NYS Capitol Building in Albany, NY
Dear Members of the MANY Museum Community,
This fall we saw hundreds of museum professionals at Meet Ups and Workshops in every region of our state. We were immersed in planning the programs and events for the 2020 annual conference and developing new member benefits, including a partnership with the New York Council for Non Profits that will allow MANY members access to NYCON services at greatly reduced rates.
When I look back at our fall calendar, I am filled with gratitude for our hosts and our program attendees. I am also grateful for support from our elected officials. Behind all the public facing work we have done this year to support best practices and professional development, there has been another project quietly developing.
I am pleased to share the news that on October 28, New York State Senator José M. Serrano introduced Bill #6819 which is an act to amend the arts and cultural affairs law in relation to providing financial assistance to museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and other cultural institutions located in low-income urban, suburban, or rural communities, or that provide educational services to such communities, otherwise known as The Museum Education Act. We extend our thanks to Senator Serrano for his leadership and bill sponsors Senators Comrie, Hoylman, Kennedy, Little, Lou, May, Ortt, and Sanders. This new bill would allow funding to museums chartered by New York State Ed as well as to museums chartered by the Secretary of State or other legislative action. These two changes to the proposed law greatly expand the number of museums who would be eligible for funding. While we are awaiting confirmation about the bill’s introduction in the Assembly, we were pleased to learn this week that the new acting commissioner of the State Education Department, Shannon Tahoe will include the Museum Education Act in her budget testimony.
I will be testifying on December 12 at a public hearing conducted by the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports. The focus of the hearing is to examine the enacted 2019/2020 budget as it relates to the funding of art and cultural institutions. I will share information about museum capital funding needs, challenges with the application process, and capital projects completed or underway. We have some great data from our State of New York State Museums Survey (report coming soon!) but if you did not participate in the survey or would like to send an update about your capital needs or your projects, please send me an email and let me know what you are working on in your museum.
In other Advocacy news, registration is open for AAM’s Museums Advocacy Day that will be held February 23-25, 2020 in Washington DC. In 2019, New York had the largest delegation of any state in the nation. We had great fun talking to our Congressional Representatives and their staff about the importance of museums to our state and our nation. If you have ever thought about joining us at Museums Advocacy Day, with the 2020 election coming up, this is the year to do it!
It is taking many hands to build this bigger platform that will help create a stronger voice in advocacy and expanded funding streams for all of our state’s museums. We will need museum professionals from all of state’s museum, no matter your budget size, discipline, or location to speak up in 2020 and share with your elected officials how your museum makes a difference in your community. We also need your support to make all that we do possible. Each and every donation, no matter the amount allows us to help you. Making a donation to MANY is easy. Just click here and help us help you amplify all the great work being done in New York’s Museums.
Assemblyperson Jonathan G. Jacobson (left) from NYS Assembly District 104 attends the Hudson Valley meet-up at Dia:Beacon and gives remarks.