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Draft Survey for Museums Count Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Review

Friday, July 6, 2012


IMLS Press Contact
Mamie Bittner,

Museums Count to be the first national, Web-based census of the museum field.

Washington, DC—On July 2, 2012, a notice was published in the Federal Register announcing that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has submitted a proposed survey for Museums Count to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

In addition to making grants and providing policy advice, IMLS is responsible for identifying national needs for, and trends of, museum and library services funded by IMLS; reporting on the impact and effectiveness of programs conducted with funds made available by IMLS in addressing such needs; and identifying, and disseminating information on, the best practices of such programs.

"There is great power in good data," said Susan H. Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. "We know that museums make a significant impact on lifelong learning, cultural and civic engagement in the U.S. But without better information about the size and scope of the U.S. museum sector, we are at a great disadvantage in being able to assess its true impact."

Museums Count is intended to establish a comprehensive, reliable database about the size, distribution and scope of the museum sector in the U.S. Currently there is no source for museums, museum professionals, IMLS, policy makers, researchers, or the general public to access information about the characteristics of museums.

The IMLS definition of museum is broad and encompasses museums of all types and sizes, including aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children's/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.

To view the Federal Register notice and for information about submitting comments (due July 30, 2012) see

To view the proposed survey see

Related information: Museums Count Workshop: Data Definitions Expert Reviewers

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, we help communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit