Tomorrow, I get to go cast my vote in the U.S. Primary Election. The excitement in the air over this years election has had me thinking about what all this “change” might mean to me as a museum professional who is interested in technology.
My first stop was AAM’s Speak Up For Museums site (http://www.speakupformuseums.org) where I signed up for the Museum Advocacy Team. The site features lots of resources about AAM’s priorities for legislative action. For the most part these priorities have to do with encouraging continued support for funding museums at the Federal level, including support for proposals that support charitable giving and tax policies that support donations to museums. Here’s a few other organizations that offer information about advocating for museums:
- The American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) has an advocacy site that focuses on growing support for the Federal Formula Grants for Museums.
- The Association of Art Museum Directors Advocacy resources
- Society of American Archivists Position Statements and Resolutions
- Association of Science and Technology Centers - Government Relations
- Americans for the Arts Advocacy
- The College Art Association Advocacy site features numerous articles about advocating for museum support.
OK, so this is all good. We all could use some more cash in our collective pockets. Support for funding agencies such as IMLS, NEA, NEH, and the NSF is critical for all sorts of museum programs.
But this seems to ignore a broad set of other issues that are also important to our role as educational and cultural institutions – particularly the role of information technology in our ability to reach audiences in new ways. Who among us is advocating for broadband access to economically depressed and rural areas? How will funds from the sale of public airwaves will be distributed (Digital Promise)? Are we interested in doing more than talking about the future of copyright in the digital world? Who’s keeping tabs on how network neutrality will impact the delivery of museum content?
Are any of these issues even the most important ones for us to focus on? At the moment there seems to be a lack of resources in this area, so I’ve decided to perk up my antennae to find resources that might help us identify issues that impact museum technology.
- TechPresident offers information about where the different candidates stand on technology issues. They are also covering how the candidates are using the web to get their message out to voters.
- CNet is also offering Election 2008 coverage of technology issues
- The American Library Association (ALA) has a extremely useful site that features a broad range of resources for advocating for libraries. But the many toolkits and specific issues areas could easily be adapted for use by your museum. Be sure to stop by the Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) for hot topics related to
- Public Knowledge is a public interest group focusing on issues of copyright reform and the future of public access to important information resources.
This is only my first pass at this and look forward to identifying additional resources that can help us think about these issues in the next few months. I’m sure that many of you have additional local, state and national resources that I might not turn up. Feel free to post them here, but I’d also suggest using a tag like “museumAdvocacy” in your favorite social bookmarking tool and share the link here. Here’s the link to my pool of museumAdvocacy links on del.icio.us.