Did you know that museums – as part of the arts sector – are vital to our economic, social, and personal well-being?
This #GivingTuesday, here’s three reasons that you should become a Friend of the Kentucky Museum.
Museums are Good for Well-Being
Several studies have shown the personal and communal benefits of visiting museums. These include studies by…
- Norwegian University for Science and Technology, and another by the California Academy of Sciences, which found that visiting museums helps lower the risk of anxiety and depression.
- London School of Economics, which found that frequent museum visits increase your well-being to the same degree as making an additional $5,301 per year, which is a greater impact than that found in playing a sport.
- American for the Arts, which found that 72% of people believe the arts unify our communities and help them understand other cultures better.
- University of Pennsylvania, which found that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates.
- The National initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, which found military servicemembers and Veterans rank creative arts therapies – including museum visits – in the Top 4 (out of 40) interventions and treatments for the mental, physical, and moral injuries of war.
Our Economy Depends on Arts
Data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and National Endowment for the Arts showed that in 2015, the arts and cultural sector contributed over $763 billion to the economy—roughly 42% of the overall U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is separate from what is contributed by the travel and tourism industry, confirming that the arts are an integral industry in the U.S.
In Kentucky, the arts sector added $4.7 billion to the state’s economy and employs over 51,000 people. Out of the 18 rural states in the U.S., Kentucky ranked 5th in value added by the arts to the economy—making us a major player for rural communities.
Employers Love It
Most U.S. employers (97%) say creativity is increasingly important to them. Eighty-five (85%) percent of employers looking to hire creative people say they are unable to find the applicants they seek.
The Kentucky Museum provides vital applied learning opportunities for WKU students. As an on-campus employer, our students become docents, interns, and graduate assistants who get to experience the day-to-day work of museums, receive mentorship from our staff, and explore how their passions can turn into successful careers. Additionally, through Close Study sessions and K-12 tours, students get hands-on engagement with collections and learn fascinating stories about how Kentuckians have shaped – and been shaped by – the world. Instilling this passion for curious exploration, and showcasing professional opportunities that require creativity, is key to creating the next generation of our workforce.
Your Gift Makes a Difference
Did you know that the Kentucky Museum’s exhibits and programs receive no funding from WKU?
In 2018-19, our members raised over $14,000 to support our exhibitions, programs, and collections care needs. These gifts helped us…
- Purchase a new computer for collections digitization.
- Purchase materials for our Student FunShops, ensuring this program remains free to all WKU students as an artistic and recreational program.
- Purchase new pedestals for our art exhibitions, to replace deteriorating stands.
- Make repairs to the Felts House caused by squirrels and weather.
- Purchase supplies for exhibits not covered by sponsors or grants.
- Attend the Alliance of Academic Museums and Galleries conference, the premiere professional development and networking opportunity for museums like ours.
Such support has been vital to continuing our efforts across the museum. Digitizing and FunShops spread awareness of our collections and exhibits, while new pedestals help display priceless artifacts in the setting they deserve. Additionally, Friends support helps us meet unexpected expenses – such as emergency repairs to our beloved Felts Log Cabin (one of the first pioneer residences in Kentucky). Finally, Friends support our professional development—which enables us to discuss issues and solutions, brainstorm new programs, and further our strategic goals in service to you and our community.
Simply put, we could not continue operating without Friends support.