A Small Museum Viewpoint

Some Aren’t Thankful

I have just read the latest post from the American Association of Museum’s (AAM) Center for the Future of Museums blog, titled “Should Museums be Thankful?” Their answer, in short, was “No!” Their lament is that federal government support for museums (ie, large museums) is likely to be reduced in the future. You can read their post here. Here is my response:

The federal tax deduction for charitable donations is irrelevant for most of the small museums I am familiar with. Their typical donor is giving $10 or $20 –  or maybe $50 a year. Their typical donor is the average American taxpayer, who takes the “standard deduction” on their income tax return rather than itemizing, and thus receives no tax benefit from a charitable contribution. The charitable-donation deduction only benefits wealthy individuals who itemize their deductions, and the comparatively well-funded largest museums in the country who are the recipients of these donations.

I find it ironic that the “liberal” politicians – who are generally accused of wanting to “soak the rich to benefit the poor” – are in this instance the leading advocates of giving breaks to the wealthy and supporting large cultural institutions at the expense of everyone else. And I am surprised that an organization such as the AAM – which claims to represent ALL museums – is expending all its lobbying efforts on benefits which will aid only the privileged few.


November 29, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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