NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An exhibition about Muslim cultures around the world is proving popular at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, but some lawmakers are warning President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts would put the venue’s future at risk.
As previously reported on CBS New York, Democratic New York lawmakers said Sunday that they will fight federal budget cuts targeting the arts.
The museum has seen an increase in visitors since the show opened, with a third of those visitors from outside the New York area.
WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate funding for organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts.
A new show, called “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” runs through December and will open in February 2018 at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, followed by a run in 2019 at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.
According to the Children Museum of Manhattan’s website, the Muslim exhibit is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities — two of the 17 independent agencies Trump has proposed eliminating — as well as other sources.
“As a first-of-its-kind exhibition, the content of ‘America to Zanzibar’ is new for most visitors,” said Andrew Ackerman, the museum’s executive director. “Many parents are eager for their children to experience a broad range of cultures in a deeper way than what they encounter in the media. Our exhibition helps address this need.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) spoke with other Democratic lawmakers earlier this week at the museum, saying the venue would not exist without federal money.
As 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman reported, Gillibrand said Trump does not seem to understand the importance of arts funding economically and educationally.
“Thousands of jobs; hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue; of investment, and for the children that benefit so much through arts education; through learning the humanities; our history; our culture,” Gillibrand said. “It strengthens learning.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Sunday called the proposed federal cuts “an attack on our country’s cultural infrastructure.”
“We don’t want a society in which access to the arts is limited to certain areas,” he said.
Ackerman noted that Trump himself was an early investor.
“His investment has paid off – maybe one of the better investments he ever made,” he said.
Local lawmakers also emphasized what they said was a need for continued arts funding.
“President Trump talks a lot about making America great again,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th). “But nothing has ever been made great again by crushing its soul, destroying its heart, and taking everything about what it means away.”
Outside the politics about funding, parents have given strong reviews to such interactive features as a mock Egyptian marketplace, a Zanzibar fish market, and fashions by West African tailors who work in New York. The display, designed for children aged 2 to 10, also includes a 3-D installation showing a mosque architecture from the Maldives to China.