How National Funding Cuts Could Affect Local Museums

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President Trump’s proposed budget makes major slashes to national programs, two of them being the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

It’s cause for concern for local organizations that use those programs to help fund their revenue and build their resources.

“Those are incredible important organizations for us because across the country they help to network, research the information that we’ve learned, and on a local level, they provide the funding that can actually tell the local stories, preserve local collections and teach and educate people of all ages,” explained Donna Sack, President of Community Engagement and Audience at Naper Settlement.

Most affected by these cuts are museums and historical agencies like Naper Settlement and the DuPage Children’s Museum. Each are currently partially funded by these endowments and other grants that may be eliminated.

“Certainly cutting any of those programs would have a significant impact of the museum. Each of them have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to the development of exhibits and new programing ideas here at the museum,” added Sarah Orleans, President and CEO of the DuPage Children’s Museum.

While their budgets are made up of many parts, what’s more concerning than the dollars, are the missed opportunities that would come with grant cuts.

“We just received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to preserve and collect and produce and exhibit to tell the stories of our local Chinese and Indian communities. So if we were not to receive those grants, there would be projects that would lay on the cutting room floor,” said Sack.

And a loss of the grants could mean fewer chances for more dollars.

“In not getting those grants we lose what I call an ‘imprimatur.’ Getting a grant is difficult, really hard; you have to be doing good work. And when you get that grant it makes the rest of the fundraising easier,” added Orleans.

While Naperville’s organizations aren’t notified about the national budget, local legislatures are in contact with them to make informed budget decisions.

While President Trump’s budget lays out his priorities, Congress ultimately decides how to allocate funds.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.