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Letter from Erika: How Are You? How Are You Really?

July 31, 2023 8:07 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

Broken Millstone, Whitney Plantation

Dear Members, Friends, and Colleagues,

At a friend’s birthday party last week, I had a conversation with someone who works at a food co-op about what it was like to be an essential worker at the height of the pandemic. After a rambling discussion, they said “can you believe we made it through that?” and since it was a party, I smiled and replied that I felt lucky to be here. What I didn’t say is that I know that many of us have mended, but have still not “made it through.” 

As the MANY staff traveled around the state this year, we heard first hand that attendance at most museums has not returned to 2019 levels, that many are having trouble filling staff positions, and that operational changes are essential for the future of museums. We learned that recovery remains inconsistent from city to city, region to region, and discipline to discipline. We also learned that federal relief funding, grants from the state and private foundations, and community support made a real difference. 

The reported statistics in the American Alliance of Museums 2023 Annual National Snapshot of United States Museum Survey, echo many of the stories we hear firsthand. The national data that AAM collects each year illustrates the continuing impact of the pandemic. It has been almost three years since MANY has asked our members and colleagues to share information about how the pandemic has affected your museum. But with the occasion of AAM’s publication, we thought it was the right time to ask (just seventeen questions, eleven are multiple choice) so we can compare data from New York’s museums with some of the national data. 

Click here to respond to the survey using your information from 2022 or from the end of your last fiscal year. It may help to have your annual report with you when you answer the survey that should take less than six minutes of your time. A pdf of the survey questions can be found here

The survey will remain open until 5 PM on August 18 and we will share the NY data in comparison to the national data soon after. 

With thanks advance for sharing your information and hopes that you are taking time to enjoy the summer, 

Erika Sanger

Executive Director

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. 

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