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Letters From Erika: What I Learned in Cooperstown

April 23, 2019 2:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Dear Members, Friends, and Colleagues,

Each and every time I attend an event where groups of museum people come together, I learn something new. In Cooperstown, I learned about how the museum field is changing, how we iterate faster as technology expands our reach, and how, when facing challenges, if we work together we can reach new levels of excellence.

I am also struck by the ways in which MANY is changing because who joins us at the table has changed. John Duane Kingsley, Zach N Bowman, and Danielle Bennett filled a room passed capacity for the panel discussion “The Present is Queer: Case Studies & Strategies for LGBTQ+ Representation in US Museums.” On his travels home, John wrote a Facebook post in which he shared, “Having attended MANY conferences in the past, the conference had largely served as an echo chamber for the same institutions and voices. It did a wonderful job of connecting small museums and empowering them with tools to maintain their operations but did little to challenge the status quo. This year’s conference changed that mode entirely.” MANY does not exist in a small room in Troy that overlooks the Hudson River, we exist in the places graced by the energy people bring and what and how they share.

At this year’s annual conference the weather smiled on us, we had a beautiful place to gather, and generous host museums to welcome us. If you were among the 446 museum professionals who joined us in Cooperstown, thank you for the journey, your time, and your expertise.

Planning has already begun for “The Power of Partnership,” our 2020 annual conference. Downtown Albany will roll out the red carpet for us and members of the local planning committee are cooking up unique experiences that showcase how partnering institutions create a cultural community together.

With the help of those who have taken our 2019 survey of the field, I have learned that what we know about our members and colleagues is also changing. Although we have heard from more than 10% of our state’s museums, we want to include as many of you as possible. Please know that your voice matters, and your data counts, click here and take the survey! Your legislators, members of the Board of Regents, and the Governor’s office are waiting to learn about The State of New York State Museums.


Thank you for your support, e


Erika Sanger

Executive Director, MANY

The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

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

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