July 25, 2012
Dear Members of Maine Archives and Museums:
I am writing to invite you to participate in the American Association of Museums initiative called “Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum.” The main idea in our case is to invite the members of Maine’s congressional delegation, depending upon district, to visit your institution during the week of August 11 to 18. The purpose of the visit is not so much to give elected officials a platform for their views on related issues but rather to hear your story, see how you preserve and interpret key objects and other materials for the benefit of the public, and how your work and the work of your MAM-member colleagues makes Maine the special place it is.
In fact, MAM is strongly suggesting that interested members improve on the core AAM idea by extending invitations to their local state representatives and senators, as well as any candidates for any and all offices, state or national. It is those local folks, in particular, who need to hear your stories, and who are much more likely to be able to attend. Here are a few foundation ideas for you to build on:
- First, participating is entirely voluntary. How to participate is up to each institution.
- Second, MAM will provide you with a link to AAM’s guidelines and suggested materials (see below), but again, you may participate in any way you see fit. You do not need to use their prepared invitation, for example, but please use it, as revised to meet your needs, if that helps.
- Third, MAM asks that you let director, Erin Bishop, know if, how, and when you plan to participate. Please let her know by August 5. Erin will then publish the full schedule of member events on MAM's Web site, on Facebook, and via standard press release. Of course, you will want to do your own local publicity, too.
- Fourth, if your institution does participate in any way, we ask you to let Erin know which elected officials and candidates attended your event, and to send photos as well, if possible. This information and any photos will be posted as above, and will likely form the basis for an article in the next newsletter.
Here is the link to AAM’s suggested letter of invitation: http://www.congressweb.com/cweb2/index.cfm/siteid/AAM/action/TakeAction.Contact/lettergroupid/41.
Here is the link to AAM’s “How To” guide: http://www.speakupformuseums.org/invitecongresstovisit.htm.
Here is how to get in touch with Senators Snowe and Collins:
Here is how to get in touch with Representatives Michaud and Pingree:
Please check with your Democratic or Republican town or county contacts for the names and addresses of state senators, representatives, and candidates for those offices in your area. Don’t forget independent candidates, too.
Remember, AAM’s and MAM’s ideas/suggestions are just that. You and your institution are free to pursue this opportunity or not as you see fit, in any way you choose.
That said, I believe that Invite Congress to Your Museum week is an excellent example of how MAM and its members can work appropriately together to support, promote, and celebrate the great work you do.
P.S. You can reach Erin at (207) 400-6965, firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 46, Cumberland Center, Maine 04021.