24 U.S. Senators Request $2 Billion for Museums

On May 29, 24 senators from 16 states sent a letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) requesting at least $2 billion for museums in the next COVID-19 relief package. In the letter, they write:

“…we urge you to include at least $2 billion for the Institute for Museums and Library Services to administer for nonprofit museums in COVID-19 economic relief legislation to provide emergency assistance through the end of 2020.”

Significant Needs Remain

Museums across the U.S. still require dedicated Federal funds, as our sector’s needs were not adequately addressed in the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). Under the CARES Act, just $15 million is accessible to museums via competitive grants from IMLS. Many institutions could not access loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and those with PPP loans will soon run out of funds.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that reflects the priorities of House Democratic leadership for “phase four” of COVID-19 relief called the HEROES Act, or the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (H.R. 6800). Despite the support of 88 representatives for $6 billion for museums, the HEROES Act barely acknowledges the challenges faced by our community.

What You Can Do

All science and technology center and museum advocates should keep up the pressure with their Members of Congress to lift up our community’s needs. In the coming weeks, senators will deliberate on a “phase four” of Federal COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation. If your senator(s) signed onto this letter, reach out to thank them for their support.

In your communications, demonstrate the support of the business community with this letter from 143 Chambers of Commerce and incorporate talking points and data from ASTC’s COVID-19 Advocacy Toolkit.

Only by collective action can we ensure that science and technology centers and museums remain vibrant and are able to continue their mission to engage, inspire, and increase public understanding of scientific issues and grow the number of students who are excited about pursuing STEM careers.

Who Signed On


  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Kamala Harris (D-CA)


  • Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Christopher Murphy (D-CT)


  • Mazie Hirono (D-HI)


  • Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Richard Durbin (D-IL)


  • Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
  • Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)


  • Edward Markey (D-MA)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)


  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

New Hampshire

  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

New Jersey

  • Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

New Mexico

  • Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  • Tom Udall (D-NM)

New York

  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)


  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)


  • Ron Wyden (D-OR)


  • Robert Casey (D-PA)

Rhode Island

  • Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)


  • Tim Kaine (D-VA)
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