Los Angeles–She may not look or sound like Jimmy Stewart, but Jessica Maria Alicea-Covarrubias is going to Washington.
Alicea-Covarrubias, Executive Director for Heritage Square Museum, and board member for the Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums, will travel to the nation’s capital February 27-28 to make the case for museums with California congressional delegation. She will be one of more than 300 museum professionals from across the country who will participate in Museums Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, an annual event orchestrated by the American Association of Museums (AAM).
According to Alicea-Covarrubias, she and her fellow amateur lobbyists will be exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution, that of petitioning the government about issues of concern.
“I am extremely anxious to get to Washington to let our elected leaders know how museums are vital to communities everywhere, and particularly right here in California,” said Alicea-Covarrubias. “Museums are essential elements in America’s educational infrastructure. They are economic engines, generating valuable tax dollars for local government coffers, and they are centers of lifelong learning. For these and many other reasons, museums merit strong federal support.”
Alicea-Covarrubias cited the many programs Heritage Square Museum brings to Southern California. Heritage Square, now a Historic Cultural Monument #1007 for the City of Los Angeles, is a living history museum dedicated to telling the story of the development of Southern California during its first 100 years of statehood. The eight magnificent, historic structures at the museum, rescued from demolition, tell this story like no place else. The museum offers a number of events, program, exhibits and community days throughout the year. Two of its better known programs are A Golden Vision: The Growth of Southern California, and Preservation through Practice.
A Golden Vision: The Growth of Southern California is a free program created by Heritage Square in 2006 that introduces 3rd-5th grade students to regional history in a fun, interactive way. This program is an opportunity to immerse students in the history, culture, and lifestyle of Los Angeles from the 1870s to the 1920s through inter-disciplinary activities, a classroom visit from a costumed museum educator, and participation in period activities during your site visit. Since 2006 this educational program has served more than 3,400 children.
Initially funded by the US Department of Labor, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and the Weingart Foundation, Heritage Square Museum’s program Preservation through Practice, recruits, teaches and trains military veterans, through hands-on preservation courses, to actively restore Los Angeles’ historic buildings.
This is emblematic of what museums contribute to communities nationally. According to AAM, museums invest more than $2 billion annually in education programs, and welcome some 55 million schoolchildren each year. And a study by the U.S. Council of Mayors reported that, for every tax dollar invested in museums, $7 is returned to local governments. Another study by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services found that museums ─ along with libraries ─ are the information sources most trusted by the American people.
Alicea-Covarrubias will be sharing these and other facts about museums with California federal representatives.
“In these times of tightening budgets, it is more important ever that museums share with Congress the value we bring to communities everywhere,” said Alicea-Covarrubias. “Every tax dollar invested in museums pays big dividends, in our education system, in generating economic growth and maintaining our economic competitiveness, and in our overall quality of life.”
Alicea-Covarrubias will be representing the Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM). An international organization, ALHFAM serves those involved in living historical farms, agricultural museums and outdoor museums of history and folk life. Since its founding in 1970, ALHFAM has been at the forefront of the growth and professionalization of the use of living history techniques in museum programs. ALHFAM 650 member institutions can be found across the United States and Canada and in many other countries.
“We are privileged that Alicea-Covarrubias will be joining us for Museums Advocacy Day,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “The work that the Heritage Square Museum and ALHFAM have done in over the years is extraordinary, and the Congressional delegation needs to hear about the critical contribution these organizations are making to the community.”
For more information about Museum Advocacy Day, visit the American Association of Museums website at http://www.speakupformuseums.org/home.htm.
For more information about the Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), visit http://www.alhfam.org/.
Heritage Square Museum offers tours, exhibits, program and events throughout the year. The museum is open regularly Friday through Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 6-12. The Museum is located at 3800 Homer Street, off the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway at Avenue 43, just north of downtown Los Angeles. For further information, visit our website at www.heritagesquare.org or on Facebook and Twitter #lahistorymuseum.