March 2018

Museum Education Impacts: Advocacy 101

Guest Editors: Brooke DiGiovanni Evans and Meg Winikates

Readers of, and writers for, the Journal of Museum Education come from all over the world. In some countries, the case for state support for museums and related organizations is understood.  In others, it requires repeated efforts, clear arguments, and stories that stand out from the crowds of other advocates and their causes. In the United States, where national politics especially seems ever more divisive, museums have the advantage of being a topic on which nearly everyone agrees, regardless of party lines. Culture, heritage, and education are topics everyone says they support, whether or not they’re willing to fund them.

Museum professionals are comparatively new to the world of advocacy, and many avoid it for fear of running afoul of the rules governing lobbyists or from concern that they might threaten their organizations’ non-profit status. Fortunately, the majority of what you are likely to want to do: presenting your case with supporting evidence about a cause you care about, is considered advocacy. Only saying “and therefore we want you to vote this way” is lobbying, and saying it about a few bills in the course of a meeting or two over a year is not going to run afoul of the limits on lobbying placed on non-profits. The shorthand rule is that causes are safe, people are not. As long as you do not campaign for (or against) a particular candidate using your organization’s resources, your non-profit status is safe. Even once committed to doing advocacy, it can be daunting to think about where to start and how to make your case. This collection of articles from recent issues of the Journal of Museum Education is designed to help.

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Making Your Case

Year Article Title Authors
2010 What is Your Museum’s Economic Footprint Laureen Trainer
2014 Why Creativity: Articulating and Championing a Museums Social Mission Cindy Meyers Foley
2015 Don’t Let Your Message Die on Delivery! Laureen Trainer

Schools and Families

Year Article Title Authors
2016 Museum-University Partnerships Transform Teenagers’ Futures Sarah W. Rose
2014 Museums, Universities and Pre-Service Teachers Susan K. Nichols
2015 Building Connections: Strategies to Address Rurality and Accessibility Challenges Sara Hartman & Jennifer Hines-Bergmeier

Health and Wellness

Year Article Title Authors
2016 Health and Wellness in our Communities: The Impact of Museums Brooke DiGiovanni Evans, Heather Serrill Johnson & Carole Krucoff
2014 Museum Education and Art Therapy: Promoting Wellness in Older Adults Brooke Rosenblatt
2016 Museums and Health: A Case Study of Research and Practice at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan Andrew Ackerman

Veterans and Military

Year Article Title Authors
2016 Healing and Empowering Veterans in a Botanic Garden Barbara Kreski


Year Article Title Authors
2016 Engaging Children with Autism at Historic Sites: Developing an Audience Appropriate Curriculum Ansel Lurio
2016 Accommodating Blind Learners Helps All Learners Mary Ann Wojton, Joe Heimlich & Natalie Shaheen
2017 Supporting Transitions: Cultural Connections for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders Aliza Greenberg & Sheri Levinsky-Raskin

Climate and Environment

Year Article Title Authors
2016 Green History: Reframing Our Past to Save the Planet Andrew K. Jones
2014 Connecting Students Around the World Through a Collaborative Museum Education Program Katie L. Gillespie & Leah M. Melber

Race and Inclusion

Year Article Title Authors
2017 Doing the Work: A Discussion of Visioning and Realizing Racial Equality in Museums Radiah Harper & Keonna Hendrick
2017 Early Childhood Racial Identity: The Powerful Potential Role for Museum Programming Anna Forgerson Hindley & Julie Olsen Edwards