trusted institutions, and play a leading role engaging the public in science, which is so important in situations that require evidence-based decisions, such as this pandemic.
  • Science centers and museums must be included in any economic stimulus relief to ensure that that community-based organizations like ours remain vibrant and able to resume their mission to engage, inspire, and increase public understanding of scientific issues and grow the number of students who are excited about pursuing STEM careers.

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