ASTC joined with fellow museums associations to request increased funding for the Federal programs that support our field in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget, which begins on October 1, 2022. The public witness testimony was submitted to subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees that are currently at work developing the budgets for agencies within their jurisdiction.
ASTC and the other associations asked for increased funding for the federal programs that traditionally offer grants to museums, stressed the need for programs to include support for informal learning, and explained the important role that museums play in advancing local and national priorities.
ASTC was joined by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), and Association of Science Museum Directors (ASMD) on public witness testimony submitted to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies—which has oversight for the budgets of the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- For NSF, our testimony requested at least $74.5 million for NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program; called for increases in the NSF research directorates that support museum research, collections, and programs; and lifted up the continued analysis and refinement of the broader impacts criterion on which all NSF proposals are evaluated.
- For NASA, our testimony requested at least $130 million for the Office of STEM Engagement including at least $15 million for the Teams Engaging Affiliate Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) program, and at least $47 million for the Science Activation program in the Science Mission Directorate.
- For NOAA, our testimony requested at least $35 million for the Office of Education, which includes the Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program and Environmental Literacy grants.
ACM and ASMD also joined ASTC on outside witness testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies—whose jurisdiction includes the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Education. AAM submitted its own testimony on behalf of the broader museum community about funding for IMLS.
- For NIH, our testimony requested at least $21 million for the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) based at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
- For IMLS, our testimony requested at least $54.5 million for the Office of Museum Services at IMLS and include funding to explore establishing a roadmap to strengthen the structural support for a museum Grants to States program, which would provide a mechanism for IMLS to rapidly deploy resources for addressing state-defined needs.
- For the U.S. Department of Education, our testimony stressed the need to complement existing support to schools and school systems with concurrent support for out-of-school learning including summer, afterschool, and informal education. We also requested a $500 million increase for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, bringing the budget to $1.789 billion.
We encourage the broader science center and museum community to lift up these requests in interactions that you may have with Members of Congress and their staff.