Museum Studies at Tufts University

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Tag: future of museums (page 1 of 2)

Looking Forward: Preservation in New England in the Twenty-First Century

Very interesting-looking symposium being hosted by Historic New England – let us know if you’re going to register, and we can figure out a carpooling arrangement!

Looking Forward: Preservation in New England in the Twenty-First Century

Saturday, October 1
Roger Williams University
Bristol, Rhode Island

Join a new generation of preservationists as they articulate a vision for what is to be preserved in New England in the twenty-first century. Graduate students from the nation’s top preservation and public history programs explore topics in three different areas: evaluation, assessment, and interpretation; integrity and treatment; and advocacy and activism.

This symposium, the first of its kind, is sponsored by Historic New England in partnership with Roger Williams University. Having recently celebrated its centennial, Historic New England is committed to creating dialogue around the next hundred years of preservation in the region.

State and National Parks in Trouble

Last week, I posted a roundup of great On Point episodes about museums, and last week they had one to add to the list:

National and State Parks at the Crossroads

Nonprofits Losting Tax Exemption

Quick post of an article that caught my eye from the recent newsletter from the Center for the Future of Museums:

275,000 Groups Lose Tax Exemptions After Failing to File Paperwork With IRS

The CFM estimates that’s about 1,000 museums. Some of those museums, of course, haven’t existed for years. You can actually see the full list here. (There are at least five or six museums in Massachusetts, for example.) Organizations were given three years to comply with the new regulations, so you can’t really argue that this was a surprise.

For some of the nonprofits that are still active, and didn’t get their paperwork together, this could be a devastating blow. They’ll be allowed to re-apply for charity status, but not all of them will make it.

Is this kind of accountability a good thing? I’m not sure the IRS is going to recoup vast amounts of taxes from this exercise, and you could argue that targeting nonprofits, who don’t always have the resources to hire tax lawyers and accountants, isn’t entirely fair. Especially since big corporations, who are in theory taxed at as much as 35%, often find all sorts of loopholes, and in the end pay less in income tax than anywhere else in the world. In fact, lost of them don’t pay taxes at all.

One of the AAM advocacy points is the argument that museums actually can be economic boosters in their neighborhoods. Cultural centers often are – see this great report from NPR about an arts center in Omaha, Nebraska, that’s bringing $100 million to its neighborhood.

No real conclusions, here, just lots of questions and things to consider – which is exactly what one hopes for from a newsletter about the future of museums.

PS – if you’re not on the mailing list for the CFM, you’re missing out. Go, run, and sign up.

Happy (?) Museums Advocacy Day!

If you haven’t been following the AAM’s Facebook feed – or any of their other communication methods – you might not know that today and tomorrow are designated as Museum Advocacy Days. The AAM, through its website Speak Up For Museums, is promoting a number of ways to get in touch with your local representatives and make a case for why museums are vital in their communities.

There will be a number of events down in Washington, D.C., but for us students who might not have the resources to jet down there to participate in the workshops, what can be done at home?


- You can catch up on your reading by leafing through the AAM’s Advocacy Materials website – it’s a great collection of PDFs with highlights of the how and why of advocating for museums.

- You can watch the archived webinar about museum advocacy that the AAM did a few months ago. (And read our own Kris Bierfelt’s highlights overview if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing.)

- You can also watch the live feed of the programming in Washington, D.C. through the AAM’s website here.

Come on back tomorrow, and we’ll have even more ways you can participate in standing up for museums.

Museums and Historic Preservation in FY 2012

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is live-blogging their analysis of President Obama’s proposed budget for next year. They’ll be updating throughout the day as they discuss areas of the budget that relate to historic preservation and public funding for the arts. If you want to do your own research, there’s an interactive breakdown of the budget on the White House website.

For those who have been following the buzz about the budget through other news sources, this budget is an attempt to drastically scale back federal spending in the face of an escalating deficit. Not twenty minutes ago on NPR I heard what seemed like a good summary of where it will go next: essentially, Democrats think it’s way over the top and Republicans think it doesn’t go far enough. Which is to say, this document is still due for a lot of debate and revision.

Either way things shape up, it probably doesn’t look good for federal funding for museums. We’ll be posting wrap-ups this week, as well as some interesting thinking about new business models for museums. The future isn’t looking so bright for the traditional public money dependence that got a lot of museums through the 20th century.

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