On March 25, 2020, the Senate voted unanimously, 96-0 in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 27, the CARES Act passed the House and was signed into law. This $2.2 trillion CARES Act economic stabilization plan allocated $200 million in supplemental funding to assist cultural institutions affected by the coronavirus. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received $75 million to allow cultural organizations to retain staff to preserve and curate humanities collections, advance humanities research, and maintain buildings and core operations. $75 million was appropriated to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) to fund current and recent arts endowment grantees, and subgranting funds for local arts agencies. $50 million was designated to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including by expanding digital network access, purchasing Internet accessible devices, and providing technical support services to their communities. New York State museums received just over $5.3 million in federal funding through the CARES Act in 37 grants.
National Endowment for the Humanities
Twenty three museums in all ten of New York State’s REDC districts received NEH CARES Act Funding totaling $3,356,134. Most funding allocated retained museum staff and to fund digital and distance learning resources.
NEH Funding to NYS Museums
Historic Cherry Hill
The retention of two staff members to expand remote learning opportunities about African Americans at Historic Cherry Hill
Seward House Museum
Retention of the only two full-time education positions currently staffed at the Seward House Museum for the development of digital learning materials and expanded public access to digital archives.
George Eastman Museum
Retention of 19 full-time employees to sustain, expand, and institutionalize the museum’s digital programs. The project will digitize and create online access to films, webinars, artist talks, online videos, and virtual tours of the Eastman Museum and collections. Audio tours and podcasts for the mansion, garden, and exhibitions will also be produced.
Putnam History Museum
The retention of three existing positions and the creation of a new project manager position to adapt three planned exhibitions for outdoor display on museum grounds and create related digital content.
Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages
Continued employment of museum educators to enhance and expand virtual learning opportunities for K–12 students.
Katonah Museum of Art
The retention of five staff members to produce a variety of humanities-based online programming for adults and children.
Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center
Needs assessment and planning for digitization and web publication of collections documenting Edward Hopper’s early life, with funding to support three staff members and one consultant.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.
Salaries for museum staff who will create virtual education experiences and access to the museum’s digital collection.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
The hiring of a full-time staff member and the retention of another part-time staff member to continue an ongoing multimedia project showcasing a nineteenth-century American decorative arts collection.
New York City
American Museum of the Moving Image
The retention of seven staff members, plus additional staff and consultants, to update digital platforms, expand content for online exhibitions, and conduct public and scholarly programs.
Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum
The retention of four staff to make the museum’s digital archive more accessible and develop six humanities-based “digital features.”
American Folk Art Museum
The retention of twelve staff to develop and implement online programming, website upgrades, and strategic planning.
American Jewish Historical Society
Retention of six staff members to present live-streamed programs with the archivist and historian guiding audiences in the examination and contextualization of historical documents.
Center for Jewish History
The rehiring of two employees, and restoration of hours and salaries for 21 other core staff, who would ensure ongoing and expanded access to sources held by the nation’s largest repository of archival materials on Jewish-American history and culture.
The retention of twenty-two staff members to develop and produce online programming on the Frick collection.
Jazz Museum in Harlem
Retention of a senior scholar to curate the museum’s online content.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
The retention of sixteen permanent staff to expand walking tours, conduct research, and develop a new exhibit.
Museum of the City of New York
A multi-part series of programs that includes documentation and collections activities focused on experiences of New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Friends of Alice Austen House, Inc.
The retention of five staff members to implement a virtual tour and related resources.
North Country Children’s Museum
Six months of salary for the executive director.
Fort Ticonderoga Association
Development of online education resources for grades 3—12 and increased accessibility of more than 5,000 items from its collection.
History Center in Tompkins County
Retention of four key staff members who will work to enhance youth programs, increase archival digitization, and expand online exhibits for the public.
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
The retention of six employees and rehiring of one from furlough to produce and distribute a collection of history podcasts, videos, virtual events, and online exhibitions.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES NEH CARES GRANT AWARDS AND OFFERS
National Endowment for the Arts
Eight New York State museums were awarded a fixed amount of $50,000 each totalling $400,000 in funding from the NEA. These funds were only available to organizations that had received an NEA award within the past four years. Nationally, only 3,700 organized qualified.
NEA Funding to NYS Museums
Albany Institute of History & Art
Long Island Children’s Museum
New York City
Queens Museum of Art
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Studio Museum in Harlem
Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
Friends of Alice Austen House
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS CARES Act Grant Announcement
nstitute of Museum and Library Services
IMLS awarded $13.8 million to 68 museums and libraries in CARES Act Grants. 1,701 organizations applied for funding requesting $409,251,399. Five New York State museums received $1,299,907 including the Museum Association of New York for “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility” Project supporting 100 museums with hardware, software, and training to develop virtual programs focused on stories from their collections revealing cultural and racial diversity within their communities.
IMLS Funding to NYS Museums
Iroquois Indian Museum
In response to increased interest in digital experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iroquois Indian Museum will create and launch eight virtual tours. The tours will highlight Iroquois and Haudenosaunee culture, including an introduction to the Iroquois and its communities, its relationship with nature, early technology, formation of the confederacy, oral history and storytelling, stereotypes, and the unwritten language of Wampum. The series will kick off with a live virtual opening reception of the museum's new feature gallery exhibit, Identity/Identify, which was originally scheduled to open in April 2020. The virtual visits will be freely accessible on the museum's website.
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
The Intrepid Museum will develop and deliver virtual education programs to approximately 12,000 New York residents over two years. The museum will produce educator-ready resource sets for virtual synchronous teaching on 20 distinct multidisciplinary topics, with modifications for specific audience types. Each set will include an interactive lesson plan, links to freely available EdTech resources, and embedded formative assessment tools. The museum will share project materials with local and state library systems to address capacity challenges that some library systems are experiencing in their efforts to serve their audiences in this transitional time. The sets will also be accessible on the museum's website for audiences who prefer to experience these programs on their own time. The project's overarching goal is to contribute to the overall social-emotional wellbeing of its diverse audiences, channeling positive energy, and providing opportunities for social connections.
International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience's "Sites of Conscience: Strengthening Museums to Foster Social Resilience" project will equip leaders from 10 museums, serving over a million visitors annually, to help its communities emerge stronger from the pandemic. Through a targeted training program, group mentoring, and one-on-one support, two museum leaders from each of the 10 museums and historic sites will gain the skills needed to address the community needs they have identified as priorities and support the resilience of community members affected disproportionately by COVID-19. Following the training program, each museum will receive a stipend to launch an innovative, community-centered engagement program that serves its specific local needs. A robust evaluation plan will measure the impact of the synchronous virtual training on the museum professionals and the impact of the community projects on local audiences.
Everson Museum of Art
The Everson Museum of Art will build on its early efforts to serve its community through a variety of virtual programs during the pandemic. From artist studio tours to in-depth object studies to downloadable artmaking projects for kids and guided virtual exhibition tours, the museum's new online opportunities provide flexible, cost-effective access to its collection, exhibitions, and expertise. The staff will improve its digital presence by developing live 30-minute virtual lessons that combine an online tour using 360-degree video technology, guided by a trained museum educator who joins the group via video-conference technology. The programs will be designed to support age-specific learning goals and stimulate a level of engagement and curiosity similar to an in-person visit. Project evaluation will include participation tracking, collection of demographic data, and both quantitative and qualitative participant feedback.
American Libraries and Museums Awarded $13.8 Million in IMLS CARES Act Grants
Federal Funding to Humanities NY and NYSCA
Additionally, federal funding was also appropriated to state grant making organizations to re-distribute funding. Humanities NY awarded nearly $1M in federal funding to 197 NY cultural nonprofits ranging from $2,500 to $15,000. Humanities NY reviewed 325 applications requesting nearly $3M in funding. 106 museums were awarded a total of $533,450. View the fill list of HNY CARES Grants.
The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) was awarded $580,000 from the NEA. Funds were intended to assist arts organizations and their employees in enduring the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to COVID-19. To be eligible museums must have been awarded a general operating grant from NYSCA in fiscal year 2020 either through a new grant or as part of an ongoing multi-year grant, have no more than $1.5M in total organizational revenue, and have no outstanding NYSCA grant reports. NYSCA awarded four museums $10,000 each: Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, Ganondagan State Historic Site, Schweinfurth Art Center, and the Whaling Museum and Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor.
Read more about the CARES Act funding here.