How to Support Museums This Summer — and Always

woman looking at paintings in an art museum

Visit, engage, and donate to your local cultural organizations.

For museums, things are looking up compared to the bleak outlook in 2020, but they still need your support. Depending on location and government restrictions, some have recovered faster than others, but others, like in the V&A in London are still struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as detailed by a recent New York Times article.

Yet even for those museums who were able to open earlier than others, they are still faced with the challenge of rebuilding their audiences — audiences that they have loss touch with because of closures, staffing shortages, and shifts in consumer habits as a result of lockdowns.

[Read: 7 Ways to Help Cultural Institutions Survive COVID-19 Closures]

So what can you do as a patron? Well, lots. Here’s how you can support museums during their recovery:

Visit

Did you frequent your city’s museums before the pandemic, but have since gotten out of the habit? It’s easy to forget all the cultural options you have right in your backyard, especially when everyone was encouraged to stay indoors for so long. Get back out there. Many museums are open at regular hours and ready to welcome you with new programming and exhibits.

Become a Member

Memberships pay for themselves, especially when you consider the free admission and the various discounts that are included with membership. If you plan to visit even just one more time in the calendar year, the most museum memberships pay for themselves.

Often times they even come with other benefits outside of the museum, usable at the museum’s partners. For example, the Perot Museum of Science and Nature Premium Passport includes free entry to the Heard Natural Science Museum and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Notwithstanding, membership levels often come with exclusive perks for the patrons themselves, like tickets to galas and VIP events.

Donate

Many museums are nonprofit organizations, meaning that charitable donations are a win-win for both you and the organization. Not only can your donation be a tax deduction for you, but it’s also a main source of funding for organizations that rely heavily on the support of their patrons to keep operations up and running. Donations don’t have to come in the form of cash either. Many cultural institutions, like the Dallas Zoo, accept gifts of stocks and mutual funds, as well as other securities.

[Read: Impact by Design: Building a Better Online Donation Experience]

Volunteer

Due to the pandemic, many cultural organizations were forced to make cuts to their normal operations. Some galleries and wings are still closed on certain days due to staffing shortages. One way to help your local museum or cultural organization is to lend a hand. Volunteering lets you get a behind the scenes look at the ongoings of your favorite museums, while doing something good as well. Most museums welcome adults and youth (ages 13+) as well as larger groups. Consider volunteering with your work, too.

[Read: What Nonprofits Have Taught Us About Building Relationships]

Engage

Even if you can’t visit or volunteer right now, connect with your favorite museums on social. This way you’ll stay up-to-date on the latest news and exhibitions. It’s so important for these organizations to stay top of mind with their patrons, but without budgets for large advertising campaigns, often times the majority of marketing dollars get spent on lower cost platforms like social media and email. Sign up to stay in the loop or follow the museums on social media.

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