Advocacy: The Long Game

February 24, 2022 1:50 PM | Anonymous member
At my first Museums Advocacy Day in 2013, one of the presentations painted the big picture of what we were trying to achieve. They shared stories of groups that were focused on bringing about change, especially in Federal legislation. They talked about how daunting the goal was at the beginning but how a little at a time the group strategically chipped away at it until they found success. I have in my notes that the goal of Museums Advocacy Day was to “move the needle from nice to have to need to have.”

In thinking about that goal today, my initial response was that the needle hasn’t moved at all and it still feels like a daunting challenge to get more investment in museums. But, then I thought about how museums were included in the various pandemic relief packages. I don’t think we can say that museums are considered a core need for communities, but the fact that we were considered worth saving says something. And actually, I think it says a lot. This year marks the tenth time I am participating in Museums Advocacy Day, and I honestly can never remember thinking, “Wow, we are really making a difference” at any particular time. But clearly, we HAVE moved the needle.

On the state level, the development of the Cultural Advocacy Network of Michigan is one of the most exciting things I’ve done so far in my career. It is exciting to be joining with others in the state to help move the needle for arts and cultural organizations in Lansing. That seems quite daunting as well, but I know if we keep at it, the needle will move there too.

Lisa Craig Brisson
Executive Director

The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council

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