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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 

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  • March 01, 2024 8:56 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Sheila McDaniel Appointed Interim Director

    After eight years in the role of executive director and two prior years as a member of the board of directors Erika Sanger departs the Museum Association of New York with strong leadership in place to carry the organization forward. Sanger’s focus on building organizational structure, securing fiscal responsibility, strengthening membership services, and expanding programming has grown the organization immeasurably. 

    After the April 6-9, 2024 annual conference she will take the role of Executive Director of Opera House Arts, a performing arts and cultural center in Stonington, Maine. In this new role, she will focus her talents and energies on advancing the work of this community-centered arts organization that offers a year-round schedule of professional theater, music, film, dance, educational programs, community events, and more in a National Register Historic Theater.

    “We celebrate Erika’s decision to take the next step to live and work in a place close to her heart, but will miss her vision, decisiveness, integrity, and dependability; ability to teach and mentor; and her communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills that met the needs of the organization when it was in crisis, doubled the organization’s membership, and helped MANY exceed goals established in two strategic plans,” said MANY Board President Georgette Grier-Key.

    “I will continue to hope that museum professionals grow pride in their work and communicate their value authentically,” said Sanger. “I hope museums give themselves time to experiment, reach beyond comfort zones, set new standards for financial sustainability, and grow support for endangered historic structures that welcome visitors and house collections. I hope museums will listen to feedback courageously and design engagement strategies that deepen connections with their communities. I know that with digital tools and training, museum professionals will tell stories in ways unimaginable a decade ago. I know MANY will be there for years to come to help museums achieve their vision for the future.”

    In the past three years, Sanger has raised nearly $2.5 million for programs, direct services to the field, and regrant partnerships that have directly impacted the work of 450 museums and their staff. She also prepared and organized the organization’s sixty years of files that were acquired in 2023 by the Special Collections Library of the State University at Albany, making MANY’s history accessible for generations to come. 

    In 2022, she was awarded an Advocacy Leadership Award from the American Alliance of Museums for her exemplary leadership in advocacy for the museum field. In January of 2024, Sanger was selected as one of City & State’s Fifty Over 50 honorees. 

    Under Sanger’s tenure and with the help of bill sponsors Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Jeremy Cooney, “The Museum Study Act” passed the New York State Legislature almost unanimously in 2022. In 2023, Governor Hochul included $1 million for the study in the state budget. The study will be conducted in 2024 by Empire State Development’s I LOVE NY division.

    “With strong leadership on the MANY board and dedicated staff who excel at their jobs and exceed expectations, MANY is ready to continue its unprecedented growth and its exceptional service to the field,” said Sanger.

    MANY’s board of directors has appointed Independent Museum Professional Sheila McDaniel as Interim Director. Sheila has served on MANY’s board of directors from 2018-2020, as Administrator of the National Gallery of Art, and as Deputy Director of Finance and Operations at The Studio Museum in Harlem. “Sheila’s experience in these leadership roles will be a strong bridge as she works with MANY staff to sustain programs and operations during the search for MANY’s next Executive Director,” said Grier-Key.

    MANY’s board of directors will be making an announcement soon about the search process for the organization’s next Executive Director. 

    We hope you join us in celebrating Erika’s accomplishments at MANY’s 2024 annual conference in Albany April 6-9 and wish her the best in her next role.


  • February 08, 2024 12:30 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Museums, museum professionals, industry partners, and legislative leaders will be recognized for their exceptional achievements at MANY’s 2024 annual conference “Giving Voice to Value” in Albany, New York this April. The fifteen awards celebrate unique leadership, dedicated community service, transformational visitor experiences, community engagement, and innovative programs that use collections and resources to support museums and to tell stories of everyone who calls New York home.  

    2024 Awards of Distinction Winners

    Excellence in Design

    This award acknowledges extraordinary achievement in design in three categories: Publications/Graphics, Media/Marketing Campaigns, and Exhibition Design.

    Publications & Graphics

    Munson

    “Munson Rebranded and Redesigned Bulletin Newsletter”

    In 2023, the Munson announced a rebrand and new name for the 104-year-old institution to commence its next chapter. Munson staff met with hundreds of community members, surveyed visitors and members, and hosted focus groups to gain a better understanding of what is important to its constituents and what they value in the organization. The Munson marketing department redesigned the Member Bulletin using the new brand identity to express the organization as being a welcoming community center with constant activity and opportunities for people of all ages to interact with art in a variety of ways. 


    Media & Marketing

    Buffalo AKG Art Museum

    “New Graphic Identity”

    Following a $230 million campus development and expansion, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum’s Communications Department was tasked to inform the community about the construction project to expand the museum to more than 50,000 square feet, introduce the museum’s new identity, inspire people to attend the museum’s opening in May 2023, and continue to visit the expanded museum. The Communications Department guided the design and implementation of the museum’s largest advertising campaign to date which included print, digital, social media, radio, podcasts, and billboards. 


    Exhibition

    Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College

    “What Now? (Or Not Yet)/Body Matters”

    “What Now? (Or Not Yet)/Body Matters” was a two-part physical exhibition designed to engage the campus and community to reflect on how collections change and evolve and how artists help us see or shape the past and future. The first version of this exhibition opened in January 2023 and was curated by John Murphy and Alyx Raz. Simultaneously, six Vassar students worked to “re-curate” the same object list. These students reimagined the exhibition, changed the layout, and highlighted different perspectives through new pairings and interpretive text, wall color, exhibition graphic design, and title to “Body Matters.” 


    Virtual Exhibition

    Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

    “A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes”

    “A Dark, A Bright, A Light: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes” is the first monographic exhibition dedicated to Dorothy Liebes (1897-1972) in over 50 years. The exhibition demonstrated the full spectrum of Liebes’ contributions to American design, reinserting her name and her work into the story of mid-20th-century design in the United States. The virtual exhibition prioritizes storytelling, both visual and written, inviting visitors to choose a topic to explore her impact on interiors, fashion, film, and industrial design, and meet some of the studio weavers who contributed to the success of the Dorothy Liebes Studio.


    Engaging Communities

    These awards celebrate organizations that use exceptional and resourceful methods to engage their communities and build new audiences. Awards are made based on the size of an organization’s operating budget.  


    Volunteer - $99,999

    Conference House Association

    “30th Anniversary Wards Point/Aakawaxung Munahanung Site”

    To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Ward’s Point Archaeological National Site on Staten Island, the first NYC Landmark specifically recognizing the many generations of Indigenous peoples who lived on Aakawaxung Munahanung (Island Protected from the Wind) Archeological Site, the Conference House Association partnered with NYC Parks, the Tottenville Historical Society, the Delaware Tribe of Indians, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians to create a Wisdom Walk at Conference House Park. The Wisdom Walk is intended to honor, remember, and focus on the Indigenous People who were the original inhabitants of Staten Island and Tottenville. 


    $100,000 - 250,000

    John Brown Lives!

    “Adirondack Family Book Festival”

    The Adirondack Family Book Festival is an annual public event that has reached more than 1,000 people, bringing together children and young adult authors and illustrators to the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, NY, providing an opportunity for families to come together and experience the joy of reading through interactive author and illustrator talks, a youth panel, and hands-on art making. This event fosters conversation around critical and timely topics through in-person interactions with authors and illustrators, and experiential activities. 


    $500,000 - 999,999

    Syracuse University Art Museum

    “Take Me to the Palace of Love”

    Inspired by “Take Me…to the Palace of Love” a 2003 art installation by contemporary artist Rina Banerjee about home and diaspora, Syracuse University Art Museum used art selected from its collection as well as from other Central New York museums in conjunction with Banerjee’s “Viola, from New Orleans” a work that explores inter-racial marriage in America and “A World Lost” an installation that critiques climate change. The museum invited the University community, new Americans, and under-represented communities in the city of Syracuse (a resettlement city for Afghans, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Somalians, and Syrians) to document their own stories about identity and place -individually and collectively- in dialogue with Banerjee who was the University’s Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities. 


    $1,000,000 - 4,999,999

    The Long Island Museum

    “SOMOS/ WE ARE: Latinx Artists of Long Island

    The Long Island Museum’s first exhibition to be presented entirely in English and Spanish, “SOMOS/WE ARE: Latinx Artists of Long Island” was a collaborative exhibition with associated programming focusing on the rich cultural heritage and artistic contributions of the Latinx community on Long Island that featured 82 regional artists and explored their diverse styles, media, personal stories, and familial national origins. In addition to bilingual exhibition text, the museum’s education staff published a bilingual Family Gallery Guide and offered Spanish language tours, including one for the Long Island Latino Teachers Association which contributed to an increase in school tours from school districts on Long Island with a high percentage of Latinx students, including Hempstead, Springs, Copiague, Tuckahoe, North Babylon, and Brentwood. The museum also hosted a ¡ESTAMOS! symposium that featured an artist discussion and performances as well as a free Family Fun Day in October which set a record 600 person attendance for Día de los Muertos, many of whom were first-time visitors.


    Over $5M

    Museum of Jewish Heritage –A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

    “Holocaust Educator School Partnership”

    Piloted in the 2022-2023 school year, the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Holocaust Educator School Partnership expanded New York City public school student’s access to Holocaust education by recruiting and selecting interns from undergraduate and graduate students currently studying in the New York City metropolitan area to teach Holocaust history in local schools and lead exhibition tours. The program is expecting to serve more than 10,000 NYC public school students during the 2023-2024 school year


    Individual Achievement

    The Individual Achievement Award honors a dedicated museum professional or volunteer who played a significant role in advancing their organizations. 

    Emily Stewart

    Senior Director of Education & Curation, Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST)

    In 2017, Emily Stewart joined the MOST as a program assistant while finishing her PhD before being promoted to Senior Director of Education & Curation. Stewart quickly applied her background as an interdisciplinary historian to better connect museum visitors to science and technology. She doubled the education staff from four to eight and created a new Inclusion Programs Coordinator role to increase awareness and participation in the community. Stewart led several new hands-on programs that focus on STEM education including “Future Innovators” for Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color connecting local BIPOC STEM professionals with hands-on sessions with kids and mentoring them on succeeding in technology careers and “Future Women in STEM” which connects middle school girls with female STEM professionals which all have contributed to a new 2023 museum attendance record.


    Rising Star

    The Rising Star award celebrates museum professionals with five years or less experience who think creatively, inspire change, spark innovation, and exemplify leadership. 

    Julia Butterfield

    K-12 Programs Coordinator, Historic Hudson Valley

    Julia Butterfield joined Historic Hudson Valley (HHV) as a part-time Museum Educator in 2018, leading tours and field trips at Philipsburg Manor, one of HHV’s colonial properties and the site where HHV has interpreted the history of Northern slavery for two decades. She has demonstrated tremendous commitment to the practice of public history and to the particular stories of the enslaved individuals who lived and worked at Philipsburg Manor. In 2022, Butterfield was promoted to the full-time position of K-12 Programs Coordinator, where she strengthened her leadership skills by assisting new educator training, advocating for expanding accessibility initiatives, and creating more inclusive documents such as social narratives for disabled visitors and bilingual materials. 


    Anne Ackerson Innovation in Museum Leadership

    The Anne Ackerson Innovation in Museum Leadership Award honors a museum professional who made significant contributions to the museum field or to their organization. Award winners are selected for their commitment to accessibility, equity, and inclusion, and their dedicated work towards community engagement, relevance, and sustainability.

    Heidi Hill, Historic Site Manager, Crailo and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Sites

    Under Heidi Hill’s leadership, Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site has undergone extensive preservation and restoration projects, initiated new interpretation to include more underrepresented voices in Schuyler Mansion’s narrative, partnered with local organizations such as Historic Cherry Hill and Underground Railroad for joint school tours, and hosted community events including “Pinkster” a holiday that was celebrated over several days by African and Dutch New Yorkers throughout the 1700s. Under Hill’s leadership, this festival was revived at Crailo State Historic Site and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site to increase awareness of this historic event that documented early African cultural expression in New York State and welcomed more than 400 people. During Hill’s tenure, she has amplified the voices of the enslaved people who lived and worked at the Mansion and led her staff through groundbreaking research uncovering the history of Alexander Hamilton as an enslaver. 

    Prior to her almost 19 years at Crailo and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Sites, Heidi was the Interpretive Programs Assistant at Clermont State Historic Site and at Olana State Historic Site.


    Board of Directors Special Achievement Award

    The Board of Directors special achievement award is given to individuals or museum projects that deserve exceptional attention.

    The Strong Museum of Play

    “The Strong Neighborhood of Play”

    The “Neighborhood of Play” is a $100 million neighborhood development project that features a 90,000 sq. ft. expansion of the Strong Museum of Play; a new 1,000-space parking garage; a new nationally branded contemporary hotel with 175 rooms; four mixed-use apartment buildings totaling 328,500 sq. ft. and 150 units; and a 6,300 sq. ft., single-story retail building.

    The project is centered around and built upon the international brand of the Strong Museum of Play, which attracts more than 500,000 visitors to downtown Rochester annually and generates more than 4.5 billion media impressions worldwide.

    The highly visible project is in the heart of Rochester on land formerly occupied by the Inner Loop highway. The design balances the needs of each of the three development teams partnering on the project, including challenges with construction schedule, phasing, and staging in a high-density urban environment.


    Distinguished Service to Museums Award

    This year, MANY is honored to award Senator James Cooney (SD-56) and Assemblymember Didi Barrett (AD-106) for their exemplary support for museums in New York State. 

    MANY is deeply grateful for the efforts of bill author and sponsor Assemblymember Barrett and Senate bill sponsor Senator Cooney whose actions helped the nearly unanimous passage of The Museum Study Act which Governor Hochul included in the 2023/24 New York State Budget with $1 million in funding. 


    Award winners will be honored during the 2024 annual conference “Giving Voice to Value” at the Albany Hilton Downtown on Monday, April 8 at 12:30 PM. Media inquiries are welcome for photo opportunities and interviews with awardees. 

    Awards of Distinction are supported by Lighting Services, Inc.


  • January 31, 2024 9:09 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Scheduled to open in 2025-2026, the Urban Civil Rights Museum in Harlem will be New York’s first museum dedicated to civil rights. The museum planners are considering how museums can inspire the social change that we want to see happen, and how we build a museum that can activate civic engagement and support democratic practices. These are crucial questions for the museum’s inaugural director and chief curator Jennifer Scott.

    Future headquarters of the National Urban League and Urban Civil Rights Museum in Harlem on 125th St., Harlem, New York. Image courtesy of National Urban League

    Scott joined the organization in 2022 to develop and lead the museum from vision to actualization. She previously served in senior roles at history and other social justice museums, including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, one of the earliest and most significant African American History Museums in the country, and Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, a feminist and immigrant rights museum and historic landmark. In Chicago, she co-chaired the Chicago Monuments Project–a commission and city-wide initiative created to help rethink the city's monuments and public art collection. Earlier in her museum career in New York, she was the Vice Director and Director of Research at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn where she helped recover a hidden history, launched the oral history program, and helped build a new $40 million interpretive center.

    Museum Association of New York [MANY]: Thank you for speaking with us today and for sharing more about the Urban Civil Rights Museum. It feels like a long time coming for the creation of a physical museum by the National Urban League in Harlem. Where did the vision for this museum begin and how did it start?

    Jennifer Scott: The museum is part of a larger building project that will allow the National Urban League to return home to Harlem more than 100 years after it was founded. The museum will be a way for the Urban League to not only return to Harlem but to extend the league’s mission, which, historically, has been to support underserved communities, primarily through social services. The organization began as people fled the South during the Great Migration, as a way to provide them with resources, help them find jobs, obtain an education, secure housing and civil rights, and, in general, support people and families seeking safety.

    In the last 20 years, under the leadership of President and CEO Marc Morial, the Urban League has expanded its social justice mission and its focus on policy, creating an “Equitable Justice” division. The museum is the vision of President Morial who recognizes the importance of history in understanding the possibilities of social justice. The museum will serve as a space that will share the civil rights work of the Urban League and the work of many other non-profit and grassroots organizations and activists in the North who have contributed to the long fight for social change.It’s the Urban League’s first major entrée into arts and culture, and we are all excited to be a part of this new direction.

    MANY: Right, because this will be the first Civil Rights Museum in the North?

    Scott: Yes, most Civil Rights Museums are located in the South, giving the impression that the story of Civil Rights is primarily a Southern story. The fact that the museum is being built in New York, in Harlem, and in the North is super exciting because so much work toward civil rights happened here and in other Northern areas. Those are the stories we want to highlight to expand the narrative. And, we’re not just looking at the traditional era of civil rights in the 1950s and ‘60s, but also more than two centuries earlier - back to the early roots of the African American presence in the North when people migrated North as Free people or as fugitives from enslavement. The museum will address the long history of the struggle for civil rights – sharing stories of abolition, anti-slavery, the development of free black settlements, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and much more. We will also bring this history up to the present era, sharing recent stories of activism and community organizing that happened in the last 20 years, including the Black Lives Matter movement.

    MANY: You have stated that this museum will be a call to action and that it will interpret, document, and explore the long and ongoing struggle for justice and civil rights in Northern urban environments going back to the 1600s and into the 21st century. What else can you tell us about what the visitor experience will look like?

    Scott: We want the museum to provide a vibrant educational experience that inspires visitors in New York and beyond to become agents of change in the ongoing movement for equity and justice. We’re hoping to create an engaging, participatory, and inspirational experience for visitors that will connect to diverse audiences –students, educators, activists, artists, political officials, community organizers, local residents, and tourists - anyone who’s thinking about social change and those who aren’t quite there yet. We are hoping that as people explore the museum, they will reflect upon how they can learn from history - how powerful lessons of the past can help them transform their understandings of the present and the future.

    We’re also very aware that we will be located in our new home in Harlem, and we want to welcome and immerse visitors as much as possible in Harlem at the heart of the visitor experience with a strong sense and respect of place and history. We also welcome Harlem residents, their stories, and memories of Harlem.

    MANY: You mentioned the importance of place, Harlem, which is not only important in the Urban League’s history but also in the greater story of African Americans who made this neighborhood their own. How do you anticipate the museum engaging the Harlem community?

    Scott: Similarly to many communities in New York City, Harlem is experiencing tremendous change, demographic changes, and gentrification. As people move away from neighborhoods, their important experiences and stories of all that they contributed become threatened of getting lost or overshadowed. One of the ways that a museum can help preserve these stories and memories is through inviting in and collecting oral histories.

    MANY: And you have a background in oral histories.

    Scott: Yes, I’m a trained oral historian and have contributed to many oral history projects. I have learned how important it is to preserve our stories and memories because these stories often disappear as people leave the area if they are not recorded. Ideally, we want people to stay and to figure out how we can help them to stay in the neighborhood. And additionally, we want to make sure their voices are heard and preserved so that we continue to tell our own histories. We want to elevate these community stories and give them more space.

    MANY: Reflecting on your comment about wanting people to stay, the building where the museum will be is a mixed-use building that includes 170 units of affordable housing, below-market rate office rental space for non-profits and community groups like One Hundred Black Men of New York, United Negro College Fund New York, and the Harlem-based Jazzmobile, and retail space. What do you anticipate will be the impact of this building on the community?

    Scott: The bigger real estate project of the National Urban League, indeed, brings retail investment, office space, and affordable housing to the area. I think the museum, in particular, can help support the history, arts, and culture that already exists in the neighborhood and has existed for a long time, and the museum can work with neighborhood residents to expand arts and culture in the area even more.

    There will be many possibilities to help activate the power of place. We want to support local artists, activists, students, and others by being a place to convene, have conversations, and host public forums. We want to be a place where people can connect, network, and organize together when possible. The museum will be a neighbor and a partner with local residents and other historic community organizations in the area, including theatres, libraries, churches, schools, arts centers, and other community organizations. We are interested in joining and contributing to the rich and wonderful Harlem cultural ecosystem in the neighborhood.

    MANY: What have you learned being part of this process?

    Scott: I’m fortunate and very privileged because this is not the first museum I’ve helped build from the ground up. I enjoy helping to envision a project like this that supports a higher cause, bringing it to fruition, and seeing what’s possible. One thing that I’ve learned over and over again in this process is that it’s never a solo project; it takes many, many people (and lots of time and effort) to build something meaningful. When I walk into any project like this, I, thankfully, become part of a larger collaborative. It’s motivating, inspiring, and humbling to work with such dedicated teams. I learn a lot, and am honored to know that I am a participant in such a potentially impactful project and a steward of this important legacy.

    MANY: How does the museum communicate all of this to the public?

    Scott: I think with the increase in activism in the past several years, and especially since the brutal murder of George Floyd, there’s a heightened awareness of the need for change and an elevated sense of conscience. As a museum focused on social justice, we hope to connect and communicate with the people, communities, and initiatives that are interested or becoming interested in fighting for change and learning more about the history of these struggles in the past.

    MANY: I think a lot of museums are asking a similar question –how can museums inspire social change? What are your thoughts?

    Scott: Our hope is that the museum will be a place where one can see and feel the work of the many people who fought for justice in urban centers in the North, and reflect on past civil rights efforts so that we can imagine and inspire new possibilities of collective action.

    Part of the museum will serve as a resource where visitors can learn more about the different grassroots movements in the past and present, various civil rights legislation that people have fought for, and contemporary initiatives and tools that are available to fight inequities and injustice. The museum plans to host public and education programs that allow people to reflect on democratic ideas and ideals and that will encourage people to engage with one another in public forums and conversations, especially through culture and the arts.

    I also believe that you can help inspire social change when you elevate and support narratives that have been historically marginalized and that continue to face threats, distortions, and erasures. There is a lot of power in narrative.

    MANY: I think we underestimate the power of narrative.

    Scott: I feel that narrative and our power to change the narrative is still an untapped resource at museums and cultural sites.

    MANY: What do you want or hope audiences will take with them after visiting the museum?

    Scott: It’s always hard to guarantee what visitors will take away. We would love for people to leave with a better understanding of the role that the urban civil rights movement had in the long fight for social change and in the development of Northern cities. We would like people to see the significance of coalitioning and the power of collective action. Although we will also highlight individual leaders of the Civil Rights movement, we would love for visitors to also see, learn about, appreciate, and celebrate everyday people who contributed to the fight for justice and civil rights.

    I hope people will have a better understanding of how everyday people and communities went about pursuing, securing, and maintaining economic, political, social, self-reliance, equity, and justice from generation to generation in creative ways.

    MANY: We’re excited to have you join us in Albany this April as part of our opening keynote discussion with Ben Garcia, Executive Director of The American LGBTQ+ Museum for the 2024 Annual Conference “Giving Voice to Value.” When was the last time you attended a MANY conference?

    Scott: Thank you! I’m looking forward to it. I feel that it will be kind of a homecoming for me because I think the last time I was at a MANY conference was when I was working at Weeksville almost 11 years ago! I’m excited to connect with my New York State colleagues and to be able to reflect on our work and share resources. I noticed recently that MANY is a different organization today than it was then. It seems to be much more diverse in membership and in programming, with many more relevant and interesting programs - in-person and virtual. I’m also looking forward to reuniting with my friend and colleague Ben Garcia in our keynote conversation. It feels like such a privilege to be able to be in conversation with another colleague who is also building a museum in New York and to share the challenges and possibilities with him and with our New York colleagues.

    The Urban Civil Rights Museum is scheduled to open in 2025/2026. To learn more about the museum, visit https://nul.org/news/national-urban-leagues-innovative-urban-civil-rights-museum-will-bring-little-examined-corners.

    Jennifer Scott will join Ben Garcia, Executive Director of The American LGBTQ+ Museum in an opening keynote discussion, “Slow Cooking: Recipes for Centering Value in Museums” moderated by MANY Executive Director Erika Sanger at the 2024 annual conference in Albany, NY on Sunday, April 8 at 3 PM in Chancellor’s Hall, The New York State Education Department Building. To learn more and to register for the conference, visithttps://nysmuseums.org/annualconference.

  • January 31, 2024 8:48 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Below and linked is the submitted written testimony. Please share this testimony with your legislative representatives and thank them for their continued support of museums. 

    Click here to find your NYS Assembly Member

    Click here to find your NYS Senator

    -------------------------------------------

    Testimony of the Museum Association of New York

    Submitted to the 2024 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing

    January 30, 2024


    Dear Chairpersons Krueger, Weinstein, Ryan, Stirpe, Serrano, O’Donnell, and members of the Senate and Assembly finance committees,

    On behalf of the board of directors of the Museum Association of New York, our 750 members of every museum discipline and budget size in every region of our state, and our dedicated staff, I respectfully present this testimony with gratitude for the legislature’s steadfast support of New York’s museums. In doing so, I also seek your esteemed leadership in addressing three critical areas: 1) Providing financial support for museums, 2) Advancing the results of The Museum Study Act to tackle sector challenges, and 3) Securing funding for NY250 along with promoting inclusive representation in our cultural narratives. Your leadership in these areas is pivotal for the continued flourishing of our state’s rich cultural history.

    Museums are inextricably linked to New York State’s identity, economy, and history. Too many operate in a culture of scarcity, struggling to pay bills and wondering each year how they will keep their doors open. Museums need support to protect their collections and historic structures, to strengthen their roles as community education partners chartered by the State Education Department, and to grow their role as economic engines generating more than $5.37B to the state’s economy.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Legislature for your support of The Museum Study Act. The report generated by the research will, for the first time in our state’s history, give us an accurate picture of our museum sector. It will provide information about the sufficiency of public and private funding sources, inform policy making, and help communities, legislative representatives, and individual supporters learn about the missions, audiences, and funding needs of our state’s museums. 

    When the American Alliance of Museums announced the results of its 2023 survey of the field, MANY received permission to use the same questions to survey New York’s museums to see how they are faring in comparison to other museums in our nation. 

    The good news is that attendance at New York’s museums is 25% higher than the national average.

    The not such good news is that 43% of New York’s museums have yet to recover pre-pandemic attendance numbers and are still averaging 66% of their 2019 attendance. Almost 20% were forced to decrease their budgets in the face of the highest inflation rates of this century. More people visited an art museum, science center, historic house or site, zoo, or aquarium in 2018 than attended a professional sporting event. Museum attendance and especially visits by school students, remain far from the “before times” numbers. 

    With COVID relief funds fully expended, cuts to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquaria (ZBGA) and funding to New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) in the Governor’s budget dropped to 2019 levels, my fear that the most vulnerable museums would be in danger of financial failure in the wake of the pandemic may likely come to pass. The tragedy we are seeing unfold at MiSci in Schenectady is our canary in the coal mine. With this testimony, I ask you to restore NYSCA and ZBGA funding to 2023 budget levels to ensure that our sector remains a viable contributor to our state’s economy. 

    We need to not only reestablish our staff and our services but build our capacity to serve our communities. Our museums need consistent, long-term investments to achieve economic stability so that when the next flood, fire, or pandemic hits, one quarter of our museums are not at risk of shutting their doors permanently. We need to change the funding systems to museums to help them address equity, diversity, access, inclusion, and justice and incorporate the work and voices of historically marginalized communities. 

    In 2026, our nation will mark the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Ten of the original thirteen states along with 25 others have fully seated, active commissions. Our neighboring states have allocated millions of dollars to help ensure that as many voices and stories as possible are represented in the commemorative activities. Connecticut anticipates a $30M appropriation and New Jersey $28M. Massachusetts spent $1.5M to observe the Boston Tea Party’s anniversary on December 16, 2023. 

    New York needs prompt action to promote NY250 as a priority and allocate funding so that museums, historical societies, historic sites, and historic battlefields can share their cultural resources with their communities and tourists. We must take this opportunity to expand our notions of whose history is worth honoring and equally incorporate the stories of Indigenous Nations, BIPOC, and new Americans to shape a full identity for New York in time for the celebration of our democracy. MANY is grateful to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, & Asian Legislative Caucus for recognizing this important opportunity and for including $10M to fund NY250 in the People’s Budget. The gap between interest, intent, and implementation looms large. Legislative action to include funding for NY250 in this year’s budget will ensure that the stories we tell in 2026 are far more inclusive than the stories we told in 1976. 


    Thank you for your interest, your time, and your support.   

    Erika Sanger

    Executive Director, Museum Association of New York



  • December 20, 2023 11:43 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    NYCRR Train Engine #999 Scale Model, 1952, Frank DeSantis, Painted metal, glass, woodAlbany Institute of History & Art


    Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Supporters,

    When I close my eyes, I can picture the small bookcase in the corner of the apartment bedroom I shared with my brother when we were young. It sat behind a low, round, brown, Formica table held up by chipped chrome legs. At unexpected moments, the words of the authors and pictures by the illustrators will still bubble up in my thoughts. I was fortunate to be raised in a home and a culture where education was valued, books were gifted on holidays, and our weekends included a trip to the public library. I strongly suspect that many museum people were raised in similar environments.

    2023 has been a difficult year for many friends, family, and colleagues. Social, political, humanitarian, and climate crises are converging to make civil discourse and media consumption a challenge. I know I had perhaps too many batons to juggle on unsteady feet this year, but I am grateful to those who lent me the strength I needed so that when I did drop one (or two) I was able to pick them up and try again. 

    I know I owe a debt of fortitude to “The Little Engine That Could,” a children’s book written 96 years ago by a man who immigrated from Hungary to the United States. The 1954 edition with bold black text and a blue train engine printed on a cream fabric hard cover looks very familiar. Like many immigrants, the author, Arnold Munk, used the pseudonym “Watty Piper” to camouflage his identity. In Watty’s story, an engine pulling train cars filled with toys and treats for children breaks down and needs help. After two strong engines decline requests for assistance, a little blue engine carries the train cars over the mountain repeating the phrase “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

    At MANY, we continue to learn and share new ways to overcome adversity while taking time to redefine and celebrate success with as many people as we can. We have made mistakes, but did not let them weigh us down, apologized quickly, and then moved on without allowing fear to guide our decision making. We are getting better at asking for help frequently and specifically and then thanking generously. We encourage people who ask for our help to take time to rest, heal, and realign thoughts, work, and lives to the world in which we now live. Your feedback lets us know we have made a difference and helped plant seeds for future success. 

    When I hear people say that MANY is “small but mighty,” I think of Watty Piper’s little blue engine. With your help, MANY can continue to grow, share resources, and connect museum professionals across the state and the nation. If you are not yet a member, please join us, we welcome as many different voices in our community as possible. With exciting plans ahead, we need all the support we can gather to help sustain MANY’s programs and advocacy in 2024. Please donate today and help us get over the mountain that was 2023. 


    With thanks and best wishes for the new year, 

     

    Erika Sanger

    Executive Director


  • November 29, 2023 9:01 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Moon rise and sunrise at Great Camp Sagmore in the Adirondacks 

    Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

    My heart is full with all you have done to support the Museum Association of New York, our programs, our staff, and the museum professionals who share their experience and expertise to keep us informed, connected, and relevant. I am grateful to our partners, sponsors, donors, and our board members who help make our work possible. I am writing now to ask that you make a donation to support our work in the coming year so that we can continue to offer opportunities for us to gather and learn from each other. 

    MANY is stronger today than ever before. Together, we have redefined what it means to be a museum association. We created new ways to support museums and broadened our conversations to shape a shared vision for the future of museums in New York. With over 25,000 followers on social media, we lead the museum association community in leveraging digital media to share model programs and amplify voices that might get lost amongst the algorithms. Our advocacy work in Albany is building awareness for the needs of museums across the state. I am excited to share the news that the work on the survey for The Museum Study has begun. The resulting data and report will help paint a picture that will show the full range and impact of New York’s museums.

    MANY is committed to representing and including all museums and museum professionals in our programs. With our annual conference and roundtable discussions in every region of our state, in 2023 almost 700 museum professionals were able to gather in person, strengthen connections, and learn together about innovative ways to reach audiences and stakeholders. Over 1,700 people from more than 800 organizations in 45 states and 17 countries joined us for webinars. All the educators, historians, curators, fundraisers, administrators, visitor service staff, executive directors, facility managers, board members, and volunteers we met with this year know they are not only working to inspire their visitors today and tomorrow, but building their museums to serve generations to come.

    If you have attended a webinar, joined us for a discussion, called the office for assistance, or used our website to find resources, we know you value the work we do. I hope you can help us now by clicking here to make a donation in any amount to sustain our work into 2024 and create opportunities for us to help you for years to come.


    With thanks, 



    Erika Sanger

  • November 29, 2023 8:59 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    This past summer, the Heckscher Museum of Art launched Heckscher@Home, an art lending program in partnership with the Town of Huntington's Cultural Affairs Department. With this short-term loan initiative, the museum hopes to strengthen its shared stewardship with the Town of Huntington and connect community members with its collection while sharing behind-the-scenes work including conservation and management. 

    The museum first opened to the public in 1920 with a donation of 185 artworks from August Heckscher’s private collection. Most of the early works in Hecksher’s collection were by  Eastern European Artists, but he also collected many Long Island-based and  Hudson River School artists. “From the beginning, the museum has had a diverse collection. We’re not really regionally focused, but as we have been reviewing and growing our collection through donations and acquisitions, we think our niche is American Modernism,” said Executive Director Heather Arnet. Twenty-five years ago, dozens of modern American works of art were donated to the museum from the private collection of artists Arthur Dove and Helen Torr who lived in nearby Centerport. “Their donation included dozens of modern paintings by American artists like Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keefe. This twentieth-century modernist movement is important for our collection. They are artists of national and international importance whose paths intersected on Long Island and that is the niche of our collection,” said Arnet. Today, the museum has nearly 3,000 works in its collection thanks to an acquisition fund. “We are intentionally expanding and diversifying the collection to represent more artists of diverse lived experiences and a focus on women and BIPOC artists.” 

    There are actually two acquisition funds. There is a Town acquisition fund and a nonprofit acquisition fund, but both are stewarded by the nonprofit museum. It’s part of a unique partnership between the Town of Huntington and the museum. “The Heckschers built the museum and gave it to the Town to be enjoyed by the people of Huntington,” said Arnet. The Heckschers created the Heckscher Trust in 1920 for the building, collection, and park. By the 1950s the Trust could no longer maintain the building, collection, or park. “At that point, there was an agreement drafted between the Trust and the Town where the Trust gave the building, collection, and park to the Town in exchange for the Town agreeing to take care of all of these things in perpetuity. Shortly thereafter a nonprofit museum was created to manage the museum, collection, and acquisition fund.”

    The Town of Huntington was interested in pursuing more collaboration between the Town and the museum. “The museum wanted to find innovative ways to connect community members to art,” said Arnet. “We wanted to find a way to strengthen our relationship with the Town and our shared stewardship. There are a lot of different types of partnerships in museums but we have a shared relationship with a public entity and we’re always trying to figure out how to strengthen this partnership outside maintenance.” 

    The public-loan program idea started when one of the museum trustees mentioned a similar program in the Netherlands. “There are other examples of this type of art-lending program stateside happening at several college campuses like at Oberlin College. Seeing these examples inspired our museum board to give it a try,” said Arnet.

    For the first year, as part of a pilot program, the museum wanted to identify one group to lend art from the collection. “The idea to work with local veterans in this pilot year came from Town Supervisor Ed Smyth,” said Arnet. “When we began talking about the program, we concluded that it would make sense to focus and identify one constituency for the first year of this program. Smyth quickly recommended working with veterans here in Huntington.”

    Chief Curator Carlie Wertzelbacher and Museum Registrar Carolyn Blea identified prints by Jeffrey Lundstedt that would be among the works of art included in the program. Lundstedt was from Huntingtown, and class president of Walt Whitman High School his graduating year. He was drafted and died in the Vietnam War. “We felt that these prints were a great connection and a natural fit to be included,” said Arnet. “We’ve had his prints in our collection since he passed. There was an exhibition shortly after he passed but they have not been exhibited since then. Working with the Town of Huntington’s Curatorial Affairs Department we’re sharing how the collections team cares for artworks in storage so that now, 50 years later, these artworks can be prepared and loaned to the public.” 

    The museum’s curatorial staff identified several prints that were in good condition and could easily be loaned. The identified artworks were created by people from Huntington and have not been on exhibition in recent years. “We felt like these particular pieces could safely be loaned to people in ways that we felt comfortable through a partnership with the town,” said Arnet.  

    Other artworks included in the program are by artists Fannie Hillsmith, Jean Sariano, and Dimmitri Berea. Each artwork that is part of the loan program is loaned for six months. The loan is accompanied by a statement about its t history and a care sheet. The Town provides the insurance for each artwork, with no cost to any of the participants. 

    “We wanted to develop this initiative together from the beginning with the shared goal of providing a unique service to the community,” said Arnet. “This project has helped us educate the Town on what we do here at the museum. There are a lot of new faces at the council building and through this partnership, we’ve been able to answer questions about the museum like ‘why isn’t the entire collection on view?’ or about collections storage. It’s a really good example of how this project has helped with that sort of learning journey.”

    Want to learn more about how to get a program like this started in your community? Contact Heather Arnet at the Heckscher Museum of Art.

  • November 28, 2023 5:07 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In their latest round of funding for FY2024, the New York State Council on the Arts (NSYCA) awarded more than $4 million in 129 grants to 120 museums in nine Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions. In total, NYSCA awarded more than $46 million to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations and 500 individual artists. 

    NYSCA is still accepting applications for $37 Million in grants for the Capital Projects Fund through January 11, 2024. NYSCA's Capital Projects Fund supports arts and cultural nonprofits seeking State funding for investments in capital improvements to allow organizations to sustain and expand cultural programming for diverse audiences, promote accessibility and environmental sustainability, preserve and create jobs, and ultimately contribute to the growth of New York's dynamic arts and tourism sectors. Visit the NYSCA website for details.


    NYS Museums Awarded NYSCA FY2024 Funding

    Listed Alphabetically by REDC


    Capital Region

    $558,500 to 14 museums

    • Albany County Historical Association, $49,500
    • Albany Institute of History & Art, $40,000
    • Columbia County Historical Society, $30,000
    • FASNY Museum of Firefighting, $40,000
    • Historic Cherry Hill, $49,500
    • Historical Society of Saratoga Springs ,$40,000
    • Museum Association of New York, $49,500
    • Rensselaer County Historical Society (Hart Cluett Museum), $30,000
    • Saratoga County Historical Society, $30,000
    • Schenectady County Historical Society, $30,000
    • Shaker Heritage Society, $60,000
    • The Children’s Museum at Saratoga, $40,000
    • The Hyde Collection, $40,000
    • Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc, $30,000

    Central NY

    $179,500 to 6 museums

    • Canal Society of New York State, $30,000
    • Cayuga Museum of History and Art, $59,500
    • Erie Canal Museum, $10,000
    • Oswego County Historical Society ,$10,000
    • Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center ,$30,000
    • Seward House Museum, $40,000

    Finger Lakes

    $155,000 to 6 museums

    • Genesee Country Museum, $10,000
    • Geneva Historical Society, $30,000
    • George Eastman Museum, $40,000
    • Ontario County Historical Society, $25,000
    • Rochester Museum & Science Center, $10,000
    • Susan B. Anthony House, $40,000

    Long Island

    $354,000 to 12 museums

    • East Hampton Historical Society, $49,500
    • Friends of Raynham Hall, $40,000
    • Heckscher Museum of Art, $49,500
    • Hofstra University Museum of Art, $15,000
    • Long Island Museum, $30,000
    • Long Island Music Hall of Fame, $25,000
    • Nassau County Museum of Art, $25,000
    • Sagtikos Manor Historical Society, $10,000
    • Southampton History Museum, $30,000
    • Southold Historical Museum, $30,000
    • Suffolk County Historical Society, $40,000
    • The Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor, $10,000

    Mid-Hudson

    $400,000 to 13 museums

    • The Museum at Bethel Woods, $40,000
    • Boscobel, $30,000
    • D&H Canal Historical Society, $30,000
    • Edward Hopper Landmark Preservation Foundation, $30,000
    • Hammond Museum, $30,000
    • Historic Hudson Valley, $40,000
    • Huguenot Historical Society, $30,000
    • Katonah Museum of Art, $40,000
    • Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, $25,000
    • Neuberger Museum of Arts, $40,000
    • Percy Grainger Society, $15,000
    • The Haverstraw Brick Museum, $20,000
    • Westchester Children’s Museum, $30,000

    New York City

    $1,473,500 to 43 museums

    • American Folk Art Museum, $40,000
    • American Museum of Natural History, $40,000
    • Amigos del Museo del Barrio, Inc., $40,000
    • Asia Society, $40,000
    • Climate Museum, $49,500
    • Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance, $40,000
    • Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., $50,000
    • Friends of Alice Austen House, Inc., $40,000
    • Friends of the New York Transit Museum, $40,000
    • Fund for the City of New York, $20,000
    • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, $30,000
    • Historic House Trust of New York City, Inc., $40,000
    • International Center of Photography, $25,000
    • International Print Center New York, $40,000
    • Intrepid Museum Foundation, $40,000
    • King Manor Association of L.I., Inc., $49,500
    • Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, $10,000
    • Morris-Jumel Mansion Inc., $40,000
    • Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, $40,000
    • Museum of Jewish Heritage, $40,000
    • Museum of Music & Entertainment in New York City, $20,000
    • National Lighthouse Museum, $30,000
    • National September 11 Memorial and Museum, $30,000
    • New York Hall of Science, $40,000
    • Old Merchants House of NY, Inc., $25,000
    • Old Stone House of Brooklyn, $20,000
    • Pace University Art Gallery, $20,000
    • Poets House, Inc., $40,000
    • Rubin Museum of Art, $40,000
    • Seaport Museum New York, $25,000
    • Skyscraper Museum, $40,000
    • Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, $25,000
    • Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, $30,000
    • Staten Island Historical Society, $25,000
    • The Bronx County Historical Society, $10,000
    • The Frick Collection, $30,000
    • The Green-Wood Historic Fund, $50,000
    • The Hispanic Society of America, $40,000
    • The New York Botanical Garden, $40,000
    • The Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford Stuyvesant History, $59,500
    • Ukrainian Museum, $25,000
    • Washington Street Historical Society, $20,000
    • Wave Hill, $35,000

    North County

    $289,00 to 7 museums

    • Essex County Historical Society, $40,000
    • Fort Ticonderoga Association, $40,000
    • Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks, $49,500
    • St. Lawrence County Historical Association, $30,000
    • The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks (Adirondack Experience), $40,000
    • Village of Potsdam Public Museum, $40,000

    Southern Tier

    $299,000 to 9 museums

    • Artnot Art Museum, $40,000
    • Chemung County Historical Society, $40,000
    • Chenango County Historical Society, $49,500
    • Corning Museum of Glass, $40,000
    • Corning Painted Post Historical Society, $30,000
    • Roberson Museum and Science Center, $30,000
    • Sciencenter Discovery Museum, $10,000
    • The History Center in Tompkins County, $49,500
    • The Rockwell Museum, $10,000

    Western New York

    $354,500 to 10 museums

    • Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, $40,000
    • Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (Buffalo AKG Art Museum), $40,000
    • Buffalo Maritime Center, $30,000
    • Buffalo Society of Natural Science (Buffalo Museum of Science), $40,000
    • Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier, $40,000
    • Explore & More Children’s Museum, $30,000
    • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, $49,500
    • Niagara County Historical Society, $25,000
    • Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, $30,000


  • November 28, 2023 4:22 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    29 museums from across New York State received a total of $8,564,033 from Round 13 of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.


    Capital Region

    Historic Cherry Hill

    $ 100,000.00

    Historic Cherry Hill (HCH), a cultural attraction and historic site in the South End of Albany, will construct a parking area and update existing paved surfaces to make the site more attractive, accessible, welcoming, and walkable. Updates will improve visitor experiences and accommodate attendance growth.

    The Albany Institute of History & Art

    $ 51,000.00

    The Albany Institute of History & Art will use grantee funds towards the marketing of Two Worlds: The Dutch and Mohican Commemoration Project, the Albany Institute of History & Art’s upcoming commemoration of 400 years of Dutch culture in the region, including the founding of Fort Orange, the first permanent Dutch settlement that developed into the city of Albany.

    Museum Association of New York

    $ 135,500.00

    Museum Association of New York will use tourism funding to produce an interactive website and execute a comprehensive and targeted marketing campaign to attract over 50,000 visitors to 12 museums across NYS, promoting a special Smithsonian Institute exhibition “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.”

    Albany County Historical Association (Ten Broeck Mansion)

    $ 119,952.00

    The Albany County Historical Association will acquire, plan, and restore critical contributing elements to the Ten Broeck Mansion historic landscape. Acquisition involves the permanent protection of part of the 1764 Ten Broeck Mansion land plot, including a burial lot and orchard, preserving a viewshed of the historic grounds. Planning and archaeological surveys allow the installation of accessible walkways, stabilization, interpretive signage and Phase 1 of the historic orchard restoration.

    Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.

    $ 1,107,457.00

    The Interpretive Center is a new net zero energy building that includes reuse of salvaged materials, geothermal HVAC, and solar. The Center will incorporate CORE Living Building Challenge Standards whose sustainability goals include energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, sustainable materials, and universal access. The building will be a model of carbon-neutral performance in addition to being the go-to place for educational opportunities related to African American history.


    Central NY

    Discovery Center of Science and Technology (The Museum of Science and Technology, MOST)

    $ 300,000.00

    Discovery Center of Science and Technology will build out currently unused space to support the MOST's mission. The new space will create more classrooms for the MOST's day camps and programs, STEM Library, and education offices.

    Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnett Park

    $ 432,000.00

    Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnett Park will use grant funds to construct a Botanical Garden and replace the existing Sound/Visual System with a state-of-the-art enhanced system. This project will enhance the zoo as a destination and key attraction for visitors to the CNY region of NY.


    Finger Lakes

    The Strong Museum

    $ 131,250.00

    The Strong Museum will use the grant funds to support a portion of the costs to market and promote a Canadian focused marketing initiative to significantly increase tourism from the Toronto region to the museum and surrounding Finger Lakes region.

    Genesee Country Museum

    $ 71,450.00

    Genesee Country Museum will use funding to host and promote special events, including unique solar eclipse related events, at this tourism attraction promoting visitation to the Genesee Valley and Finger Lakes region, and increasing spending per visitor

    Rochester Museum & Science Center

    $ 263,157.00

    Rochester Museum & Science Center will use capital grant funds to construct a Treehouse Village in the iconic Red pine forest at the Cumming Nature Center (CNC). The Treehouse Village will be a one-of-a-kind space for educational programming and events and will grow the CNC as a year-round recreational and tourist destination.

    George Eastman Museum

    $ 500,000.00

    The George Eastman Museum, a National Historic Landmark, will address necessary and urgent repairs to the Rock Garden’s Grape Arbor so that it may be safely enjoyed. Significant accessibility improvements will provide a welcoming experience for all visitors and community members. Restoration work will ensure that this key structure in the original Rock Garden design is sustained for future generations.

    1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum

    $ 481,592.00

    The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum will restore the nationally significant 1816 Meetinghouse for use as an interpretive center and community gathering place. Highlighting the national importance of movements for equal rights in the Finger Lakes region, the restored Meetinghouse will enhance the quality of life for residents and promote regional economic development through heritage tourism.


    Long Island

    The Whaling Museum & Education Center at Cold Spring Harbor

    $ 150,000.00

    The Whaling Museum will use a portion of the funds for the expansion of the new Conservation Pavilion, which will house New York State's first Sperm Whale skeleton; the opening of the historic 1894 Wright House to public visitation; and the renovation of the existing gallery space and gift shop.

    Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

    $ 125,000.00

    The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame will use tourism marketing funding to host and promote a year-long exhibition featuring the life and music of world-renowned music artist Billy Joel with the debut of the "Billy Joel-My Life" exhibit.

    Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum

    $ 500,000.00

    The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will stabilize and restore its shuttered, deteriorating boathouse, and adapt it for educational and recreational use. The project will preserve an important piece of history for future generations to enjoy. The stabilized boathouse will attract heritage tourism, benefit local businesses, and stimulate economic growth. It will serve as an educational resource, with programs and events that promote maritime history and cultural learning.


    Mid-Hudson

    Boscobel

    $ 250,000.00

    Boscobel is a nonprofit museum established sixty years ago and is now an esteemed Historic House Museum containing one of the finest collections of decorative arts from the Federal period. Boscobel Restoration, Inc. has a larger campus-wide capital improvement plan they will be undertaking intending to secure Boscobel as a thriving cultural site and community resource, focused on serving a wider audience through programming that explores nature, design, and history. This phase of the project will increase public access and safety; become a hub for regional visitors; and improve traffic congestion by streamlining vehicles entering and departing the site. To improve climate resiliency and mitigate flooding, Boscobel will convert a significant portion of its site to a native planting meadow in addition to installing a new maintenance barn with photovoltaic panels.

    Dia Beacon

    $ 1,397,000.00

    Dia Art Foundation will use tourism capital funding to support a portion of the costs to develop a landscape design project that will convert the museum’s large south lawn space into a public outdoor area with walkable connections to the Beacon Train Station and the regional trail network.

    Storm King Art Center

    $ 141,750.00

    Storm King Art Center will use the funds to support marketing efforts promoting both the opening of the Capital Project and our 2025 Season, the first full season to make use of the Capital Project

    Hudson River Museum

    $ 50,000.00

    Hudson River Museum will use grant funds to develop and promote solar eclipse related programming to increase visitation to this attraction and to the overall Mid-Hudson region.


    Mohawk Valley

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

    $ 232,500.00

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will be launching a marketing initiative focused on Japanese baseball, coinciding with Ichiro Suzuki’s first year of being eligible for election into the Hall of Fame. Known simply as Ichiro by baseball fans around the world, his Induction would be a first for a Japanese player.

    Greater Oneonta Historical Society

    $ 82,500.00

    The Greater Oneonta Historical Society (GOHS) is a non-profit organization that works toward a mission of promoting Greater Oneonta’s past by collecting and preserving authentic objects and documents, disseminating knowledge, and providing stimulating educational experiences through dynamic programs and exhibitions. The Historical Society will replace the brickwork on the Oneonta History Center building located in Downtown Oneonta to adequately secure and protect the building’s exterior and structure, and to keep the center open and accessible.


    New York City

    National September 11 Memorial and Museum

    $ 216,925.00

    The National September 11 Memorial and Museum will be used to support a portion of the costs to host a commemorative public art installation on the night of September 11, an iconic symbol that both honors those killed and celebrates the unbreakable spirit of New York.

    American Museum of the Moving Image

    $ 150,000.00

    MoMI will present Welcoming the World through Film and Media at MoMI, a year-long marketing campaign to increase regional, national, and international audiences. This marketing will drive visitors to Queens for exhibitions, festivals, film screenings, and promotional events, bringing economic benefits to MoMI and the region.


    North Country

    The Fort Ticonderoga Association

    $ 660,000.00

    The Fort Ticonderoga Association will create a marketing plan to promote and market northern New York historic sites, including Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga, and other New York State Historic Sites as part of the national 250th commemorative period

    Historic Saranac Lake

    $ 115,000.00

    Historic Saranac Lake will perform repairs to the historic slate roof at the Saranac Laboratory Museum in Saranac Lake, New York. The repairs will protect and stabilize this architecturally and historically important building that is a center for downtown revitalization.


    Southern Tier

    Tanglewood Nature Center

    $ 600,000.00

    Tanglewood Community Nature Center, Inc. will use the capital tourism grant funds to support a portion of the costs to construct a Canopy Walkway in the heart of the Southern Tier REDC and Finger Lakes Tourism Region, providing residents and tourists with a new perspective of the natural environment, bringing people eye-level with the tree canopy and its many inhabitants.


    Western New York

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House

    $ 50,000.00

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House will use grant funding to increase marketing efforts to boost off-season visitation to this exceptional historic site and the Western NY region during the off-season months.

    Old Fort Niagara Association

    $ 50,000.00

    Old Fort Niagara Association will be used to support a marketing campaign focused on raising awareness of Old Fort Niagara, a significant historical attraction in Western NY, keeping the Fort top-of-mind for locals and tourists.

    The Aquarium of Niagara

    $ 100,000.00

    The Aquarium of Niagara will use grant funds to amplify the Aquarium of Niagara’s planned marketing efforts to celebrate the opening of Great Lakes 360. This campaign will drive local, regional, and international visitation towards the Aquarium’s largest expansion, connecting guests with wildlife found in the Great Lakes region.


    The application for Empire State Development Grant funds remains open, and applications are being reviewed on an on-going basis until funds are exhausted. Applicants with strong, shovel-ready projects that align with the state and region's economic development priorities can apply through the Consolidated Funding Application.


    Learn more: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-more-57-million-awarded-through-round-xiii-regional-economic 

  • October 26, 2023 9:58 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Haverstraw Brick Museum is rebuilding its facilities in a $3 million renovation project to create a state-of-the-art museum. The renovation will increase the museum’s capacity to offer educational and public programming and restore the original 19th-century structure. It will add space for the museum’s collection, archives, staff offices, a terrace roof garden, and an ADA-compliant back entrance.  They will also create the “Center for Innovation,” a space dedicated to examining historical and contemporary fine art and architectural tradecrafts that use clay as a creative and construction medium. 


    “The original concept for the expansion and renovation began as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awarded by Governor Hochul in 2022 to Haverstraw in partnership with the Village of Ossining,” said Rachel Whitlow, Executive Director of the Haverstraw Brick Museum. “Haverstraw and Ossining are sister villages located across the Hudson River from each other. The idea was that both waterfronts and main streets would berevitalized together. The museum was awarded $1.5 million from this grant.” 

    Founded in 1995, the Haverstraw Brick Museum preserves the history of the brick industry of North Rockland County. The museum is located on Main Street and is within walking distance to the Village Hall, schools, and the community center. “There is three miles of unused riverfront,” said Whitlow. “The remaining riverfront property is included in the Downtown Revitalization project with a hotel, restaurant, and housing development , connecting Main Street with the riverfront. Because the museum is located on Main Street, we are part of this revitalization.” 

    In 1815, brick-making was one of the Hudson River Valley’s most profitable and largest industries with brickyards stretching as far north as Albany. By the 1880s, there were over 40 brickyards in the Haverstraw area with brick-making the dominant profession. With easy access to New York City via the Hudson River, and to the west via the Erie Canal, over 300 million bricks from 41 brickyards were shipped out of Haverstraw each year. Building construction in New York City was using one billion bricks annually from the Rockland County area. 

    “Bricks from this small village created the infrastructure for two thirds of New York City,” said Whitlow. “New York City is home to some of the largest infrastructure construction and residential buildings in the world. It’s the Lincoln and the Brooklyn Battery tunnels, and neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Harlem. Most of Harlem was built with bricks from Haverstraw.” 

    With new programming and this expansion, the museum plans on sharing more of the stories of the brick workers as well. “The Village of Haverstraw is one of the oldest continuously integrated Sanctuary Towns that provided an opportunity for foreign immigrants and African Americans who came North in the  The Great Migration to work and live. Their combined labors contributed to building one of the greatest cities in the world.” During the Great Migration in the early 20th century, Black Southerners were recruited by brickyard owners, who would pay for their travel expenses. 60% of the workforce in the brickyards of Haverstraw were Black. “This is significant information that we want to share, especially with people who live in New York City. It will be a main focus on the first floor of the new museum.” 

    The Building

    “Our project theme is ‘learn the past, discover the future.’ The museum design  incorporates this perspective with the front of the building restored to the 1800s and the rear incorporating more contemporary brick designs.”


    The collections storage and kilns for the museum’s Center for Ceramic Innovation will be located in the basement. 

    The first floor is designed around a large central space exhibition space dedicated to Haverstraw’s history from 1616 to the 1940s. It will focus on brickyard history, immigration and migration, steam-driven innovations, geology, and earth science, and will host community programs.

    The second floor’s  Center for Innovation is designed for hands-on learning and includes the Center for Ceramic Innovation, a 3D printing lab, classroom space, and artists in resident exhibition spaces. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded $40,000 to the museum to create this maker space for ceramic art and new brick construction. “Our goal is to draw visitors and tourists from all over the world as the brick industry once did,” said Whitlow. “Through the Center, we will offer after-school programs, residency programs for visiting artists and architects, and hands-on learning for our local students and community center. “ It’s going to be our place to experiment and play.”

    The third floor is dedicated to the museum’s research library, paper and photo archives, staff offices,and meeting rooms. “Our archives go back to the 1700s and only about 1% are on display now. We hope to create a public research library for our paper and photographic archives.”

    The roof design includes sculptures, native plants, a butterfly garden, and “New Brick” living sculptures from the collection. “The fourth floor will be our place of discovery and our environmental teaching center will focus on telling the story of the impact of the Hudson River as an economic driver and as an estuary. Most of the brickyards along the Hudson River are now underwater. Years of use had a tremendous impact on the environment and the shoreline of the Hudson. ” Haverstraw hopes to join other New York climate-smart communities by focusing on renewable energy throughout DRI building initiatives. 

    The museum previously underwent a $45,000 renovation in 2019 that included building repairs as well as an exhibition reinstallation. The museum currently operates in a 2,000-square-foot space. “Sometimes being small can be an advantage because you can pivot quickly,” said Whitlow. It also allowed the museum to focus on strategic partnerships with the Croton Aqueduct for exhibitions and programming. The museum gets about 4,000 visitors annually, many of them from school groups. “The strongest part of our programming is our STEAM education. The idea of play is part of our philosophy that innovation comes from exploration. How do we give students today the ability to do that?” 

    Whitlow anticipates it will take six years to complete  the project. “Being in the heart of downtown makes us a resource for the local community and that aligns with our mission that includes providing a unique perspective into America’s cultural heritage.We are excited for this project to attract more visitors to the museum and to Haverstraw.” 


    Learn more about the Haverstraw Brick Museum: https://www.haverstrawbrickmuseum.org/ 

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