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ARLINGTON, VA (August 5, 2021)—The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) is proud to partner with Communities for Immunity, an unprecedented collaboration among museums and libraries to boost COVID-19 information and vaccine confidence in communities across the United States.
Communities for Immunity provides funding to museums, libraries, science centers, and other cultural institutions to enhance vaccine confidence where it matters most: at the local level. Building on the many ways they have supported their communities during the pandemic, the partnership will activate museums and libraries to create and deliver evidence-driven materials and develop resources, programs, and approaches specifically designed to help these institutions engage diverse audiences in vaccine confidence.
The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) are leading Communities for Immunity with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM). Museums and libraries will leverage resources and research available on vaccines and variants disseminated by IMLS’ research partnership with OCLC and Battelle, the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project. Communities for Immunity will further build on existing resources and efforts, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Vaccines & US: Cultural Organizations for Community Health initiative, as well efforts from the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and more.
“In the U.S. currently only children over the age of 12 are eligible for vaccination against COVID-19,” said Larry Hoffer, Interim Executive Director of ACM. “However, children’s museums can leverage their position as hubs in their communities to provide key information to parents and guardians of those children to empower them to make the safe choice regarding vaccination.”
In addition to ACM, organizations joining in the effort include the Association of African American Museums (AAAM), the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM), and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). This national coalition of partners are creating a Community of Practice to develop and refine vaccine education resources that will be shared with the broader museum and library community.
This important project launches at a critical moment as the United States is experiencing both a surge in COVID-19 cases related to dangerous new coronavirus variants and an urgent need to dramatically increase vaccination rates.
“Throughout the pandemic, our nation’s museums and libraries have supported their communities with critical educational and social services,” said Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. “As community pillars and trusted messengers, they are well-positioned to help build trust in and overcome hesitation to the COVID-19 vaccines.”
The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. With more than 460 members in 50 states and 19 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at www.childrensmuseums.org.
About the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)
Founded in 1973, ASTC is a network of nearly 700 science and technology centers and museums, and allied organizations, engaging more than 110 million people annually across North America and in almost 50 countries. With its members and partners, ASTC works towards a vision of increased understanding of—and engagement with—science and technology among all people. For more information, visit www.astc.org.
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 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 www.aam-us.org.
For more information on Communities for Immunity, visit communitiesforimmunity.org.
This post first appeared on Kidspace Children’s Museum’s blog on March 19, 2019.
By Michael Shanklin
Museums Advocacy Day 2019 took place February 25-26 in Washington, DC. A new Congress convened facing an enormous list of timely policy debates, including support for museums.
In the museum field, we must keep making our case. Beyond federal funding, museums are significantly impacted by tax reform, education policy, infrastructure legislation, and more. Legislators do not know how museums are impacted if they don’t hear directly from us—the museums and people they represent.
Kidspace CEO Michael Shanklin, along with many of our colleagues from AAM (American Alliance of Museums) and CAM (California Association of Museums), set out for Washington DC to advocate for our museums! He met with the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and six Members of Congress. We spoke with Michael after his trip to find out what this event means to him for the greater good of all museums across the country.
“As someone who has been to Washington, DC, a number of times on business and personal travel, I had never taken part in efforts to advocate on behalf of museums, zoos, and aquaria. After receiving excellent training from the American Alliance of Museums, 300+ advocates met with their elected officials where our individual and collective voices were heard. Congressional staff members were so excited to meet with us, receive our appreciation for their hard work, and hear our requests to support our field. It was exciting to take part in our national political system. While we all know we are not perfect, we still have an amazing process and it was meaningful to be a part of that process.
“There were a number of highlights that I experienced while taking part in the American Alliance of Museums’ Advocacy Day. The first was the California delegation met with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s legislative aide who was bright and enthusiastic. He expressed gratitude for our collective efforts to visit with their office and share our support for museums. He also asked us to keep his office updated on California legislation that impacts museums as the Senator often looks to the California State Legislature for positive bills that she might introduce at the federal level.
“Another exciting moment was when we went into the Capitol building to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s team. It was a very busy day on Capitol Hill and we did not have much time with her team, but they were clearly supportive of our efforts to advocate on behalf of museums across the nation. They shared that there was wonderful bipartisan support for museums.
“One final highlight was as I met with the eight California Congressional offices on my list, which involved eight miles of walking to and from offices, it was fun to see the pride of California represented in the various districts. I saw LA Dodgers logos, artwork from Californians, and local civic pride. It reminded me that our differences as United States citizens are what make us strong.” – Michael Shanklin, 2019
Are you inspired and wondering what you can do? Learn about advocating for museums here: YES, You Can Advocate!