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U.S. Capitol, East Front
U.S. Capitol, East Front.
Photo courtesy Architect of the Capitol
ASTC's Office of Government and Public Relations represents the interests of ASTC members before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies that provide support to science centers and museums in the United States.

Periodically throughout the legislative year, ASTC releases Legislative Updates and Budget Overviews which offer detailed overviews of federal appropriations and legislation—both pending and completed—that may be of particular interest to ASTC members. The most recent Budget Overview is available here:

FY 2015 Budget Overview
(290 KB) | Need help?

As part of our public policy agenda, ASTC seeks to raise the profile of the field—and garner support for the aforementioned federal agencies and programs—by offering testimony before various congressional committees. Our most recent testimony can be found here:

Anthony (Bud) Rock Testimony submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, March 31, 2014
          (276 KB) | Need help?

Anthony (Bud) Rock Testimony submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, March 28, 2014
          (287 KB) | Need help?

In an effort to help ASTC members stay current on the wide variety of public sector programs in STEM worldwide that are potentially available to our science centers and museums, ASTC also publishes a series of electronic briefs entitled STEM Public Programs: Updates and Opportunities for Science Centers.

Federal agencies that support science centers and museums:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the U.S. government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. Composed of 27 Institutes and Centers, NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world. The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program at NIH is designed to improve life science literacy throughout the United States. SEPA grants bring together biomedical and behavioral researchers, educators, community groups, and other interested organizations in partnerships to create and disseminate programs that give K–12 students and teachers and the general public a better understanding of life sciences.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. The agency's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet the economic, social, and environmental needs of the United States.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
NSF is an independent Federal agency created "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense." NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields, such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing. The Informal Science Education (ISE) program, housed within NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), invests in projects that develop and implement informal learning experiences designed to increase interest, engagement, and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by individuals of all ages and backgrounds, as well as projects that advance knowledge and practice of informal science education.

The National Science Board provides oversight for, and establishes the policies of, NSF and serves as an independent body of advisors to the President and Congress on broad national policy issues related to science and engineering research and education.

United States Department of Education (ED)
ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. The agency is dedicated to: establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds; collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research; focusing attention on key educational issues; and prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

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