Menu
Log in


Login/Logout
My Profile

Museum News

How are museums growing institutional resources? How are museums working with their communities? How are museums using their exhibitions and collections in new ways? Explore original articles by MANY staff about NYS museums. 

What's happening at your museum? Submit your museum news and we might feature you in our next This Month in NYS Museums newsletter!

Email meves@nysmuseums.org 

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • June 10, 2024 2:12 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Five NYS museums were awarded a total of $846,372 Museum Grants for African American History and Culture from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Funding will support projects that build the capacity of African American museums or support the growth and development of museum professionals at African American Museums. 30 institutions across the United States were awarded a total of $5,916,807.

    Weeksville Heritage Center will complete a comprehensive collections inventory and increase public access both onsite and online to its collections, documenting the history of Weeksville, one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America. For the project, staff will hire a new Collections Associate position and two paid interns. Project activities will include compiling existing inventories, cataloging items not yet accessioned, improving safe collections storage, restructuring digital records, and digitizing high-priority items. As a result of the project, staff will expand public access to the collections via a public database portal, enhanced exhibition displays, and an onsite Resource Center with educational resources for researchers, museum professionals, and community members.

    The Lewis Latimer House Museum will hire staff to improve collections management and create a digital exhibition from the museum’s collection. In partnership with Queens Public Library, museum staff will digitize the Latimer Family Papers. The museum will hire a Collections Digitization Manager to train and supervise paid interns on digital asset management practices for the project. The museum will also hire a Digitization Specialist to implement collections digitization software. Staff will travel to conduct collections research, informing the creation of a digital exhibition of the museum’s permanent collection. 

    The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission will increase staff capacity and access to collections for five historic locations: the Michigan Street Baptist Church, Nash House Museum, Historic Colored Musicians Club and Jazz Museum, WUFO 1080 AM Black Radio History Collective, and Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. To improve collections care and access, the organization will hire a new full-time Museum Collections and Interpretive Assistant to develop and coordinate exhibition content and programming. 

    The Louis Armstrong House Museum will solicit oral histories from the local community about Louis and Lucille Armstrong to add to the Armstrong Archives and utilize in expanded programming. Located in Louis Armstrong's former neighborhood, the museum staff will gather accounts of the Armstrong family from surviving community members about Armstrong’s life, work, and community impact. Staff will record one-on-one and group interviews, catalog those interviews within a searchable database, and make the database accessible online for public use. 


    The National Jazz Museum in Harlem will create educational videos and provide artist-led workshops for students.  Educational resources will focus on introducing jazz and improvisation to grade 1-3 students and multimedia workshops will serve fourth and fifth-grade students. Following each workshop, the museum will solicit detailed feedback from teachers. Staff will work with a team of educational consultants to create and post online videos for teachers to show their classes before visiting the museum to prepare students for their visit and videos for after students visit the museum to stimulate classroom discussions and reinforce concepts learned at the museum. 


    Since its establishment in 2006, the program has provided $35,714,804 million in funding to over 250 African American museums and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. By investing in these institutions, IMLS helps ensure that their histories are preserved and that their students have opportunities to explore the museum field.


    Click here to learn more.

  • June 04, 2024 5:02 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Mari Irizarry is the Director of the Three Village Historical Society, a small museum in Setaukey on Long Island. We asked Mari and the other twenty-one museum professionals from across New York State who received a scholarship to attend the 2024 annual conference "Giving Voice to Value" in Albany this past April to reflect on and write about their conference experience.

    Please note that this conference essay have been edited for clarity and/or length.


    As a queer, LatinX, female director of a small museum, attending the "Giving Voice to Value" conference in Albany this April was a profound experience. The event's title resonated deeply with me, encapsulating my journey as a museum professional over the past eight years. Each day, I confront challenges that test my resolve, yet I find solace and strength in my identity and leadership role within my community.

    The conference provided a platform for hundreds of museum professionals from across the state to converge and engage in meaningful dialogue. For me, it was not just an opportunity to learn but a reaffirmation of the values guiding my work and my museum's spirit. At our institution, we (the staff) believe in "checking our ego" at the door, allowing each other's strengths to shine through. We embody the principles of giving voice to value daily, striving to challenge the status quo and affect positive change in our community.

    Conference capstone experience at Ten Broeck Mansion

    One of the central themes of the conference was the role of historical societies and museums play in addressing racism, bias, and other injustices in American history and contemporary society. As a cultural organization dedicated to archiving and preserving our local history, we recognize our responsibility to amplify marginalized voices and educate the public about the injustices they have faced.

    Throughout the conference, I was inspired by the stories and experiences my fellow museum professionals shared. We discussed strategies for fostering inclusivity, confronting bias, and centering marginalized narratives in our institutions. There was a sense of solidarity and determination in those rooms as we collectively recognized the urgency of our mission.

    The conference isn't just about exchanging ideas and insights; it celebrates collaboration and togetherness. I eagerly anticipate reconnecting with our counterparts from across the state, knowing that moments of pure enjoyment await us amidst the hustle and bustle of our professional duties. Picture this: colleagues and friends from different corners of the state gathering together to ride a historical carousel, laughter echoing against the walls of our state museum in earshot of the capitol. It's a scene that encapsulates the spirit of the conference – a perfect blend of work and play. In these moments, connections deepen, ideas flourish, and memories are made.

    Meeting up with old friends at the conference. From L to R: Mari Irizarry, Three Village Historical Society, Anna Conlan, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

    But perhaps the highlight of it all is the after-hours adventures – exploring majestic historic mansions and gardens, and wandering through the corridors of museums, each step a journey through time. It's these experiences that remind me why I love my job – not just for the work we do, but for the moments of joy and discovery we share with colleagues who feel like long lost friends. As a leader, I left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and resolve. I am committed to doing more, listening more, and educating more to combat injustice and support marginalized and underserved communities. This means not only diversifying our collections and programming, but also creating a workplace culture that values and celebrates diversity in all its forms.

    The Museum Association of NY – Giving Voice to Value conference was not just a professional development opportunity; it was a reaffirmation of my identity and values as a BIPOC museum professional. It reminded me that every day, we have the power to make a difference and give voice to the values that define us.

    Experiencing the partial eclipse with friends at Empire State Plaza. Front to back: Kimberly Phyfe, Three Village Historical Society, Janna Rudler, Preservation League of NYS, and Peter Hyde of Peter Hyde Design.

    Mari thoroughly enjoying the carousel ride at the New York State Museum


    Click here to read other Conference Experiences and Reflections

  • May 06, 2024 4:46 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Voices and Votes: Democracy in America will be on view at Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site from May 18 through June 29

    The New York State tour of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Museum on Main Street Program Voices and Votes: Democracy in America exhibition will travel to Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. The site interprets the War of 1812 story through its mid-19th-century Navy Yard as an internationally recognized War of 1812 battleground. The exhibition will be on view at the historic Union Hotel building. Sackets Harbor is one of twelve museums that will host Voices and Votes for six weeks each through January 2026, offering museum visitors across New York State a unique cultural experience.

    MANY is the statewide organizer for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s Museum on Main Street Program, which previously brought the “Water/Ways” exhibition to six New York Museums in 2019. The Museum on Main Street program offers traveling exhibitions, educational resources, and programming across America to communities through local museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues. 

    “We are thrilled to have Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site as the second stop of the New York State tour of the Voices and Votes exhibition,” said Megan Eves, MANY Assistant Director for Programs & Communications and Project Director. “As New York State Parks and Historic Sites celebrate their centennial this year, historic sites across New York are searching for ways to engage their local communities with connections to our nation’s history, especially at Sackets Harbor, an important site during America’s Second War for Independence.” 

    “The Sackets Harbor Battlefield, together with its partner organization, Hay Memorial Library, is proud and excited to serve as the only site in the North Country region to host this exceptional exhibit,” said Constance Barone, the Battlefield’s site manager. “The exhibition coincides with New York State Parks Centennial Celebration, amplifying the Bureau of Historic Sites mission and Guiding Principles,” she added.

    Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic site staff began installation of the local exhibit component for the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.”

    Voices and Votes will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about democracy, the freedoms, and responsibilities of citizens, participating in government, and more. 

    A series of local exhibition-related programming and free events include an OurStoryBridge oral histories gathering project, a lecture by guest historian Dr. Melissane Schrems, Humanities NY Reading and Discussion Series and Community Conversation and music program, and National Trails Day StoryWalk. 

    Supporting this traveling exhibition are Sackets Harbor and North Country local stories. “The local components of the exhibit complement the broader historical narratives of Voices and Votes, connecting North Country people, our local history, and our place in history,” says Library Board President Christine Eggleston. “Programs and discussions weave together stories of civic commitment, cultural heritage, and the rich history in our own backyard.” 

    Adapted from American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faithcurrently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Voices and Votes includes historical and contemporary photographs; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material. 

    Each museum will display the Smithsonian exhibition and produce an exhibition drawn from their own collection that relates to their community’s role in the development and advancement of democracy in America. Smithsonian resources available to the twelve museums include digital learning curricula and communication tools. MANY staff is organizing the exhibition travel, and will help each museum plan, implement, and evaluate the exhibitions and interpretive programs.  

    MANY was awarded $494,284 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support humanities discussion program series “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” produced in partnership with Humanities New York. The series will use Voices and Votes as a launching point to support the work of the twelve museums and their communities to explore, reflect on, and tell the story of their role in the evolution of American Democracy. 

    “The Voices and Votes exhibition and “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion programs will create spaces in museums in which communities can learn together and participate in humanities discussions grounded in texts and objects of material culture,” said Eves.

    This tour is supported by a Market New York grant awarded to the Museum Association of New York by Empire State Development and I LOVE NY/New York State's Division of Tourism through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. 

    Additional funding from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation supports public events, community exhibitions, free public lectures, workshops for teachers, and community discussion programs. 

    Learn more about the New York State tour of the Voices and Votes exhibition: https://agoranewyork.org/ and preview the full schedule of programming and events happening at Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site.

    Voices and Votes is a Museum on Main Street (MoMS) exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. It’s based on an exhibition by the National Museum of American History. It has been made possible in New York State by the Museum Association of New York. Support for MoMS in New York State has been provided by the United States Congress and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. 

    “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion programs are made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    About Sackets Harbor Battlefield New York State Historic Site and Hay Memorial Library

    Sackets Harbor’s strategic location on the eastern end of Lake Ontario made it the only possible site for the American military command during “The Second War for Independence.” This natural harbor became a hub of activity for shipbuilding and the war effort. Today, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield is recognized by the National Park Service as one of the ‘top War of 1812 sites’ in the nation due to its remarkable integrity. Educational programming, living history, environmental and historic structures stewardship make this site a North Country destination.

    Hay Memorial Library, located in the historic Village of Sackets Harbor, is a full-service, modern library providing creative, educational programs and onsite collection services to our community and the surrounding township. The library is delighted to be a program partner for the exhibit, and encourages visitors to explore, collaborate, gather, and connect with the programs and community. Visit the library on Facebook, Instagram, and at haymemoriallibrary.org

    For additional exhibits, trails, and programs in the community, visit:

    • Pickering Beach Museum 
    • The Sackets Harbor Visitor Center www.visitsacketsharbor.com
    • The Old Stone Chapel (a Sackets Harbor Historical Society preservation site) sacketsharborhistoricalsociety.org
    • War of 1812 Bicentennial Trail
  • April 18, 2024 1:22 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    What can I say about Erika Sanger? Actually, quite a bit. While most of you already know, I wanted to mention a few:

    • Doubled membership
    • Doubled earned income
    • Grew attendance at our Annual Conference
    • Raised over $2.5M to support NYS Museums
    • Shepard through and strengthened MANY during COVID-19

    Erika is a force. Because of her passion and vision, many have gotten involved with MANY, including myself. She has transformed MANY and, as a result, the museum sector in New York State. We are better because of her.

    As I take on the Interim Director role, my commitment is to do Erika's legacy justice and keep the important and vital work of MANY going while we find our new leader to move us forward, standing on the tremendous foundation Erika has given us.

    I am deeply grateful for the warm welcome and congratulations I received at our Annual Conference this month. Your support and engagement are invaluable to us, and I am eager to continue working with you, our members, and member institutions in the coming months.

    Onward!

    Sheila McDaniel, Interim Executive Director


  • April 18, 2024 1:21 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In 2023, MANY's membership grew to 732 members from every REDC region, a 14% increase over the past three years. We are grateful to all of our individual, organizational, and industry members whose support keeps us on track and able to serve the field.

    We welcomed 438 museum professionals, industry partners, and student to Syraucse in April for our annual conference "Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement."

    From February to November, MANY staff traveled 3,000 miles across New York State to deliver 10 in-person discussions and meet-ups cetnered around preparing for the post-pandemic museum based on the collection of essays: "Change is Required: Preparing for the Post-Pandemic Museum" thanks to funding from the New York State Council on the Arts.

    Lastly, the 2023/24 New York State Budget included $1M in funding for The Museum Study Act. The Department of Economic Development, in conjunction with other departments and entities, will conduct a comprehensive study of public and private museums and report their findings and recommendations. We thank the bill sponsors Assemblymember Barrett and Senator Cooney, the legislature, and Governor Hochul for their support of this forthcoming study.

    Click here to download the 2023 Annual Report.

  • April 04, 2024 2:59 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Dear Members, Friends, and Colleagues,

    Like the place where a rainbow blends into sky, MANY’s work can barely be seen from our office on the banks of the Hudson River in Troy. It takes all of you to make what we do visible. I will never know the full extent of the impact I have made at MANY in my decade of service, first as a member of the board of directors and then as executive director.  But I do know that brilliant colleagues, creative problem solvers, generous collaborators, visionary leaders, and steadfast supporters of museums have served as my inspiration and my compass. 

    Your emails, note cards, and phone calls with thanks and good wishes have offered a glimpse into the difference I have made and I will admit that my tears have been flowing freely. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Thank you for sharing your successes and your challenges. Thank you for letting me carry your stories beyond the MANY office to give other museum people a way to look at their work through a different lens. 

    When I have taken the pen or the podium to speak out for New York’s museums I have done so with the confidence that you are there with me. If you have not been comfortable with advocacy in the past, I am asking you to help continue my work by making one call or writing one letter this year to thank your legislative representatives for their support, invite them to your museum, or let them know the challenges you are facing as a community anchor, an economic driver, and an organization that stewards and interprets our state’s history, art, architecture, and culture. 

    We used our collective intelligence to build MANY into an organization that helps people who work in museums solve complex problems by integrating collaboration and creativity with digital communications. Together we gathered and synthesized our knowledge, experience, and resources to turn some of our darkest and most difficult times into a community that helps each other succeed.

    I look forward to talking to as many of you as I can at our 2024 annual conference which is just days away. Meaningful connections created at MANY’s annual conference, at other programs across the state, as well as those that happen during our virtual programs have forged a vital web of connections that support the field. I leave MANY in the hands of thousands who will keep this web strong and growing.

    With thanks for all of your support,

    Erika Sanger, Executive Director


  • March 25, 2024 12:16 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Voices and Votes: Democracy in America will be on view at Preservation Long Island in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island from March 22 through May 3, 2024

    Photos from the Installation Workshop at Preservation Long Island, Cold Spring Harbor, NY

    The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is excited to announce that the New York State tour of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Museum on Main Street Program Voices and Votes: Democracy in America exhibition will debut at Preservation Long Island. A regional not-for-profit organization headquartered in Cold Spring Harbor, Preservation Long Island maintains and interprets historic sites and collectionspertaining to Long Island’s history. It is one of twelve museums that will each host Voices and Votes for six weeks through January 2026 that will offer museum visitors across New York State this unique cultural experience.

    MANY is the statewide organizer for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s Museum on Main Street Program, which previously brought the “Water/Ways” exhibition to six New York Museums in 2019. The Museum on Main Street program offers traveling exhibitions, educational resources, and programming across America to communities through local museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues. 

    “New Yorkers and their histories are deeply connected to the founding of our nation and the continuing evolution of our democracy,” said Erika Sanger, MANY Executive Director. “As we approach the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, museums are searching for ways to engage their local communities with connections to our nation’s history. Preservation Long Island is an ideal first location for the Voices and Votes exhibition and ‘A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy’ discussion programs.”

    “Preservation Long Island is excited to serve as the inaugural site for Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” said Alexandra Wolfe, Preservation Long Island Executive Director. “The exhibition’s focus on freedom, civic participation, and political engagement resonates strongly with our commitment to making the past relevant to the present.” 

    Adapted from American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faithcurrently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Voices and Votes includes historical and contemporary photographs; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material. 

    Each museum will display the Smithsonian exhibition and produce an exhibition drawn from their own collection that relates to their community’s role in the development and advancement of democracy in America. Smithsonian resources available to the twelve museums include digital learning curricula and communication tools. MANY staff is organizing the exhibition travel, and will help each museum plan, implement, and evaluate the exhibitions and interpretive programs.  

    MANY was awarded $494,284 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support humanities discussion program series “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” produced in partnership with Humanities New York. The series will use Voices and Votes as a launching point to support the work of the twelve museums and their communities to explore, reflect on, and tell the story of their role in the evolution of American Democracy. 

    “The Voices and Votes exhibition and “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion programs will create spaces in museums in which communities can learn together and participate in humanities discussions grounded in texts and objects of material culture,” said Sanger.

    This project is supported by a Market New York grant awarded to the Museum Association of New York by Empire State Development and I LOVE NY/New York State's Division of Tourism through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Additional funding from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation supports public events, community exhibitions, free public lectures, workshops for teachers, and community discussion programs. 

    The exhibition includes a section that incorporates art and artifacts drawn from Preservation Long Island and other local collections. “The objects we chose connect the broader historical narratives of Voices and Votes with Long Island people and stories—addressing themes such as the ways people make their voices heard, who is left out of the conversation, and the roles and responsibilities of citizens,” said Lauren Brincat, Preservation Long Island Curator.

    Among the local highlights that visitors will be able to see in the exhibition is an original essay by Jupiter Hammon (1711–ca. 1806), America’s first published African American poet, written while he was enslaved at Joseph Lloyd Manor in Lloyd Harbor shortly after the American Revolution, advocating for the citizenship of Black New Yorkers in the new nation. Other items include a bracelet and ring made from scrap sheet metal by women aircraft factory workers on Long Island as the United States fought to preserve democracy abroad during World War II, and the drawings and models for the national monument to African American civil rights leader and women’s rights activist, Mary MacLeod Bethune (1875–1855), created in 1974 by Long Island artist, Robert Berks (1922–2011). 

    Voices and Votes allows us to reflect on Cold Spring Harbor and the surrounding community historyand explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country, but also this community,” said Andrew Tharler, Preservation Long Island’s Education and Engagement Director.

    The series of local exhibition-related programming and free events include a community quilt project, curator-led exhibition and walking tours, lectures, community conversations and an oral history series.

    Learn more about the New York State tour of the Voices and Votes exhibition: https://nysmuseums.org/Project-Participants-and-Host-Sites and preview the full schedule of programming and events happening at Preservation Long Island: preservationlongisland.org/voices-and-votes.

    Voices and Votes is a Museum on Main Street (MoMS) exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. It’s based on an exhibition by the National Museum of American History. It has been made possible in New York State by the Museum Association of New York. Support for MoMS in New York State has been provided by the United States Congress and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. 

    “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion programs are made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


    About the Museum Association of New York

    The Museum Association of New York is the only statewide museum service organization with more than 780 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Visit www.nysmuseums.organd follow MANY on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @nysmuseums 

    About Preservation Long Island

    Preservation Long Island is a not-for-profit organization that works with Long Islanders to raise awareness, appreciation, and support for the protection of our shared past through advocacy, education, and the stewardship of historic sites and collections. Visit preservationlongisland.org.

    Preservation Long Island maintains and interprets historic sites and collections that embody various aspects of Long Island’s history including:

    Joseph Lloyd Manor, Lloyd Harborpreservationlongisland.org/joseph-lloyd-manor/

    Custom House, Sag Harborpreservationlongisland.org/custom-house/

    Sherwood-Jayne Farm, Setauket preservationlongisland.org/sherwood-jayne-farm/ 

    Old Methodist Church and Exhibition Gallery preservationlongisland.org/methodist-church/

  • March 08, 2024 2:58 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Old Methodist Church building, headquarters and exhibitions gallery for Preservation Long Island. Photo courtesy of Lauren Brincat, Curator, Preservation Long Island


    The Museum Association of New York is the designated partner for the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street Program, circulating Smithsonian-created exhibitions across New York State. From March 2024 to January 2026, MANY will travel the exhibition “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America” to 12 museums in 9 NYS REDC regions. With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, MarketNY, and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, MANY will help the museums attract visitors, expand their programming, and grow their donor base.

    Each museum will host the exhibition for six weeks as well as the creation of a responsive exhibition telling the story of democracy in their communities using objects and location-specific stories. Museums will use the Smithsonian exhibition as a launching point for “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion series to explore the context and main controversies behind our democratic system including the principles and events that inspired the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the struggle for civil rights, voting rights, and equal participation in our democracy. This project will support the work of each museum and their communities as they explore, reflect on, and tell the story of their role in the evolution of American democracy.

    “Voices and Votes” opens at Preservation Long Island in Cold Spring Harbor this March. We spoke with Preservation Long Island Curator, Lauren Brincat, to learn more about how the exhibition will impact programming, museum capacity, and amplify Long Island’s role in American democracy.


    Museum Association of New York (MANY): Why did Preservation Long Island apply to host Voices and Votes?

    Lauren Brincat: It was the connection between the exhibition themes and the work that Preservation Long Island is doing, particularly the story of Jupiter Hammonand the larger enslaved community at Joseph Lloyd Manor where we’re seeing an increase in dialogue and discussion that is bringing people together. It’s become a main focal point for us 

    We saw connections between our local story of democracy to the Smithsonian’s exhibition. The Smithsonian exhibition will provide greater historical context to what's happening on Long Island –especially as we move towards the 250th, Jupiter Hammon is certainly, for New York, someone to talk about as a voice who is writing about speaking about liberty and freedom during and after the American Revolution. 


    MANY: Can you tell us more about the story of Jupiter Hammon and how Preservation Long Island hopes to amplify this story while it hosts Voices and Votes?

    Lauren Brincat: Jupiter Hammon is the first known published African American poet. He was one of only two enslaved individuals to have their works published in North America during the 18th century, so he provides a really rare perspective on this critical moment in our country's founding. He was born into slavery on Long Island and did some of his most well-known and significant writings that confront these ideas of liberty, freedom, and enslavement in the new nation on Long Island. 

    We will incorporate Jupiter Hammon's story into our responsive exhibition that I'm curating. Our responsive exhibition will include two original copies of Hammon’s published works. The first, “An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York.” was written in 1786 and Hammon references the American Revolution and how many lives were lost. It was the Patriot's calls for liberty that inspired him to advocate for the freedom and citizenship of Black New Yorkers. The second published work, “A Winter's Peace,” was written while Hammon was in exile in Connecticut during the war because Long Island was occupied by the British during the Revolution.

    Our Project Scholar, Dr. David Waldstreicher, Professor of History at City University of New York, will deliver a free, public lecture about Jupiter Hammon and Phillis Wheatley 


    MANY: What other objects are you going to have in the responsive exhibition that will be from your collection?

    Lauren Brincat: It's a little bit of a mix. The two Jupiter works we’re borrowing from the East Hampton Library. 

    We will include a bracelet and a ring from our collection made by a female factory worker at one of the large aircraft plants on Long Island during World War Two. While men were fighting for democracy abroad, women were filling factory jobs at home and gaining greater agency in their lives, albeit for the short term. After the War, women were expected to give up their jobs for returning veterans but foundations were laid for future calls for equality.

    Other objects include a silver tankard made by Elias Pelletreau who was a Long Island silversmith. Referred to as Captain Pelletreau, he was an older man who led a militia of senior citizens in Southampton during the Revolutionary War.

    A tea table that was owned by William Floyd, a Long Island Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    Needlework done by the daughter of Henry Packer Dering. He was one of the first customs and postmasters for the port of Sag Harbor, the Custom House is one of our historic houses. It was also a location where they administered oaths of citizenship. Her needlework was done at the Litchfield School in Connecticut. It’ll focus on the idea of Republican Motherhood and what that meant in this period.

    We also want to focus on the building where the exhibition will be located. It was built in 1842, and shortly thereafter visited by Sojourner Truth during her time on Long Island. We’re looking forward to exploring her connection to this actual site.

    We are including an 1860 signature piece quilt done by members of the Dutch Reform Church in Manhasset. We’re not sure why this was made but lots of signature piece quilts were made during this period and were done to support the ongoing Civil War. This is the inspiration for a larger program, our community quilt project that we are doing with North Shore Quilting and Fiber Art. Members of our community are making blocks which will then all be signed and sewed together and will be on display in the exhibition and then will become a part of our collection.

    Some more contemporary things we will include are a protest blanket that was made by an artist in 2020 that was part of an outdoor art memorial to Black Lives Matter. The exhibition was organized as a way for people to show support while continuing to social distance during  the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a way for people to participate and show support through creating art which created a living memorial. This blanket was a part of that installation.

    A big part of our mission is advocating for historic preservation. We want to focus and highlight ways that people can advocate and use their voices to support historic preservation in their communities. 

    We’re including three photographs in our exhibition by Shinnecock Fine Art Photographer Jeremy Dennis. Called the Sacredness of Hills, these photos confront the  desecration of a sacred Indigenous burial site in Southampton due to development on the East End prior to the passing of the Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act in New York just last year.. It's a  powerful series that connects the history and experiences of the Shinnecock People on Long Island with preservation advocacy work. 


    MANY: You mentioned a walking tour with Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum and getting items loaned from the East Hampton Library, tell us more about the partnerships you’re forming as part of the exhibition. 

    Lauren Brincat: Yes, the Cold Spring Harbor Library will host our scholar lecture. The community quilt project is a partnership with the local businesses here on Main Street and they are supporting that entire project.  


    MANY: What are some of the goals for Preservation Long Island, short-term and long-term?

    Lauren Brincat: It's exposing more people to the wide variety of work that Preservation Long Island does. We have an expansive mission, and people know us for the different kinds of work that we do whether it’s our preservation advocacy, exhibitions, or our publications. This is an exciting opportunity to bring all of this work together, especially through a Smithsonian exhibition and a responsive exhibition that will explore  historic preservation and ways to join advocacy efforts on Long Island and beyond.

    We want to generate more interest in what Preservation Long Island does. We’re a regional organization and we’re also a local institution and a place where people can go to have discussions about different topics and learn about history.


    MANY: In addition to hiring gallery attendants, how are you and the Preservation Long Island team preparing to host Voices and Votes

    Lauren Brincat: We are boosting our part-time staff who will work in the gallery so that we can be open more regularly, consistently, and reliably. I think that this exhibition has gotten all of us to work more collaboratively than we have before. For example, I’m working with our preservation director to give a presence to the work she does in the exhibition itself. 


    MANY: How many staff members does Preservation Long Island have?

    Lauren Brincat: We have about 10 people on staff, 8 full-time.


    MANY: What is something that you hope a visitor might take away with them after visiting this exhibition?

    Lauren Brincat: We hope that it will spark curiosity to learn even more. It’s an opportunity to have a hyper-local focused exhibition in response to a Smithsonian exhibition where we can highlight Long Island alongside the larger history of democracy in America. 

    I would hope that it will inspire visitors to learn more and to seek more information.


    MANY: What are some other changes that are happening because you are participating in this project?

    Lauren Brincat: Partnering with more community organizations for programming and events to increase our capacity and their capacity as well. It’s  been very much an all-hands-on-deck kind of project for us. Being part of this project has been an exciting way for us to all work together towards the exhibition’s success, requiring us to think more strategically and to plan further in advance, which is great!



    Learn more about Voices and Votes: Democracy in America and “A New Agora for New York: Museums As Spaces for Democracy” at Preservation Long Island.

  • March 08, 2024 2:46 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is proud to announce that 22 museum professionals from across New York State will attend the 2024 annual conference “Giving Voice to Value” in Albany, NY, April 6-9 with full scholarship support. Scholarships include conference registration, travel, hotel accommodation, workshop or special event registration, and complimentary individual MANY memberships for one year. 

    Scholarship recipients were selected through a competitive application process. Applications were reviewed by a panel that included MANY’s board members, staff, and local conference committee members. “We look forward to welcoming these exceptional professionals to Albany and express our sincere gratitude to our donors for helping MANY to expand our service to the field,” said MANY Executive Director Erika Sanger.

    2024 Scholarship Awards

    BIPOC Museum Professional in Museum Administration

    Awarded to a Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color working in museum administration who has played a leadership role in advancing the capacity and sustainability of their museum.

    Mari Irizarry, Director, Three Village Historical Society


    Cassetti Scholarship

    Awarded to a museum professional who has demonstrated creative leadership and has affected significant, positive change in the ways in which their museum engages with audiences.

    Lauren Nechamkin, Director of Education, Museum of Chinese in America


    William G. Pomeroy Foundation Scholarship

    Sponsored by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for museum professionals working in a history-related NYS museum with an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less and who have not attended a MANY annual conference in the past.

    Michael S. Bennett, Lincoln Depot Museum

    Terry Britton, Woodstock Museum

    Rebekah L. Clark, National Memorial Day Museum

    Susan Colson, Percy Grainger Society

    Scott R. Ferrara, Three Village Historical Society

    Elliott Gnirrep, Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center

    Susan M. Ouellette, Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway/Burden Ironworks Museum

    Jamie Robinson, Museum Village of Old Smith’s Clove

    Kristin D. White, Dunkirk Historical Society

    Kayla Whitehouse, National Bottle Museum


    Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation for museum professionals employed by museums and historical societies on Long Island with an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less and who have not attended a MANY annual conference in the past.

    Courtney Chambers, Sea Cliff Village Museum

    Phyllis Chan Carr, Sagtikos Manor Historical Society

    Jeremy Dennis, Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, Inc.

    Stefan Dreisbach-Williams, Waterfront Museum

    George Fleckenstein, Pan Am Museum Foundation

    Ariana Garcia-Cassani, Montauk Historical Society

    Claire Hunter, Montauk Historical Society

    Denice Sheppard, Oyster Bay Historical Society

    Amy Vacchio, Rock Hall Museum


    Museum Professional in a Facilities Position Scholarship

    Sponsored by Fireline Corporation, this scholarship is awarded to a museum professional working in a facilities position at a NYS museum. 

    Josh Engel, Associate Director of Support Services, Long Island Children’s Museum


    Annual Conference

    The 2024 Annual Conference “Giving Voice to Value” will be held in Albany from April 6 to 9 and features over 100 presenters in 25 concurrent sessions, pre-conference workshops, and capstone experiences discussing and sharing new ways to communicate the value of museums to stakeholders, funders, legislators, visitors, and communities. Online registration ends March 31. To learn more, visit: https://nysmuseums.org/annualconference 



  • March 07, 2024 11:43 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Sophie Lo at The Museum at Eldridge Street

    Sophie Lo has more than a decade of experience working at the intersection of arts and culture and education. She is currently the Deputy Director at the Museum at Eldridge Street, directing museum operations and strategic initiatives. Her prior experiences include overseeing public programs and events at The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU and managing public programs and communications at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). She has freelanced for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), consulted on diversity initiatives for young adult novels and children’s education materials at Scholastic Inc. Sophie was an Art Commissioner for Queens Council on the Arts from 2021-2022 and selected for New York Foundation for the Arts Incubator for Executive Leaders of Color Program, an initiative aimed to foster equity and diversity in the arts industry. She earned her B.A. in Culture and Media Studies from The New School, her M.S. in Human Capital Management and Organizational Effectiveness from NYU, and received a certificate for Managing Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace from Cornell University.

    Lo joined the Museum Association of New York Board in January 2024. We spoke with her to learn more about her museum career journey.


    Museum Association of New York: Where did you begin your museum career? Can you share your career journey to your current position as the Deputy Director at the Museum at Eldridge Street?

    Sophie Lo: I  begin my career story at my immigrant parents’ modest small businesses–my father’s Chinese American restaurant, my mother’s paper goods store. I owe so much to those early experiences wrapping crab rangoons and tabling art fairs. That’s where I learned to communicate with customers, negotiate with suppliers, solve problems economically, and just plain work hard. 

    Fast forward a couple dozen years, I have the pleasure and privilege of serving as the Deputy Director of the Museum at Eldridge Street, which is actually where my museum career began in college, as an intern. Back then, I didn’t know working in museums was a viable career option! I remember I was at a career fair and saw an opening at a museum housed in a historic synagogue. I actually spent my childhood going to the Jewish Community Center after school, and as a kid, was very close to our landlady and her family who are Jewish, and therefore had spent a lot of my youth celebrating Jewish holidays and traditions, despite not being Jewish. My mother is an artist, so I was exposed to museums and the arts from a young age. Finding myself drawn to the Museum at Eldridge Street felt really natural. The biggest shock however, was showing up for my interview and realizing I was in the middle of present day Chinatown. I didn’t know this neighborhood one hundred years ago was once home to millions of Jewish immigrants, or that it was once the most densely populated Jewish community in the world. Though my parents were born in Taiwan, I was born and raised in the United States and always lived in areas without a strong Asian community, so there was also a desire for me to find a way back to my roots. This is what made Eldridge seem like such a beautiful fit, even back then–it felt like home. I interned there for two years before I pursued other opportunities at other museums, higher-ed, and even a film company and start-up. I came back to Eldridge at the tail-end of 2020.


    It’s nice to have that full circle moment where the place you began and had such a big impact on your museum and non-profit career to return as Deputy Director. 

    Lo: Right, and I didn’t see it coming because when I was just starting out, I don’t think I really knew what working at a museum could mean. Yes, museums can be about paintings and sculptures, but it can also be about preserving cultural heritage and amplifying people’s stories.  There’s been such a reckoning in the museum world, particularly in the last ten years and it makes sense for many museum professionals to question what it means to be a museum or cultural worker and what kind of impact we want to make through our work.


    What are some of the things that motivate you in your current role as Deputy Director at the Museum at Eldridge Street?

    Lo: It’s the people. My team motivates me. I work with an incredible, dedicated, and grounded group of people whom I love learning from and learning with. I think so much of working within our museum spaces is working with people who feel passionately about what they do and especially the content. It brings great energy to our day-to-day work. I don't think I could do the work that I do without their excitement and commitment about wanting to create great content and make an impact. I think that this all translates into a positive visitor experience. It translates through everything else.


    The Museum at Eldridge Street has undergone a massive restoration/ preservation transformation and recently was awarded more than $280K from the New York Landmarks Conservancy. What is happening next and what are some of your goals for the museum?

    Lo: I see us in a really exciting place right now. We’re on an upward trajectory with some pretty exciting projects in the works that we will announce soon.

    What’s been so rewarding is that in the past two years, we’ve had visitors from all 50 states and over 90 countries. We are breaking our attendance records and seeing engagement unlike ever before. We want to continue to welcome everyone and connect with people of all backgrounds through the story of immigration and community, within the lens of our incredible architecture. 


    Would your 18-year-old self imagine that you would be where you are today?

    Lo: Not at all! I wasn’t one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” Even though that caused a lot of angst, and in some ways still does, I’m grateful I jumped into life with open arms and an open mind. 


    Can you tell us about where you grew up? What was it like growing up there?

    Lo: People are often surprised to learn that I was born in Nebraska! I also lived Los Angeles for a brief time, but I consider Providence, Rhode Island to be my “home town.”  It’s where I grew up before moving to New York City when I was eighteen. Providence is a beautiful little city and I think I’m lucky to have grown up surrounded by a vibrant and artsy community. It probably helped that my mother went to art school and sometimes brought me to class or the studio with her so I was literally surrounded by artists all the time! 


    Can you describe a favorite day on the job?

    Lo:  Any day when I need to spend time in our historic sanctuary. Even though I’ve had a relationship with this institution for so many years, when I stand in the middle of the sanctuary with light spilling in from the stained glass windows, I still get goosebumps and I still feel emotional. The building has so much history and represents so much hope and resilience. 


    Do you have any mentors?

    Lo: Growing up as an Asian American woman working within the arts and culture sector, it’s well known that it has not historically been a diverse field. When I was a young professional, there weren’t many examples of successful women of color in leadership positions. That being said, I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to have several mentors in my life who were able to teach me about what it means to be a professional in general but also within a homogenous field. They gave me a chance when they hired me and then taught me how to create that culture of inclusion and how to in turn give opportunities to other young professionals starting in the museum world. Another mentor is my mother. She is an immigrant who’s worked hard raising me as a single mom and has gone on to have a flourishing career of her own. She will often say to me that she wishes she had a mentor which makes me all the more appreciative of her and the mentors that I’ve had. 


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

265 River Street
Troy, NY 12180 USA
518-273-3400

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software