WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and 22 of his Senate colleagues today urged Senate leadership to provide emergency assistance to nonprofit museums in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Senators asked to direct $2 billion to nonprofit museums through the Institute of Museums and Library Services in the upcoming COVID-19 package.

The letter comes in the aftermath of a massive loss in revenue for museums due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study conducted by the American Alliance of Museums, museums are losing $33 million a day due to COVID-19 related closures. These closures are impacting workers, as museums employ 726,000 workers nationally, including over 14,000 in New Jersey.

“Without the help of the federal government, as many as 30% of museums, mostly in small and rural communities, will not reopen without significant additional emergency financial assistance,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter sent today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Museums are community anchors, and are pivotal to our nation’s ability to manage through the pandemic and recover. The COVID-19 pandemic has levied tremendous financial pressure on the country’s museums, and it is critical that Congress direct substantial additional federal relief for these institutions to weather this crisis and remain community bedrocks for years to come.”

The letter has the support of the American Alliance of Museums, which represents over 35,000 professionals, volunteers, and institutions in the sector.

This letter was also signed by Senators Van Hollen (D-MD), Brown (D-OH), Markey (D-MA ), Whitehouse (D- RI), Wyden (D- OR), Durbin (D-IL), Murphy (D-CT), Warren (D-MA), Duckworth (D-IL), Blumenthal (D- CT), Reed (D-RI), Gillibrand (D-NY), Menendez (D-NJ), Hirono (D-HI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kaine (D-VA), Udall (D-NM), Harris (D-CA), Feinstein (D-CA), Shaheen (D-NH), Cardin (D-MD), and Heinrich (D-NM)

Full text of the letter is available here.