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News & Press: Advocacy

August Advocacy

Wednesday, August 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Carl Aldrich
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by Kaia Landon


I have a confession to make: advocacy is hard for me. Perhaps this is not what you want to hear from UMA’s Vice President of Fundraising and Advocacy. But I value my honesty, and I hope you do too.  

On a regular basis, we, AAM, AASLH, Utah Humanities, and the list goes on, plead with you to write or call your congressman or senator to protest the newest out of Washington, slicing and dicing the budgets for NEH, NEA, IMLS, NHS, and so forth. Some part of me hopes that someday, after receiving hundreds of calls from museum professionals and our culture-loving friends, one of the men we’ve sent to D.C. will realize that, in fact, his constituents DO care about arts and culture and science. It may not be today, but someday. And that’s why we pass along the suggestions to contact your legislators on these important national issues. Not because we believe it will create meaningful change in the short term, but because we continue to hope. 

But advocacy on a local level is much easier for me. I know how valuable my museum is in our community. I know the impact we have. I know the priorities and concerns of my local government officials. I know they’re listening when I speak with them, even if they disagree. (And they return my calls!)

So I’m here today to tell you this: if you’re not sure where to start, or just not convinced that your efforts are doing much good, start local. Even if you’re an old hand at this, I invite you to join with museums throughout the state in redoubling our advocacy efforts. In making the case for museums. 


Here at the Utah Museums Association, it is our goal to help you be a better advocate for your museum, and for museums in general. To that end, we’ve planned a fantastic lineup of posts throughout the year to help you do just that. Look for a blog post each month with specific, actionable tasks. 

This week, find out who your local elected officials are, both for yourself, and your museum. Make a list that includes the name and contact information for your mayor, city council, and council commissioners. 


Other August Advocacy Tasks:

  • Reach out to your local elected officials, and invite them to visit your museum. You can invite them individually, in smaller groups, or you could make an evening where you invite them all (and the press!). 
  • Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum
  • When your elected officials visit, be sure to get pictures! Pictures of them seeing exhibits! Pictures of them with board members! Pictures of them with staff! Make use of them on social media, in your annual report next time, your member newsletter, etc. 
  • Send a post-visit thank you note to your elected officials. Mention something upcoming they might enjoy. 
  • Add them, permanently, to your physical mailing list. Your local elected officials should get notices of exhibitions, special programs, your annual report, everything!

As you work your way through these tasks, I do want to ask a couple of favors of you:

  • Share what you’re doing with your board and/or governing authority.
  • Share what you’ve done with UMA! Email me at As part of our efforts to improve museum advocacy throughout the state, we’d like to track what you’re doing, and what you’re finding success with! (And maybe share your story.)

Kaia Landon is Director of the Brigham City Museum of Art and History and the Box Elder Museum of Natural History. She also serves as the Utah Museums Association Vice President of Fundraising and Advocacy. 

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