Letter Requesting a Study of the Status and Needs of American Museums.
[ Released June 21, 1967. Dated June 20, 1967 ]
Dear Mr. Ripley :
America's five thousand museums are among our most precious cultural and educational resources. Their collections, their trained staffs, and their facilities contribute immeasurably to the enrichment of the nation's life and to educational advancement at every level.
Not only do imaginative museum exhibits excite the curiosity of millions; many scholars--in science, in the arts and the humanities--rely upon museum collections for their raw material.
Attendance at U.S. museums has already passed 300,000,000 visits a year. In many places, inadequate museum budgets and facilities are under severe strain. In the future, the nation's museums will be expected to reach and serve additional millions. Accelerated research programs will cause more and more scholars to seek access to museum collections.
Our museums have shown their willingness to join with other institutions to promote the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." Certainly they should have the wherewithal to do that great work effectively.
For this reason, I am requesting the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities to study thoroughly the status of American museums and report to me. What is their present condition? What are the unmet needs of America's museums? What is their relation to other educational and cultural institutions? I hope that the Council will recommend ways to support and strengthen our museums.
The Federal Council is the appropriate body to consider the status of our museums. Its member agencies should provide all possible help to the Council as it performs its work.
I look forward to receiving the Council's recommendations.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[Honorable S. Dillon Ripley, Chairman, Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.]
Note: The text of the letter was made available to the press through the White House Press Office; it was not made public in the form of a White House press release.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter Requesting a Study of the Status and Needs of American Museums. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238300