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March 5, 2020

Edward M. Kennedy Institute, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and Massachusetts Archives join forces to promote 2020 Census awareness

Columbia Point civic institutions will reach 20,000 students with information about the U.S. Census

BOSTON – Today, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Massachusetts Archives & Commonwealth Museum announced a collaboration that encourages participation in and underscores the importance of the 2020 U.S. Census.

As part of the initiative, each of the participating organizations will incorporate Census content and conversation into their existing educational programs for students through the end of the school year. In addition, special Census keepsakes will be provided to students to take home and share with their families. The partnering organizations estimate that the effort will reach approximately 20,000 students visiting Columbia Point through June 2020.

“This initiative highlights the strong relationships among Columbia Point’s civic institutions while bringing attention to the important role that the Census plays in the determination of congressional representation, federal funding, and other vital functions,” said Alan Price, director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

“Participating in the Census is one of the most civic and least partisan activities in which all of the people who live in the United States can engage,” said Gina Perille, chief operating officer of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. “Each person deserves to be counted and to be represented. Even the youngest of students can have an impact through learning about the Census and encouraging their friends and family to participate.”

As part of the initiative, each partnering organization will embed content related to the Census in their civic education programs. The Edward M. Kennedy Institute will integrate conversations about the Census into its signature Senate Immersion Module program and Senator-in-Training tours, and has a featured display about Congress and the Census. At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, staff are incorporating discussion of the Census into the Library’s marquee federal budget simulation program as well as civil rights programs and other educational programming. The Library will highlight the Census during its immigration and naturalization ceremonies and other events sponsored by the Library. Furthermore, the Massachusetts Archives & Commonwealth Museum will inject a Census component into all of its on-site educational programming that highlights its purpose, impact, and benefits. As a division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the authority that administers the Census on a state-wide level, the Archives & Museum will also disseminate support materials from both the Secretary’s Census division and the United States Census Bureau.

Examples of the types of information that the organizations will share with visiting students include:

  • The Census counts people not citizens. No part of the Census asks for immigration status.
  • The results of the Census are used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.
  • The Census gathers data that informs how $675 billion in federal funds are distributed to states, counties, and communities.
  • The 2020 Census is the first digital census which means forms can be filled out online as well as via paper, phone, or in person. The Census takes about 10 minutes to complete.
  • Census responses are confidential and are used only to create statistics; by law no personally identifiable information will be released until 72 years have passed.

“This collaboration will have a powerful, positive impact across the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Michael Comeau, executive director of the Massachusetts Archives & Commonwealth Museum. “As the Census gets underway, we are committed to inspiring the greatest level of awareness and participation possible.”

In conjunction with this Census initiative on Columbia Point, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. about the importance of the 2020 Census. State and local leaders will discuss the impact that the Census has on federal, state, and local government and will dispel myths about Census data and how it is used. The March 24 program is free and is jointly presented by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum.

About the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, civic education organization in Boston envisioned by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Through a range of exhibits, interactive educational offerings, and topical programs, the Institute engages students and visitors in a conversation about the essential role each person plays in our democracy and in our society. Learn more via

About the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization. The JFK Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is wheelchair accessible and all videos shown throughout the Museum are closed-captioned. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960 or visit

About the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum
The mission of the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum is to ensure the preservation and accessibility of the records of government, provide assistance to government agencies, provide leadership to ensure the preservation and accessibility of Massachusetts’s historical heritage, and to develop appreciation of the value of historical records. The Massachusetts Archives serves the Commonwealth and its citizens by preserving and making accessible the records documenting government action and by assisting government agencies in managing their permanent records. The Archives provides leadership in preserving historical records and ensuring that those records are known and valued by citizens, students, and scholars.


2020 Census Resources

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