As state and local governments everywhere struggle with meeting community needs, it would be wise for elected officials not to overlook the immense contribution our museums make to the local economy. That is true here in Cayuga County, and that is why government should support the museums throughout the county.
Museums attract tourists, and cultural tourists are the stars of the travel industry, staying 53 percent longer and spending 36 percent more than other visitors. Museums also bolster our education system, investing more than $2 billion annually in education programs that positively impact our neighbors, of all ages and backgrounds.
Less tangibly but no less essential, museums enhance our quality of life. I know I take pride in the museums here in Cayuga County, and I think most of our fellow citizens share that view, and should share it with our elected leaders. Hundreds of museum leaders will be doing so in Congress Feb. 26 during Museums Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Locally, Hilary Ford, director of development for the Seward House Museum will be traveling to the Capitol to exercise a right embodied in the First Amendment. I urge readers who love our museums in Cayuga County to join our effort by visiting the American Alliance of Museums website (www.aam-us.org), where they can easily send a letter to Congress expressing their support for museums.
Museums are community anchors, and government at all levels needs to be made aware of their value.
Longyear is Town of Montezuma historian, History Coalition of Cayuga County (H3C)