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Advertisment: Museum Day offers free gateway to city's historical, cultural legacy

Thao Votang
A replica front porch from the mid-1800s serves as one portion of the Great Grandma's Backyard section of the Republic of Texas Museum on East Anderson Lane.

Austin Museum Day allows thousands of guests to enter Austin museums, cultural centers and historical sites for no charge.

The annual event, which is Sunday this year, has been managed by Austin Museum Partnership since 1998.

Austin Museum Partnership, or AMP, "promotes and facilitates collaboration within the museum community for the benefit of our museums and the community at large."

As stated on its website (austinmuseums.org,) the group's purpose encompasses citywide events such as Austin Museum Day as well as networking and professional development for members.

This year, Elizabeth Hansen, Texas Archive of the Moving Image, joined Stephanie Jarvis, history professional, as steering committee co-chairs for AMP. Hansen hopes that "Austinites walk away from Austin Museum Day having enjoyed their educational experience, but also realizing that these organizations provide access to amazing collections and programs year-round."

Austin Museum Day brings tens of thousands of visitors to member sites. Jarvis says she hopes "that participating in the event gives them a sense of community in our joint effort to promote the importance of all cultural sites and museums in our society and world."

"Organizational participation also helps to solidify our sense of community as a cultural organization," Hansen says, "By working together on Austin Museum Day, we have laid the groundwork for future collaboration on exhibits, programming and more, which benefits both our museum community and the general public."

A glance at AMP's website shows that member organizations range from galleries and museums to historical and science centers. "Membership is open to any Austin cultural institution that provides educational exhibits and programs as well as supporting businesses, organizations and individuals," says Hansen.

Jarvis explains that "there are various classes of membership that include: institutional, individual, supporting, affiliate and honorary."

Because members volunteer their time, the partnership's abilities shrink and expand with the level of commitment members are able to give.

When asked what they see in AMP's future, Jarvis says, "It is my hope that AMP serves as a network for its members — a place where all can visit with fellow professionals to discuss and learn what is important to the field, help each other problem-solve, and work together to keep all cultural sites/museums relevant and purposeful in our community and society."

Hansen hopes that "over the next two years, we will be working on new initiatives to encourage engagement with local cultural institutions for both the public and our membership."

Austin Museum Partnership has expanded its membership, elected new committee chairs and will soon rebrand with a new logo.

Though Austin Museum Day remains the partnership's largest public event, expect new public programs and professional development for members in the future.

Interested organizations and individuals should visit AMP's website for membership information and a list of member organizations.