The Ohio Museums Association is proud to organize our tenth annual Speak Up For Ohio Museums Day, October 4, 2021.
Advocacy is a crucial function for museums as a way of connecting to elected officials who make important funding decisions that affect our institutions. It is our responsibility as museum professionals to inform these officials of the ways in which our institutions enrich students’ educational experiences, provide important and engaging programs, and preserve the cultural heritage of our communities.
As a way of banding together our resources to voice the need for museums as a vital component to quality of life, the Ohio Museums Association has created Speak Up For Ohio Museums Day, to be held annually on the first Monday in October, during National Arts and Humanities Month.
Advocacy for Museums Matters!
When you make advocacy part of your normal operations, you are creating a win-win situation for both your museum and museums at-large. Issues that affect you as an institution affect institutions across the museum field. Engaging in regular advocacy means you will be in a better position to have a favorable impact on local, state, or federal policies that affect your museum.
Nearly every legislator in Congress represents at least one museum within their congressional district — museums are available to citizens and visitors across the country, serving as sources of education, and places of reflection, contemplation, and connection with others. Every elected official should be informed about the public services of the museums they represent. And they need to hear it from you!
There has never been a more important time to connect with your elected officials!
Advocating for your museum and museums across the state is not just an important act during election time — it is an essential mission all year to communicate with your elected officials, and the public, the importance of our institutions in our communities. Don’t wait until your museum’s future is on the ballot! Building a relationship now, based on an exchange of information, makes it easier to communicate with your legislators when the need for an “ask” arrives.
During this year’s Speak Up For Ohio Museums Day, OMA encourages Ohio institutions to explore the many advocacy resources available on the OMA Advocacy page. Speak Up For Ohio Museums Day on October 4 is the perfect time to spread the word about the importance of your museum and museums across the state - to your members, community, and elected officials – and encourage them to Speak Up about the crucial role of museums in our communities.
There are several ways you can participate:
Contact your local or state officials with news about your museum
Invite your elected officials them to an upcoming event at your museum
Schedule a virtual visit or virtual meeting with your elected officials and their office
Highlight how your museum has impacted your community -especially throughout the last 18 months
Follow up and share your outreach efforts with other museum professionals and members of your community
Highlight the impact of your advocacy through social media
Send a letter or email to legislators at the local, state, and federal level about a current issue with the potential to impact museums
OMA has also provided a template for a General Advocacy Letter that can be personalized and used to communicate with local, state and national legislators. This great letter has statewide museum facts, and easy fill-in-the-blank sections that allows you to easily share your museum’s information and statistics. A great way to introduce yourself and your museum, or to keep in contact with your elected officials!
Follow your local, state, and national elected officials on their – Facebook, Twitter and blogs!
Write an Economic and Educational Impact statement to highlight your museum’s impact on the community
These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg — there are so many ways you can help advocate for your museum, and we want to hear what you are doing at your institution! Send an email to [email protected] and tell us what advocacy efforts you are taking at your museum.
And, don’t forget to submit your museum’s photos and brief description of why your museum is vital to your community for OMA’s 2021 photostory by September 13!
Learn more about this year’s photostory and how to submit your information here.
We also encourage you to post your advocacy efforts, ideas and questions on our Facebook wall and on Twitter. Be sure to follow #SupportOhioMuseums on social media, and use the hashtag for all your Speak Up For Ohio Museums Day posts.
Keep watching OMA’s social media pages for more advocacy information and inspiration.