News Release: MassMu Representatives to Advocate for Museums in Washington, D.C.

National Advocacy

Massillon Museum Executive Director Alexandra Nicholis Coon and Operations Officer Scot Phillips will participate in Museums Advocacy Day 2018 (February 26–27) in Washington, D.C. Joined by other museum leaders from Ohio, Coon and Phillips will be visiting members of Congress from the state to make the case for federal support of America’s museums. They will be among more than 300 museum professionals, students, board members, volunteers, and supporters from across the country participating in the tenth annual Museums Advocacy Day, organized by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Participants will benefit from a full day of meetings with officials from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the US Department of Education. They can attend sessions about the vital role of trustees in advocacy, public policy, Capitol Hill updates, state legislature updates, STEM funding, and leveraging the economic power of museums (travel and tourism in advocacy.

On Tuesday, February 27, after guided preparation for meeting effectively with legislators, museum advocates will present Congress with powerful research and stories on the economic, educational, and community impact museums make locally and nationally. Massillon Museum staff members are rising to the occasion to educate elected officials and inspire support for museums at a critical time—just as Congress begins its work for the year. 

Common issues of discussion in Museums Advocacy Day meetings relate to funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services—from which MassMu received a $125,000 grant to create the traveling exhibition, Imagining a Better World; the National Endowment for the Arts, which has provided funds to Massillon the past eleven years to facilitate the NEA Big Read; and the National Endowment for the Humanities, from which the Museum received its inaugural grant last year to facilitate research for the World War I exhibit in the summer of 2017. 

Museum professionals like Coon and Phillips will relay to members of Congress additional issues related to support of educational initiatives that allow for collaborations between museums and schools and tax incentives for charitable gifts made to museums.

In addition to discussing federal-level issues with Ohio’s Congressional delegation, Massillon Museum staff will take evidence of their institution’s educational and economic impact on the Massillon and Western Stark County community to share with members of Congress. AAM figures exemplify the importance of investing in museums:

  • Museums support more than 726,000 American jobs.
  • Museums contribute $50 billion to the U.S.economy each year.
  • Seventy-six percent of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities such as visiting museums. These travelers spend 60 percent more on average than other leisure travelers. 
  • The economic activity of museums generates more than $12 billion in tax revenue, one-third of it going to state and local governments. Each job created by the museum sector results in $16,495 in additional tax revenue.
  • For every direct job at a museum, an additional job is supported elsewhere in the economy. This is higher than many other industries.
  • Museums and other nonprofit cultural organizations return more than $5 in tax revenues for every they receive in funding from all levels of government.6Nearly all museums are nonprofit; more than one-third of their funding comes from charitable donations.

According to the American Alliance of Museums, there are more than 850 million museum visits annually in the U.S.—more than the attendance at all major league sporting events combined. 

Museums support 726,000 jobs nationwide, contribute more than $50 billion to the U.S. economy, and invest more than $2 billion in educational programs each year, serving Americans of all ages and income levels in a variety of ways. There are more than 55 million visits by school children to U.S. museums each year, and museums are among the most trusted sources of information for Americans. Another study found that for every $1 invested in museums and other cultural organizations, more than $5 is returned in tax revenues through cultural tourism and related economic activity. Coon and Phillips will be sharing these and other facts about museums with the Ohio Congressional delegation.

“Museums are essential to communities everywhere, as part of our educational infrastructure, as economic engines, and as community assets that improve the overall quality of life,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott. “We feel privileged that Ms. Coon and Mr. Phillips will be joining us in Washington for Museums Advocacy Day. Massillon Museum is doing extraordinary work in Stark County, and the members of Congress from Ohio need to hear from constituents about how the museum serves its community.”

The Massillon Museum is currently working for the third year with Congressman Bob Gibbs’s office to help collect student artwork for the Congressional Art Exhibit at the Capitol. "We are fortunate to have relationships with legislators at the local, state, and federal levels who are highly visible in our community, and supportive of arts and culture," Coon said.

Museums Advocacy Day 2018 is the prime opportunity for museums to make their case on Capitol Hill. Legislators need to hear about the vital role of museums in their community, and no one can communicate that message better than professionals from leading museums such as the Massillon Museum.  “The Massillon Museum receives a tremendous amount of support from our city government and state legislators. Participating in Advocacy Day affords us the opportunity to have a voice at the federal level, communicating to our elected officials the value museums bring to communities, and the justification for supporting them with federal dollars,” Coon said.

Museums Advocacy Day brings together the full range of the museum field to share a powerful message with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill about policy issues affecting museums and the ways museums impact their communities.  “This is the best opportunity as a united field to highlight the role of museums of all sizes and disciplines in the areas of education and economic impact, as well as our best opportunity to advocate for federal funding to support museums,” Coon said.


State Advocacy

In addition to the Massillon Museum’s effort in Washington D.C., the local institution will be represented at Ohio Statehood Day in Columbus on February 28.  Archivist Mandy Altimus Stahl and Guess Operations Associate Brandon Rohrer will collaborate with Museum professionals from across the state to advocate for Museum support from state legislators.

In commemoration of Ohio’s founding, a coalition of the state’s historical and cultural institutions organizes the annual event at the Ohio Statehouse to showcase the importance of Ohio’s history to state officials. Meeting with state representatives and senators builds an understanding of the impact of museums on Ohio’s economy, education, and cultural well-being.


About the Massillon Museum

The Massillon Museum, where art and history come together, is a center for cultural excitement in Northeastern Ohio.  Main gallery exhibitions rotate about six times a year. Visitors can always see permanent collections galleries, a photography gallery, The Immel Circus, the football gallery, and regional artwork in Studio M—all change regularly, though while under construction, some displays may not be on view.  In the lobby, guests find a café, and a unique shop.

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark. The Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. For more information, contact the Museum at 330.833.4061 or More details are also available at, and you can follow the event on Twitter at #MuseumsAdvocacy2018.


About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Massillon Museum Executive Director  -  330.833.4061 x111

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