5 March 2013 ─ Lin Nelson-Mayson, director of the Goldstein Museum of Design, was honored at the 2013 Museums Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., Feb. 25th. The award recognized Nelson-Mayson's five years of service as a citizen-lobbyist, one of only 17 who participated in all five years of Museums Advocacy Day, an event organized by the American Alliance of Museums.
Nelson-Mayson has been a part of the concerted advocacy efforts for museums on Capitol Hill since the inception of Museums Advocacy Day in 2009. Over that time she has met with many members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation, recording a total of 39 visits to Congressional offices. Nelson-Mayson was presented the award at a reception at George Washington University in Washington.
Museums Advocacy Day brings museum professionals from across the country to Washington to make the case for America's museums on Capitol Hill. This year's event was Feb. 25-26. These citizen-advocates represent the breadth and scope of the museum field, coming from all types and sizes of museums, and this year representing 45 states. After a day of intense issue briefings on February 25th, the amateur lobbyists met with Members of Congress and their staffs throughout the day on February 26th.
"Lin has been at the vanguard of our Museums Advocacy Day efforts from the beginning," said Ford W. Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums. "The museum field needs leaders such as Lin, now more than ever. We must make Congress aware that museums bring tremendous value to communities everywhere. Certainly the Goldstein Museum of Design is a community anchor at the University of Minnesota and in the Twin Cities."
Among the facts Nelson-Mayson and her colleagues presented to Congress on Feb. 26th were:
• Museums invest more than $2 billion in education programs annually, serving Americans of all ages
• Museums welcome more than 90 million visits by schoolchildren each year
• Museums welcome more than 850 million visitors each year, more than all major league sporting events combined
• A study cited by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that, for every $1 municipalities invest in arts and culture organizations, including museums, $7 are returned to city coffers
• Museums are a major part of the $192 billion cultural tourism industry in the United States
In addition, the Minnesota advocates reported the following about the state's museums*:
• There are nearly 600 museums in the state, at least one in every county. The Twin Cities metro alone has more than 50.
• Minnesota museums attracted an estimated 14 million visitors in 2011. Compare that to 5.9 million attendees to Twins, Vikings, Lynx, Timberwolves, and Wild events COMBINED in 2011.
• In 2011, museums directly infused $337 million into Minnesota's economy. Including indirect impacts, museum wages and spending contributed $690 million to the state's economy.
• Minnesota's museums directly employ over 1,700 full and part time workers, paying $80 million in wages. Yet museums do more with less; the average museum in Minnesota has just two paid staff members.
• Volunteers in Minnesota's museums annually contribute an estimated 1.1 million hours of work to our state's cultural life.
• About 12% of all museum visitors are tourists, travelling over 50 miles. Tourists visiting museums contributed $53 million to the state's economy.
-American Alliance of Museums
*From a 2012 survey by the Minnesota Association of Museums in partnership with the University of Minnesota's Tourism Center