Illinois Assoc. of Museums and NHPRC Funding threatened

This is a disturbing week in the archives and museum world.  Messages are out on the listservs asking for people to contact representatives and legislators on the state and federal levels due to two funding cuts threatening agencies which support our work providing history to the public.  I am writing today to ask the help of those who care.  Most urgent, because it has to be done by Wednesday March 19, is to contact your Federal Representative to stop the budget cut which will eliminate the National Historical Publications and  Records Commission.  This is the fourth year President Bush has tried to eliminate the NHPRC which provides grant and other support to those  making our historic public records available and to preserve them.  I will copy in a letter at the end of the blog for people to send via FAX or email.  The other budget cut which will directly and immediately affect the Park Forest Historical Society’s work, and the work of all other museums and societies in Illinois, is our Governor’s effort to cut funding to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.  We were earlier asked to write and request that three positions be restored to the budget.  One of those is held by Anthony Rubano, a Park Forest advocate who has spoken to the society twice on the history of Mid-Century Architecture.  He also brings tours from the School of the Art Institute  to teach  the importance of Park Forest in planning and design. Now we learn that he is also trying to cut $300,000 to fund the Illinois Association of Museums, headed by one employee.  The association is a lifeline to small societies and museums, and even to libraries throughout the state.  They offer small grants, a lending library, professional advice and referrals, affordable workshops, and an annual conference within the state.  IAM’s workshops and conference are  highly educational and affordable, and give the smaller institutions a chance to network.  Elimination of the Illinois Association of Museums would make Illinois the only state not to have a museum association.  I will also try to add a sample letter for saving IAM’s funding.  Please take the time to send these letters.  The Illinois Association of Museums has been an invaluable support to me while I established  the archive and the museum, and more importantly, they must be there for us as we try to establish a permanent home for the archval collection.  PFHS relies on them for information and services not available to us from other state agencies.  The face o f museums across the state will change without IAM’s support!

NHPRC  Send by March 19.

March 13, 2008

Save the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to ask you to join us in sending the attached letter to
Chairman Joe Serrano and Ranking Member Ralph Regula of the Financial
Services Appropriations Subcommittee to request that the Committee restore
funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission
(NHPRC).

Though it is a lesser-known program of the National Archives and Records
Administration, this program has played an essential role in preserving and
publishing important historical records that document American history.  The
NHPRC has an outstanding success record of using a small amount of federal
funds to leverage other contributions.  

Unfortunately, for the fourth year in a row, the Administration’s proposal
would eliminate the NHPRC.  We are asking the Committee to provide $10
million in grants plus $2 million in administrative support for the NHPRC,
for a total of $12 million in FY 2009.

For more information or to sign onto the letter, please contact Kate Roetzer
with Rep. David Price at 5-1784 or Peter Sperry with Rep. Phil English at
5-5406.  The deadline to sign the letter is Monday, March 17.

Dear Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Regula:

We are writing to urge the Subcommittee to maintain funding for the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in fiscal year (FY)
2009. 

Although it is a lesser known program of the National Archives and Records
Administration, the NHPRC is the only grant-making organization – public or
private – whose exclusive mission is to provide national leadership in
promoting the preservation and use of the materials of our documentary
heritage.  We believe these efforts are essential to understanding American
democracy, history, and culture. 

The NHPRC has funded hundreds of projects designed to preserve historical
records
Sincerely,

/s
/s

David Price
Phil English

Co-Chair
Co-Chair

Congressional Humanities Caucus
Congressional Humanities Caucus

To save the Illinois Association of Museums  and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency funding, act now!

 Your Name Your InstitutionAddressCity, Illinois   Zip March ___, 2008 The Honorable _______AddressCity, Illinois  Zip  Dear Senator/Representative ________: The Governor’s Office for Management and Budget has plans to cut the Illinois Historic Preservation agency budget for 2009 by $300,000.  If this happens, the Illinois Association of Museums will no longer funded and virtually cease to exist.  Illinois will then be the only state in the nation without such an association.  The Illinois Association of Museums provides critical support to the museum community, including conferences, workshops, publications, grants, scholarships, recognition for significant achievements in the field and on-site consultation.  IAM’s membership includes more than 500 museums and cultural institutions in every corner of the state, from the internationally acclaimed Field Museum in Chicago to the volunteer-run White County Museum in Carmi.  These institutions provide educational opportunities for Illinois’ citizens, employ thousands of residents, and are major contributors to the state economy.  In fact, museums are the number one reason why tourists visit Illinois and draw more visitors than all of the state’s major sporting events combined. It is troubling, then, to consider that in one year’s time, the Illinois Association of Museums may cease to exist.  When former IAM Executive Director Mary Turner retired in December 2007, that state reduced the IAM staff from two to one.  Now, the cuts proposed by the Governor’s Office for Management and Budget will eliminate the one remaining paid employee, as well as operational funds.  Without this funding, no one will remain to coordinate the efforts of the state’s diverse museum community; museum employees will lose the only statewide source for professional development; and Illinois’ citizens will lose an important advocate for preservation, education and cultural advancement.  I urge you to restore full funding for the IHPA, so that the Illinois Association of Museums can remain as a voice for Illinois’ museums and a force for positive change in the years ahead.   Sincerely,  Your name Your museum association/position