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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 

  • January 25, 2022 5:25 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    MANY members on our 60th birthday, 1/25/22


    Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Members,

    This winter the Hudson River has frozen over so hard that Ice Yachts are sailing across and down the River. It is a tradition that dates back to the nineteenth century. On January 25, we marked sixty years of the Museum Association of New York serving our state. I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about our traditions.

    I was going to write this letter about our past and recount all we have accomplished for our museum community. But news of the pandemic this morning reminded me that we can not repeat the past, we can only move forward differently.

    MANY’s past is documented on paper stored in cardboard boxes stacked in our Troy office. It is also in the collective memories of three generations of museum professionals who have gathered and learned together under the MANY banner.

    The ways we gather and learn together will continue to change in 2022. We are pleased to announce that the free, virtual series “Museums Support Democracy” produced in partnership with Museum Hue will begin on Friday, February 25. These programs will explore Museums and Civil Rights, Protest Through Visual and Performance Art, Environmental Justice, Healing Historical Legacies, Ethical Collections, Expanding Interpretive Lenses, and Citizenship. Each topic will be presented and discussed by museum professionals from a broad range of locations and disciplines featuring the work of culturally responsive museums.

    I hope you can join us virtually on Friday, April 1 at noon for our annual business meeting, welcome the members of our board of directors class of 2022-2025, and thank those stepping down who have so generously served the field. Registration for these programs will open soon!

    Registration for the 2022 annual conference in Corning, NY will open on February 7th. Attendance will be limited so we can maintain the highest levels of safety protocols. Special events will be organized in small group gatherings. I look forward to seeing all who can join us in person in Corning.

    The Google pins that cover the state on our member map bring me joyful reminders of travels across the state and visits to museums. In most cases, I can put a face and an image with each pin. On these cold winter days, the wind off the frozen Hudson brings warm memories of all of you. I send sincerest wishes for everyone’s health and safety as we strive to find meaningful ways to keep our community connected.

     

    With thanks and hope in my heart,

     



  • January 25, 2022 3:57 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In November 2021, The Wild Center sent a ten-person delegation to Scotland to attend COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. The Museum was one of only two museums in the world to participate as observers in the Blue Zone–the area of COP where the international climate change negotiations take place and only accredited individuals and organizations are permitted within the Blue Zone. Youth climate leaders and delegates participated in the Conference of Youth (COY) – the largest youth conference related to UN climate processes. 


    The Wild Center COP26 Press Conference

    What is COP26?

    COP26 stands for the Conference of the Parties. Each year, 197 countries come together to agree on a path for climate action. The 26th gathering was held in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1st to the 12th, 2021. 

    During COP26, countries reviewed the progress made since the signing of the 2015 Paris Agreement and worked on developing a concrete plan to meet the targets outlined in that agreement. 


    Observer Status

    “Any organization can apply to attend a UN COP event, the process is quite involved and takes close to two years from start to finish, requiring multiple steps and approval process,” said Jen Kretser, Director of Climate Initiatives at The Wild Center. There are three categories of participants at UN meetings – representatives of countries known as Parties, press and media, and Observers. “The Wild Center has official NGO Observer status and we’ve had that status since the late 2000’s,” said Kretser. “Our first UN event was COP21 in Paris in 2015 and we also were a witness to the historic signing of the Paris Climate Treaty at the UN in New York city in 2016. It was an extraordinary honor to be one of two museums in the world that attended and represented the cultural sector.” This accreditation status allowed Youth Climate Program delegates inside access to panels and discussions closed to the public. 

    The Wild Center also presented with two other cultural organizations, the Science Center of Minnesota and the Phipps Conservancy in partnership with America is All In at the US Climate Action Center in a session titled Culture Over Carbon: The US Cultural Sector Advancing Climate Action. “As trusted members of communities, museums are in a unique position to serve as catalysts for addressing issues of critical importance to society–whether it’s hunger, poverty, gender equity or climate action,” said Kretser. 


    The Wild Center’s Delegation

    The Wild Center delegation included six college students and recent graduates who presented in multiple events throughout the conference and posted regular updates of their observations online. Youth delegates included Andrew Fagerheim from Columbia University; Gina Fiorile, Coordinator, Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network at the University of Colorado-Boulder; Elise Pierson from St. Lawrence University; Silas Swanson from Columbia University, Witter Swanson Sustainable Energy Advantage, Boston, MA; and Emma Venarde from Brown University. The Wild Center also sent three members of its leadership team; Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees Karen Thomas, Director of Climate Initiatives Jen Kretser, and Executive Director Stephanie Radcliffe. 

    “Youth voices need to be part of the discussion on climate change action because you are going to be needed for leading climate change action,” said Radliffe. “Our Youth Climate Program has already empowered thousands of students around the world to be forces for change in their communities. Participating in COP26 is an incredible opportunity for our delegates not just to be heard, but to gain critical understanding into the way power works–and how they use it.”


    Inside the Blue Zone at COP29. Left to right are Andrew Fagerheim and Silas Swanson from Columbia University and Jen Kretser, Director of Climate Initiatives at The Wild Center.

    The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program (YCP) is a global initiative that works to convene, inspire, and network young people through youth climate summits, empowering them to lead and act on climate change solutions in their schools and communities. At the center of the program is a two-day retreat, the annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit that brings together over 200 high school and college students to learn about climate change. 

    “The Wild Center has long believed in the power of youth voice to galvanize climate action,” said Kretser. Since the first Adirondack Youth Climate Summit in 2009, The Wild Center has worked to grow the network of Youth Climate Summits around the world as well as to support student-led climate action projects, and elevate youth voices for climate action. Using The Wild Center’s Adirondack Youth Climate Summit as a model, students as far away as Sri Lanka have implemented solutions in their own schools and communities. So far, almost 100 Youth Climate Summits have been held in seven countries.“The current generation of youth will be the most impacted by the effects of climate change throughout their lifetimes,” said Kretser. “[they] are the last generation with the change to lessen the impact. In climate negotiations and discussions at all scales, youth input is critical to ensure that climate targets, goals, and plans will result in a liveable future for younger generations.”

     

    Centered –Gina Fiorile, Program and Communication Coordinator for the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) leads a youth panel discussion.


    Takeaways and Next Steps for The Wild Center

    Among some of the key takeaways for The Wild Center Delegation was that local action matters a great deal. “While actions at an international and/or national scale can feel far away and overwhelming, actions at the community, regional, and state scale are manageable and achievable,” said Ketser. “The Wild Center recognizes that in order for our world to thrive, climate change must be addressed robustly across all sectors of society.”

    Partnerships and collaborations are essential to our ability to reach a just and equitable transformation to a low-carbon society. “We met so many incredible people from around the world, all doing amazing work on climate change,” said Ketser. “It was inspiring to meet a team from Bangladesh who are working on building floating schools, hospitals, and even gardens to adapt to rising sea levels. Or a youth activist from Rwanda who is planting 10,000 food-producing trees across her country to help reforest and feed her people. Or an organization in Chicago that is connecting youth around the world on climate and water issues.”

    The Wild Center plans to continue to build its global network of summits through its free online planning toolkit and monthly network calls to support summits. As part of the Youth Climate Program, The Wild Center will host a Climate Change Education Institute for Educators and a Youth Climate Leadership Retreat in the Adirondacks in partnership with the Finger Lakes Institute and funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Environmental Literacy grants program. 

    “It is our mission to offer the public scientifically based examples and stories of how communities can work together to find solutions here in the Adirondacks and beyond through our Youth Climate Program and our new Climate Solutions exhibition and experience opening in the summer of 2022.”

    The ClimateSolutions exhibition and experience was awarded $249,549 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2019 and is set to open in July 2022. “It’s a museum-wide initiative comprising a new long-term exhibition, with enhancements to exhibitions found throughout The Wild Center,” said Kretser. The core of the Solutions exhibition is a 3,000 square foot space featuring large-scale imagery, video, interactive activities, and first-person accounts from leaders in climate solutions as well as those most impacted by climate change, including youth and indigenous communities. Solutions also includes a hands-on experimental studio and education programs for K-12 students and general audiences. “Climate Solutions will focus on the people and innovations working to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change in the northeast and around the globe,” said Kretser. 

    “We want to use our presence at COP26 to drive a greater awareness of the power of our Youth Climate Summit model,” said Ratcliffe. “But we also want to use our participation to highlight to all our visitors that they can take action also. This work needs to be done on multiple levels. We’re all responsible for doing what we can.”


    Learn more about The Wild Center’s participation in COP26: https://www.wildcenter.org/our-work/cop26/
  • January 25, 2022 3:55 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In September 2021, the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) and the Children’s Museum at Saratoga (CMAS) signed a management agreement. They will reopen in June of 2022 at a new shared location at the Lincoln Bathhouse in Saratoga Spa State Park. This new space will create a regional children’s museum with CMAS managing all aspects of operations, programming, and administration and CMOST expanding their programming. This relocation will feature a larger space with new exhibitions, interactives, classroom space and access to the natural resources and amenities of the State Park. 

    CMAS Executive Director Sarah Smith and CMAS Board President David Martin speak at the groundbreaking. Photo courtesy of Melissa Schuman, MediaNews Group.

    Strength in Partnership

    CMOST and CMAS have a long history of collaboration and partnership. Current CMAS Executive Director Sarah Smith previously served as the CMOST Executive Director. Smith left CMOST in November 2019 to join the staff at CMAS and immediately began working with CMOST to share resources, including sharing staff.  “By that December we actually contracted to share the development officer between both museums with a 50/50 split,” said Smith. “Those sorts of resource sharing began at that point and it was similar to what happened previously. My predecessor had been the director of education at CMOST and then she wrecked at CMAS and I followed that same trajectory.” Sharing staff helped both museums continue programs while providing salary and benefit support. 

    When the pandemic forced both museums to close their doors to the public, potential merger discussions accelerated. Smith cited the importance of fulfilling the missions of both organizations and that was reaching the children. “We saw that our friends were in trouble and we [CMAS] went ahead and served those people that were traditionally served by CMOST.” CMAS raised money from companies including Regeneron and Capcom to create 6,000 hands-on science-based learning kits and distributed them to Boys and Girls Club of Troy. “The kits were delivered to public housing, along with food provided by the Boys and Girls Club,” said Smith. The kits were also distributed throughout the Capital Region YMCA. “We continued to send out materials and information and provided our online resources and we reached close to 200,000 people that first year through online programming. We just felt very strongly that by serving the public that was traditionally served by both museums without financial gain, fulfilling the mission was critical and that really laid the groundwork for this merger.” CMAS and CMOST saw a partnership agreement as an opportunity to expand programming to reach most students and families as a regional organization. CMAS plans on utilizing CMOST programs to create hybrid and virtual versions to expand their reach throughout and beyond the Capital Region. 

    CMAS and CMOST announced their formal management agreement in September with the intent to merge in the future. CMOST, which closed its location in the early days of the pandemic in North Greenbush, will not reopen to the public. Both museums will initially continue to operate under their own brand identities as they work toward a combined entity, joint programming, and a new shared location at the Lincoln Bathhouse in Saratoga Spa State Park. 

    Reimaging a Space for the Future

    Second-floor rendering at the Lincoln Bathhouse

    Built in the 1920s and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lincoln Bathhouse is located in Saratoga Spa State Park. The State Park is the home to arts and cultural organizations including the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, and the National Museum of Dance. CMAS signed a lease with NYS parks in April 2021 and hired Bonacio Construction, Peter Hyde Design, M. Catton & Co., Envision Design, and Empire Exhibits and Design for the renovation and redevelopment.

    The museum space will be 16,000 square feet (double the size of the old CMAS location on Caroline Street). “This building deserves to be a children’s museum. It’s such a beautiful building and we like that it was a healthcare facility,” said Smith. “Even before COVID times, cleanliness was a big concern for children’s museums, and this space has materials that are easy to clean.” The building also has a 4,000 square foot interior courtyard that Smith is excited to incorporate into the exhibition spaces. “We knew we needed more space and we knew how imperative it was to have access to the natural world. This [interior courtyard] was a huge selling point for us.” Exhibitions will be inside and out and will occupy two floors of the bathhouse. 

    Both museums plan on designing spaces that have an emphasis on universal access, building on their existing goals of hands-on learning. Large scale building sets from CMOST and other CMOST exhibitions will be incorporated into the exhibition including the imagination blue box and rigamajig skyline toolbox. Many exhibitions will be updated in order to meet accessibility requirements to make them more inclusive as well as create an exhibition floor with sightlines from one end to the other. 

    Most of the exhibitions will be housed on the second floor, accessible by elevator, with a target age range of zero to 12. The museum will use labels and icons for children in pre-literacy stages. The science gallery that will be located in the middle of the exhibition floor is intended for all age ranges and encourages families to learn together. Programs will target older children. 

    Rending of the fire station interactive exhibition.

    “We will also be able to tell the story of the building itself and the park,” said Smith. “I think it’s important that New York State bought this land to preserve its natural resources. It’s super early environmentalism which ties into the environmental science we teach.” Design plans include tracing some of the mechanicals on the ceiling of the second floor. “We want to articulate the engineering systems so when we’re talking about taking kids and teaching them a little bit about architecture we can also talk about the bigger picture using this building,” said Smith. “I think we call it preschool to trade…giving kids other paths that are more hands-on and really engaged in building trades like plumbing and carpentry. It’ll be creating maker space-type activities.” 

    Funding

    Renovations to the Lincoln Bathhouse began in November.  The entire project is expected to cost $3.5 million. Empire State Development awarded the project $600,000 and over $2.3 million was raised from a combination of corporate and individual sponsors. 

    CMAS is also selling its building at 69 Caroline Street and will use those funds towards renovations. The building and its adjacent parking lot are listed at $2.25 million. Smith said that in its fundraising efforts, the museum plans on setting aside funds to help create an endowment that will grow over time. “It’s something that we haven’t had and it’s important to have protected funds to help our financial future. We’re planning for the future, so we have a little bit of money from our incredibly generous corporate sponsors and generous private foundations. We’re still not done with fundraising.” 

    Future Impact

    The museum expects to serve close to 100,000 people a year and will offer outreach education programs in school districts in 11 counties across the Capital Region and beyond. “This operating agreement and potential merger between these two organizations has really enhanced our reach,” said Smith. “The financial acumen and business practices of CMAS with the programming success and outreach at CMOST just shows it’s just such a great idea to leverage the strength of both organizations. This affiliation will capitalize on the strength of each organization while making us more financially stable.” 


    Learn more: https://cmssny.org/about-us/#lincolnbathsproject


  • January 13, 2022 9:43 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    New York State Education Department Historic Marker, 1932, Cooperstown, NY


    Dear Friends, Members, and Colleagues,

    When I was young and was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I didn’t have an answer. I tried being a park ranger, an artist, and a teacher before I found museum education. At the time, being a museum educator encompassed everything I sought in a career. But the thing that kept me motivated in the face of innumerable challenges was that I was able (and required) to continuously learn new things.

    Professional development opportunities for people entering the field may have been more prevalent forty years ago. I regularly attended trainings in content, pedagogy, and administration as I moved forward in my career. Today, the acquisition of a university or college degree can be a barrier for many people interested in museum work. But lack of access to time and money for formal education doesn’t mean that museum professionals must stop learning. In fact, to keep our field vital and current, staff professional development should be a priority no matter the budget size or discipline of a museum.

    We are fortunate that in 2022, the New York State Council on the Arts has made a significant investment in professional development for New York’s museum professionals. With the American Association of State and Local History annual conference in Buffalo, the American Alliance of Museums annual conference in nearby Boston and their virtual museum advocacy training (MANY members get discounted registration), and of course, MANY’s conference in Corning, there are exceptional opportunities to advance your professional practice, build connections, and learn with your colleagues in 2022.

    Applications for New York State Council on the Arts Professional Development grants are due on February 7th, and you can access the application here.

    In 2022, I hope to learn how to be a better listener, grow MANY’s advocacy for New York’s museums, and discover ways to call out things that can create positive change.

    The historic marker pictured above was placed in 1932 as part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Revolution. By the late 1960s, the function of the state’s historic marker program shifted from a short-term commemorative program to a long-term educational program. With all that we have learned in the past 100 years, the approaching 250th anniversary presents us with an opportunity to expand our learning together and change the stories we tell to more accurately reflect the history of all who call New York home. I look forward to learning together this year and changing the things that we can.

     

    With hopes for the new year,

    Erika Sanger


  • December 15, 2021 5:53 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    MANY Board Spotlight: Diane Shewchuk, Curator, Albany Institute of History & Art and MANYBoard Secretary 2022-2025

    A native of New York's Capital Region, Diane Shewchuk has more than 30 years of experience working in museums and historic houses throughout New York State. She has held the positions of Curator at Clermont State Historic Site, Historic Site Manager at John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, and Curator promoted to  Director at the Columbia County Historical Society in Kinderhook. Today she is the Curator at the Albany Institute of History & Art. 

    She has curated numerous exhibitions including Spotlight: Albany and Anti-Suffrage, Well-Dressed in Victorian Albany, and The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle.

    Shewchuk has an MA in Museum Studies: Decorative Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. Throughout her career, she has worked on the treatment of museum collections with conservators at the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites as well as  those in private practice. Shewchuk was elected to the Museum Association of New York Board of Directors in April 2019. We spoke with her to learn more about her path to museums, what she gets excited about in her role, and what motivates her.


    Albany Institute of History & Art Curator Diane Shewchuk speaking with the media at 2019’s The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle Exhibition. Photo courtesy of Albany Institute of History & Art


    MANY: Do you remember your very first museum experience?

    Diane Shewchuk: Maybe it was visiting the Clark [Art Institute] in high school. I’m not really sure. I didn’t grow up going to museums as a child with my parents, so it likely was some school trip. But I was always interested in art and I always liked being surrounded by beautiful art. So I think when I went to the Clark, it was the first place that I really learned to appreciate art. 


    When did you first become interested in art?

    I think it was because I would always do crafts. It goes back to my heritage, making Ukrainian Easter eggs, embroidery, and just learning the traditional arts associated with my culture. I was often representing my community through the arts and then teaching others. 

    My parents didn’t take me to museums but encouraged me to travel when I was in college so I could see great art. I went to study at the Ukrainian University in Rome for a summer where  I got to see my first Michaelangelo. The trips abroad were an important way for me to see great art and great museums. 


    Tell us more about where you grew up and what was it like?

    I was born in Albany but my parents were Ukrainian and came to the United States after World War II. My father was a prisoner of war in Italy and they were both technically born in Poland that is now a part of Ukraine because the border shifted. They ended up meeting each other in the United States and settled in the Capital Region where many other Ukrainians settled. 

    My parents came to this country where everything is new and I think what shocked them is that I wanted to surround myself with old things. They never really understood that because I took a non traditional career path that they didn’t understand. I didn’t become a nurse or teacher or something that they could relate to. 

    It’s hard thinking back and explaining my career choice to my parents. We never spoke English at home. I didn’t even know English until I went to kindergarten. The Ukrainian community is very close. But my parents worked hard so that we (my brother and I) could do the things that they thought were the American dream. I did want to escape, so I went to New York City for grad school for museum studies. 


    What other jobs have you had? What was your journey to get to your current role?

    I liked that throughout my career I have worn many different hats which helped me discover what I like to do and what I don’t like to do. My first museum job out of graduate school was Curator at Clermont State Historic Site. It’s located in a really beautiful setting. Technically I worked for the Friends Group, not the state [NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation ]. I loved that even though historic houses are basically giant exhibitions, you get to tell the story of a family in depth. I liked telling the story of the Livingston family and at that time, many members of the family were still alive. So I got to meet them and that was really exciting.

    After I left Clermont, I did a little bit of consulting work and then worked as the Coordinator of Special Events in the development office at the College of St. Rose in Albany. I learned a lot in the development office and I worked there until the registrar position opened up at the Albany Institute of History & Art. 

    Then I took an opportunity to become the director of the John Jay Historic Site. I moved to Westchester and lived on site in the coachman’s house. I supervised a very large staff with grounds people, education, and worked closely with the sites’ friends group. I relied on my previous connections with conservators from my days at Clermont which helped, but I ultimately didn’t enjoy being a site manager. I didn’t want to do trail maintenance. I didn’t want to worry about rabid animals or hazardous trees. My parents were getting older and I wanted to move back towards Albany to be closer to them. I left and did more consulting work at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, the Shaker Heritage Society, and the Columbia County Historical Society working on object-based cataloging. Eventually, the Columbia Historical Society hired me as a full-time curator, and later on when their director left, I was promoted to curator/director. 

    When the curator position opened at the Albany Institute, I applied and got the job. I was happy to return and I’ve been here for six and half years. 


    What have you learned from those other jobs that have impacted your current role as a curator?

    By working in different departments I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot because I’ve had to do many different jobs. I’ve learned what education does, I’ve learned what development does. I’ve learned even more about special events, the gift shop because when you’re a small site you’re stocking, buying, and selling gift shop items. A curator normally doesn’t learn all of these different roles but because I’ve worked in places with a small staff, you do a little bit of everything, including learning how to manage people. At the John Jay Historic Site, I ended up managing a larger staff. I’ve also done a lot more public speaking than I ever thought I would do. I enjoy speaking to reporters and taking them through the galleries, talking about the shows I’ve curated. I love talking to people about exhibitions. 

    My biggest takeaway from all of my previous roles is maintaining my connections with colleagues. That’s what’s been the most important thing in my career. They’ve helped me be successful in what I do today. I can speed dial a whole group of people and get their help on areas that I’m not an expert in. I’ve had this great honor of working with people in this field. We’re losing generations of historians now and I really feel like my work stands on the back of their work. 


    Diane Shewchuk and Norman S. Rice, Former Curator and Executive Director at the Albany Institute of History of Art of which he was associated for nearly 70 years, starting in 1953. Rice passed away early this year at age 95. Photo courtesy Erika Sanger


    What do you get excited about? What motivates you to do what you do? 

    What gets me excited is that we have this facility at the Albany Institute where I can handle amazing things and share them with the Albany community and other visitors. I love the power of the authentic object. Having a facility where the climate and security are top-notch allows me to dream really big.

    I like getting people excited about history and I will piggyback on things that are popular in pop culture. People think that I curate a lot of costume shows, which I do because we have an audience for that but it’s actually exhibitions about the anti-suffragists [Spotlight: Albany and Anti-Suffrage] and the Schuyler Sisters [The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle] that get me more excited because of their stories and they’re real people. I remember getting the email from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University for Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s wedding ring and it was beyond what I had expected… to get that ring back to Albany where Hamilton put it on her hand. It came here and I never got to touch it, you know, because the courier came and we stitched it into the case, highly alarmed, but it was powerful to  think about what that ring witnessed. 

    I can’t tell the whole story in an exhibition label and that’s why I do a lot of gallery tours. You can only say so much in a label and I really like to tell people what goes into curating an exhibition like that because it helps people from outside the museum world understand. 


    Photo courtesy of Albany Institute of History & Art


    Can you describe a favorite day on the job?

    I love walking through the galleries and seeing people enjoying the exhibitions. Sometimes the most trivial thing has a great story and in the end, I love the objects...they don’t talk back to some people, but they do to me. I can make an object ‘talk’ in different ways and sometimes the same objects are in five different exhibitions for five different reasons. 


    What is your superpower?

    My master’s degree is in museum studies and I study antiques. I got to turn my hobby into a career and I’m incredibly lucky. I work with the museum staff to create the look of the exhibits. I get to create the installations that showcase the objects and the environments to help tell the story. I always knew I’d be in the creative field and I think museums are more creative than people give them credit for. I think that I can create anything on a relatively low budget –which I think is a strength because we often have to stretch small pots of money to fit big projects. 



  • December 15, 2021 5:13 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

    I wake early this time of year to see the glorious colors of winter sunrises. All of us have worked so hard over the past two years, it may be hard to remember that we are just a few days away from the solstice when we can welcome the increasing light. Last week I was in Corning, NY for meetings about our 2022 annual conference. I woke up in our conference hotel and for a moment didn’t quite remember where I was - this tends to happen after a lot of travel. I crossed the room, lifted the shades to watch the sunrise, and was gifted the sight of a bald eagle flying up the Chemung River. 

    We have been challenged this week to keep up with all the announcements of funds granted to New York museums for 2022. There is good news from so many of our funders that renewed my hope for 2022 being a brighter year. 

    Grants to museums from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for general support and recovery totaled almost $7.5 million, including the NYSCA/MANY Capacity Building partnership that will award $500,000 in 100 grants of $5,000 each to museums through a competitive grant program.

    If you received a grant from NYSCA, please take a moment before the end of the year to thank your New York State legislators for their generous appropriation this year. Let them know how the funds will make a difference to your museums and how much we need to maintain, or even increase, the level of funds available to museums for 2023. Not sure who represents you in Albany? You can click here for Assembly Members and here for Senators

    Yesterday, Governor Hochul’s office announced $196 Million in awards through Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. Almost $21 million was awarded to 31 museums for preservation and marketing projects. You can also send a thank you note to Governor Hochul whose unparalleled support for our sector will help us sustain our organizations into the future. 

    Humanities NY announced $360,000 in “SHARP” (Sustaining the Humanities Through the American Rescue Plan) Action Grants to 43 New York cultural nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, HNY announced SHARP general operating grants totaling $710,000 to 67 New York museums.

    Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation awarded IMPACT! Grants totaling $64,323 to seven organizations including three museums. 

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded 33 NY Museums $1,422,104 in American Rescue Plan funds for FY 2021. 

    Earlier this month, MANY asked its members and supporters to help us advocate for state recovery funds by comparing calendar year 2019 to 2021 in a survey of visitor attendance, open hours, staff, and number of school groups. 97 NYS museums of all sizes, locations, and disciplines reported:

    • An average loss in visitor attendance of 48%

    • An average decrease in the number of open hours of 29%

    • An average loss of FT and/or PT staff of 12%

    • An average decrease in K-12 school group visits of 63%


    I look forward to working with you in 2022 to raise awareness of our current needs and to ask for recovery support to allow New York’s museums to reclaim our roles as essential community anchors, economic engines, and tourist destinations. 


    With best wishes for the New Year, e



  • December 15, 2021 5:09 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    This past April, the Strong National Museum of Play broke ground on the second phase of a $75 million, 90,000 square foot expansion that will be the centerpiece of the new Neighborhood of Play in downtown Rochester. Included in this expansion are two exhibitions dedicated to the ways that video games and technology changed play, a state-of-the-art welcome atrium and admissions area, and a new flexible Maker’s Space/Play Lab for interactive workshops, classes, and activities. The expansion is expected to increase annual attendance from 600,000 to nearly 1 million visitors.


    Concept rendering for the gateway building and new wing. Image courtesy of The Strong Museum

    Need for Space

    “Since we opened our doors in 1982, the Strong has always had a kind of philosophy to try to improve and move forward,” said Museum President and CEO Steve Dubnik. “We’re always looking for opportunities to continue to improve and grow so we can present more things.” The Museum has undergone two previous expansions– the first in 1995 that added the atrium and the second in 2006 that added 135,000 square feet for the Museum’s reading adventure land. 

    By the mid-2000’s the Museum realized that video games were an important part of where play was going. “We needed to begin preserving and representing video games in our collection and exhibitions,” said Dubnik. The Museum started seriously collecting video games in 2007 and formed the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Today the collection contains more than 60,000 artifacts and hundreds of thousands of archival materials, including games and the platforms on which they are played on, game packaging and advertising, game-related publications, game-inspired consumer products, and other items that illustrate the impact of electronic games in people’s lives. “As we started growing this collection, we began looking for ways to display and to talk about the impact of electronic games on play. We began reallocating space while always kind of keeping an eye out. It was an ongoing goal to expand.”


    Expansion construction in October, 2021. Photo courtesy of The Strong Museum

    The new museum wing will house the Worlds Video Game Hall of Fame and the Digital Worlds Gallery. The Galley’s two exhibitions, “High Score” and “Level Up” offer an interactive look at the history of video games. Exhibitions will also highlight the contributions of Women and People of Color to the video game industry. “We wanted to use this expansion as an opportunity to celebrate, preserve, and study the impact of video games in order to help people understand that while video games are played there is a lot of learning happening,” said Dubnik.


    Digital Worlds Gallery exhibit ‘Level Up’ rendering. Image courtesy of The Strong Museum.

    Another reason for this expansion was that the Museum’s audience continues to grow. “We reached close to 600,000 people in 2019 and there were days where the museum was close to capacity,” said Dubnik. “So if we wanted to continue to grow and attract more people, we needed more space. All of these things came together and led to the idea of creating a neighborhood of play as a way to increase our footprint. We were looking for a way to increase our marketing area to bring more people into Rochester from 4 to 5 hours drive time away. And if we were going to do that, we would need a place for them to stay that was nearby.”


    Creating a Neighborhood of Play

    In 2013, the City of Rochester was awarded a $17.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the Federal Government to fill in portions of its Inner Loop, creating pockets of developable land, including the southeast loop adjacent to The Strong. The City wanted to “bridge the moat” between the city center and communities like the Neighborhood of Play that have been separated by the Inner Loop since the 1950s. “Now we had buildable land next to us,” said Dubnik. “We started engaging planning consultants and reached out to our community to talk about what were some of the possibilities for the museum. We started planning and the whole idea of creating a neighborhood of play with the ability to live, work, and stay in the same area and in a neighborhood that is focused on play really grew from that whole process.” 

    The Museum partnered with two local commercial developers–a developer who owns and operated multiple hotels in the Finger Lakes region and the other who is focused on mixed-use development. “We partnered with them but we don’t actually have an economic interest in those portions of the development. It’s not a legal partnership but we very much act like partners in that we use the same civil engineering firm and the same architect so that the design is consistent and cohesive. We are using different builders, but they’re meeting and coordinating on all these different elements.”

    The first phase completed was a new, five-story covered garage with 1,000 parking spaces completed in 2020. “We doubled our parking spaces from 500 to 1000 and going vertical with a parking garage freed up land that we could sell to our development partners,” said Dubnik. 

    The Neighborhood of Play features a 17,000 square foot outdoor play exhibit, a 125-room all-suites Hampton Inn and Suites, 240 residential units with 17,000 square feet of retail space that includes a play-oriented restaurant called Nirvana. The video game-themed restaurant will open in late 2022. 


    Outdoor play garden rendering. Image courtesy of The Strong Museum.


    Market Research

    “The other key part of this expansion was creating additional space for more visitation, so we conducted a marketing study as part of this project,” said Dubnik. The Museum surveyed communities in Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, areas in eastern New York to find out what would attract people to Rochester. “We needed to find out how many people we could expect to come and visit Rochester and the survey revealed that we could get more than half a million with certain types of development, including video games, and so we built a business plan around getting 400,000 more people to visit the Museum.” The Museum also spoke with neighborhood residents and business leaders about what they wanted to see developed. “We worked with our other cultural partners in Rochester and formed what we call ‘Play Rochester,’ a partnership where we do some joint marketing campaigns,” said Dubnik. ‘Play Rochester’ includes the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Seneca Park Zoo, the Eastman Museum, and Genessee Country Villiage & Museum. “We very much made this expansion project a collaboration within the community, businesses, and with other cultural organizations.”


    Funding Sources

    The project is supported by the Museum’s $60 million “Powered by Play” capital campaign which has raised $50 million thus far through private and public donations. New York State’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative was one of the first contributors with $20 million that helped start the project. Other support has come from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

    Support from private foundations include $100,000 from the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Foundation to build three video game preservation labs, a $5 million capital grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and $500,000 from the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation in which the Museum will name the new admission area the Wolk Admission Area.

    The Museum also entered a naming partnership with ESL Federal Credit Union. ESL Federal Credit Union committed $1.5 million which gives them naming rights to the 24,000 square foot Digital Worlds Galley for 25 years. 

    “One of our goals has really been to be a national museum and we’ve focused on building our relationship with the toy and video game industries,” said Dubnik. “We’re the home to the toy hall of fame and we work with those larger toy companies for their help in our expansion and likewise with the larger video game industry whether it’s Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony. Creating those national and international collaborations and bringing that to Rochester has been an important part of what we do.”


    The expansion and Neighborhood of Play are expected to open to the public in summer 2023. For more information visit, https://www.museumofplay.org/support/expansion-campaign/ and https://www.neighborhoodofplay.org/


  • December 15, 2021 5:06 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Earlier this year, the Westchester Children’s Museum was among 500 museums from across the country selected by NASA to celebrate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s new space science observatory. The Museum used this distinction to forge new partnerships, highlight new and existing exhibitions, and feature programs that focus on space exploration. The culminating celebration event for the Museum’s James Webb Telescope Launch initiative was held on November 13. 


    Selection by NISE

    The Museum was selected through a competitive proposal process administered by the NASA/National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE). NISE is a membership community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math across the United States. The organization offers an entire resource page online dedicated to NASA that includes a digital download Earth and Space toolkit, content training videos, and other recorded workshops. 

    “We’re a NISE member and we learned about this opportunity through them,” said Leta Wong, Acting Director of the Westchester Children’s Museum. “At the beginning, there were a few occasions maybe a month apart where NISE inquired if any museum would be interested in being a celebration site for NASA. We were interested and sent them an outline of what we wanted to do for the celebration. It was a simple application process and what’s great about NASA is that size didn’t matter. We’re on the smaller end, but we were accepted.”


    Making Connections

    Wong was fortunate to meet Peter Sooy of NASA at the last in-person meeting for the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) in Toronto in 2019. “[Peter] represented NASA in the section of the conference that had presenters and exhibits about sustainability, climate, and environmental issues,” said Wong. “We had a very good discussion about sustainability, what NASA does regarding their education materials which are extensive and free, and topics they cover in the STEM education section of their website.”

    The James Webb Telescope is the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built and will be the premier observatory of the next decade. The telescope is equipped with a 21.3 foot primary mirror that makes the Webb the farthest-seeing telescope ever built. This international mission, led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies will launch on the Ariane 5 rocket on December 18, 2021. 


    Celebrating the Launch

    The Westchester Children’s Museum transformed its 5,000 square foot MakerSpace into an outer space STEAM experience with free activities for children of all ages. “NASA was very flexible and generous when it came to the requirements for the Museum’s participation,” said Wong. “Anything that we did had to be free and open to the public because it was helping NASA's goal to promote earth science, space exploration, and climate.”


    To-scale models of planets in our solar system created by Artistic Coordinator of the Museum Lisa Archigian.  Photo courtesy of Westchester Children’s Museum


    On November 13, the NASA-related activities and exhibitions began in the Museum’s reception area and workshop room. Children were given a sticker from NASA and a badge that museum staff made withthe NASA logo and the text “Museum Think Tank Authorized Personnel.” Lisa Archigian, the Artistic Coordinator for the Museum created to-scale models of each planet in the solar system including a 5-foot beach ball for Saturn. Each planet was suspended from the ceiling in the MakerSpace. There was also a two-third scale model of the James Webb gold mirror with information about what the telescope sees on the light spectrum. Exhibitions included three videos with hands-on activities including a virtual trip through the Orion Nebula and atmospheric effects. 


    Building Partnerships

    The Museum also had activities outdoors with celestial day-viewing on the boardwalk led by the group Westchester Amateur Astronomers. “NISE encourages partnerships to help expand their network,” said Wong. “This was the first partnership we had with them [Westchester Amateur Astronomers] and it kind of happened by accident.”

    Westchester Amateur Astronomers on the boardwalk in front of the Museum. Photo courtesy of Westchester Children’s Museum


    Wong met the Westchester Amateur Astronomers before COVID closed the Museum outside on the boardwalk. The group was viewing a planet and Wong struck up a conversation. “They said that they would be happy to partner with the museum for any events or classes. They were the first group I thought of to partner with for this celebration.” Westchester Amateur Astronomers helped Wong confirm which weekend would be best for the Museum to host their celebration so that it was also the best time for viewing planets. 

    288 people attended the museum’s James Webb Telescope Launch celebration with people participating in both the free NASA activities and exploring the museum’s exhibitions. “It was great to see that people who came for the free NASA activities stayed and paid the special discounted admission to explore the museum afterwards,” said Wong. 

    “We as a staff, and I especially, feel like we can never do enough with partnerships so we are always looking for new partnerships,” said Wong. “We wanted to do this just because it’s with NASA but also to expand our reach. We’re trying to get our neighbors involved with our programming and that’s really our vision–to be a community hub and do as many partnerships as we can with as many organizations as we can.” 



  • December 15, 2021 1:14 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Governor Kathy Hochul announced an additional $196 million in Round 11 of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. 

    31 New York State Museums were awarded a total of $20,872,895.

    CAPITAL REGION–5 museums totaling $4,125,020

    Albany County Historical Association, $283,350

    Ten Broeck Mansion's Stabilization and Accessibility Project

    The Albany County Historical Association, which operates the 1798 Ten Broeck Mansion and over 4 acres of historic gardens as an educational museum, will complete Phase 1 Critical Stabilization and Community Accessibility work. This critical work will preserve the 18th-century Mansion and remediate water infiltration and deterioration, while creating an accessible and welcoming community greenspace in the heart of Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood, contributing to downtown Albany's revitalization.

    Columbia County Historical Society, $75,500

    The Luykas Van Alen House Moisture Mitigation & Stabilization Project

    Columbia County Historical Society continues restoration projects at Luykas Van Alen House located at 2589 Route 9H in Kinderhook. The current project focuses on issues of moisture mitigation caused by the 1967 pond added to decorate the front lawn. This project will drain the pond and return the front lawn to its original natural environment; address restoration of front stoops, and finally stabilize the house's south gable end wall.

    The Olana Partnership, $3,268,776

    Frederic Church Center

    The Frederic Church Center (FCC) is a sustainably designed, carbon-neutral visitor center for the Olana State Historic Site. The FCC will be the threshold to an immersive visitor experience of Olana as a unique, world-class carbon neutral tourist destination at the intersection of American art and environmental consciousness.

    Olana State Historic Site will use capital funds to construct the Frederic Church Center, a new carbon-neutral visitor arrival and orientation facility. The facility is projected to increase Olana's overall number of visitors as well as the regional economic impact.

    Thomas Cole National Historic Site, $360,000

    Thomas Cole Master Plan: Infrastructure for Economic Growth

    The Thomas Cole Master Plan - Infrastructure for Economic Growth Project invests in new facilities and infrastructure improvements at a national historic landmark to accommodate increased tourism and visitation to the Capital Region. A new 1,800 square-foot Visitor Center with exhibit space and outdoor terrace will be constructed. Facility upgrades to multiple iconic buildings will increase energy efficiency and improve climate conditions for historic preservation. Infrastructure upgrades will improve visitor safety and site accessibility. Spaces will be reconfigured to maximize and expand programming, and events and outdoor areas will be landscaped to enhance the rural feel of the campus and make it more visually compatible with the environment.

    The Hyde Collection, $137,394

    Reimagine The Hyde Collection Tourism Marketing Plan

    The Hyde Collection will use fund to develop and implement the REIMAGINE project, a three-year initiative designed to improve the visitor experience and promote the Museum, its collection/exhibitions, and Glens Falls and the overall Capital District region, as a significant travel destination for art and cultural tourists.


    CENTRAL NY–4 museums totaling $2,050,000

    Seward House Museum, $500,000

    Barn and Carriage House Rehabilitation

    The Seward House Museum will save two historic structures on its campus by converting them into usable space for the public. After performing intensive preservation work, the Museum's barn will serve as a multipurpose space for year-round use and the carriage house will become an accessible exhibition space for the Seward carriage. Altogether, this adaptive reuse will enhance the Museum's campus and offer new experiences for all to enjoy.

    Oneida Community Mansion House, $500,000

    Revitalization of Historic Oneida Community Mansion House: Phase 2

    National Historic Landmark - Oneida Community Mansion House will complete Phase 2 priorities of its Exterior Rehabilitation Project. The complex is a museum, lodging, cultural performance and event venue that needs this Phase 2 restoration to preserve its cultural significance, historic status, and economic value to the Central New York Region and upstate's renaissance.

    Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, $800,000

    Everson Sculpture Park

    The Everson Museum of Art will use the grant funds to expand and renovate the existing Everson Community Plaza, by creating an iconic outdoor gathering space for the CNY region. The Everson Sculpture Park will become a must-see destination for travelers while visiting the Central New York region.

    Discovery Center of Science and Technology, $250,000

    MOST - Digital Theater Upgrade

    The Discovery Center of Science and Technology (dba the “MOST”) will renovate its existing Omnitheater and convert it into a state-of-the-art digital planetarium and theater. The current Omnitheater is outdated and facing increasing limitations on available content and programming opportunities. Completion of this project will redefine the MOST by providing an experience unlike any other in the region, making Armory Square a true destination for visitors.


    FINGER LAKES–3 museums totaling $1,172,500

    George Eastman Museum, $447,500

    George Eastman Museum and Joshua Rashaad McFadden Tourism Special Event & Marketing Plan AND George Eastman Museum Tourism Capital Project

    George Eastman Museum, a world-renowned tourist destination, will launch a comprehensive tourism marketing campaign to promote the Finger Lakes Region and special exhibition by Joshua Rashaad McFadden. This important exhibition by a Rochester-based Black artist examines some of the most challenging subject matters of our time.

    George Eastman Museum will use the grant funds to renovate over 3600 sq. ft. of unrestored space in Eastman's mansion to create new galleries dedicated to sharing a contemporary, balanced interpretation of Eastman's life and educating visitors about the evolution of photographic technology. The project includes accessibility improvements and the addition of a catering kitchen.

    The Strong National Museum of Play, $225,000

    Play Rochester Tourism Marketing Plan

    Play Rochester is a collaborative tourism marketing project featuring a variety of regional cultural attractions. Created and lead by The Strong National Museum of Play, the project will use grant funds to market and drive tourism to the Rochester region from five-hour drive markets by allowing consumers to create tailor-made packages when planning their trip to the area.

    National Women's Hall of Fame, $500,000

    Seneca Knitting Mill

    The National Women's Hall of Fame will continue renovation of the Seneca Knitting Mill, including a full stairwell, upper floor build-out, and re-build of the bell tower. This work will enable full access of the 16,000 square foot building for final build-out of exhibit, programming, and gathering spaces. This 1844 site on the Canal will be a national destination showcasing the Inductees and drawing visitors to Seneca Falls and many attractions within the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.


    LONG ISLAND–1 museum totaling $1,120,000

    Long Island Science Center, $1,120,000

    Rooftop Planetarium, Functional Agritech & Wind/Solar Exhibit, MakerSpace & Facade Enhancements

    The Long Island Science Center, a STEAM Learning Museum, will construct an iconic regional attraction with a Planetarium/lecture hall, functional agritech & energy exhibits, and an "Inventorium" MakerSpace to contribute to Long Island's economy through family-based regional tourism.


    MID-HUDSON–5 museums totaling $3,950,980

    Friends of Mills Mansion, $30,500

    Wall and Ceiling Restoration in Staatsburgh State Historic Site's Kitchen Suite Rooms

    The Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh will restore to their historic appearance, the painted ceilings and tiled walls of three rooms in the mansion's kitchen suite at Staatsburgh State Historic Site. This will allow the site to tell a more inclusive story of this fascinating part of the estate's operations and interpret for visitors the lives and careers of the domestic staff of this Gilded Age estate on the Hudson River.

    Storm King Art Center, $2,600,000

    Storm King Art Center Capital Project

    As a leader in the field of art in nature, Storm King launched Art that Moves You Outside. The Capital Project is part of a larger Master Plan and includes two buildings: the Welcome Sequence and the Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building. These buildings will be built to achieve carbon-neutral performance and will have an immediate impact on the visitor experience.

    The Art Center will begin Phase 1 and includes two building elements: the Welcome Sequence and the Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building. The Welcome Sequence will streamline the arrival into Storm King, and the Art Center’s Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building will protect the safety of staff and the artwork.

    Hudson River Maritime Museum, $240,000

    West Gallery Building Rehabilitation

    Hudson River Maritime Museum will stabilize the western portion of the main museum building by installing helical piers under the building foundation, making it safer from rising waters and mitigating the implications of climate change for long-term resiliency. The interior will be renovated to create a more efficient administration and archival space. Stairway access will be installed from the ground up to the Tug Mathilda's deck.

    Sing Sing Prison Museum, $480,480

    Preservation of the Powerhouse for Sing Sing Prison Museum

    The Sing Sing Prison Museum will renovate the former prison Powerhouse garage as an arts and humanities center for temporary exhibitions, films, performances, lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, and live-streamed events.

    Historic Hudson Valley, $600,000

    Historic Hudson Valley Projects 2021

    Historic Hudson Valley will remediate the Rt. 9 roadbed that bisects Van Cortlandt Manor and reconfigure the entrance for safety. This project will improve the entryway to the park that will provide pedestrian and vehicular safety at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson and position the National Historic Landmark site for the 21st-century.


    MOHAWK VALLEY–3 museums totaling $849,255

    Munson-Williams- Proctor Arts Institute, $520,192

    Mitigation of Water Infiltration in Munson- Williams-Proctor Arts Institute's Two Museum Buildings 

    This project will address critical water infiltration issues that threaten the Munson- Williams two landmark buildings both listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places: the Museum of Art building, built in 1960; and Fountain Elms, an 1850 Italianate house that was home to the Munson-Williams founding families.

    Norman Rockwell Summer Special Exhibition Expanded Marketing

    Grant funds will be used to support the exhibition Norman Rockwell, exclusively shown at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, and will attract thousands of visitors to Utica, engage new audiences, contribute to economic development, enhance the quality of life, and reinforce Munson-Williams as a cultural tourism draw. Through local partnerships, Munson-Williams will increase audience diversity and sustainable community participation.

    Fenimore Art Museum, $104,063

    Wyeth Exhibit Tourism Special Event

    Fenimore Art Museum will use funds to promote a major Wyeth exhibition and programming that will reignite art tourism and youth engagement, drive downtown revitalization, and support regional economic recovery following the pandemic. A strategic marketing campaign to increase Mohawk Valley tourism ensures a significant impact on the community, regional businesses, and visitors to Cooperstown.

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, $225,000

    Baseball Hall of Fame Tourism Attraction Website Redesign

    The National Baseball Hall of Fame will use grant funds for the redesign of the Museum's website including an updated design, improved usability and a complete overhaul of the Plan Your Visit section of the site to improve user experience and in turn drive additional visits to Cooperstown, Otsego County and the Mohawk Valley Region.


    NEW YORK CITY–3 museums totaling $5,023,500

    Green-Wood Cemetery, $3,275,000

    Stormwater Initiative

    Green-Wood Cemetery will use GIGP funds to install bioretention and a harvest and reuse system. This project will reduce stormwater runoff to the surrounding combined sewer areas, while also decreasing the potable water usage from the New York City Water Supply System.

    Education and Welcome Center

    Green-Wood Historic Fund is constructing an Education and Welcome Center directly across the street from The Green-Wood Cemetery’s main gate. It will welcome both neighbors and tourists, offer additional public programming and educational opportunities, and engage visitors in the art, history, and nature of this National Historic Landmark cemetery.

    Childrens Museum of Manhattan, $1,500,000

    New Building Project

    The grantee will use the grant funds to renovate the Children's Museum of Manhattan future home at the historic building at 361 Central Park West, enhancing the destination as a premiere attraction for families visiting New York City.

    Museum of the City of New York, $248,500

    Museum of the City of New York Tourism Marketing Plan

    The Museum of the City of New York will use grant funds to promote group experiences across the five boroughs and support tourism initiatives in connection with its Centennial celebrations in 2023. Marketing and promotional efforts will strategically position New York as a preeminent tourism destination and target groups interested in celebrating the city's history and thriving culture through unique experiences.


    NORTH COUNTRY–3 museums totaling $1,300,475

    Historic Saranac Lake, $500,000

    Trudeau Building Museum Project

    Historic Saranac Lake will rehabilitate the Trudeau Building into a museum in downtown Saranac Lake.

    Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center, $150,000

    Phase II of our New Building Project

    The grantee will use the capital funding to renovate and construct a new facility to house the current museum and exhibits. The new facility will allow for an enhanced visitor experience as well as drawing more visitation to the area and overall North Country region.

    The Wild Center, $650,475

    More to Explore: Build Back Better Tourism Marketing Plan

    Grant funds will be used by The Wild Center to develop and promote "More to Explore: Build Back Better" a marketing plan that uses a suite of strategic promotion activities to promote expanded year-round indoor and outdoor Wild Center exhibits and programs that will rebuild the prior audiences while attracting new, more diverse visitors to the region. The 2-year project will include new exhibits, special programs and events that will increase tourism and enhance the economy.


    SOUTHERN TIER–1 museum totaling $10,165

    Roberson Museum and Science Center, $10,165

    Museum and Carriage House Preservation Plan

    Roberson Museum and Science Center located in Binghamton will hire a preservation architect to create a plan to restore key architectural features of the Roberson Mansion, perimeter fence, and Carriage House. The goal is to set forth a plan for the restoration of both buildings to their original state and prevent further deterioration.


    WESTERN NY–3 museums totaling $1,271,000

    Buffalo Museum of Science, $161,000

    Antarctic Dinosaurs Tourism Special Event

    The Buffalo Museum of Science will use the grant fund to host the special exhibit Antarctic Dinosaurs. This new exhibit will immerse guests in exploration of one of the most isolated and dangerous environments on Earth, and increase tourism to the area and overall region.

    Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., $435,000

    Old French Castle Restoration

    The Old Fort Niagara Association is applying for support to restore deteriorating masonry and provide a new roof for the 1726 French Castle at Old Fort Niagara. In recent years, the Castle has experienced missing mortar, falling stones and serious roof leaks that endanger the building.

    The Aquarium of Niagara, $675,000

    Niagara Gorge Experience Center

    The Aquarium of Niagara will renovate the vacant Niagara Gorge Discovery Center on the Niagara Gorge rim, creating new space for Great Lakes-focused exhibits along the new greenspace created through the recently-completed removal of the Niagara Scenic Parkway. This project expands the capacity of the Aquarium of Niagara as a major driver of tourism in the Niagara region. It builds on other recent investments into the Aquarium that have expanded its exhibits and ability to attract visitors.

    Learn more about NYS REDC here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-additional-196-million-awarded-through-round-xi-regional-economic 



  • December 02, 2021 4:31 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters,

    Since early September we have been speaking with elected officials to let them know that New York’s museums are trailing other nonprofits and performing arts organizations in their pandemic recovery. Legislators and staff were genuinely surprised when we let them know how few museums have received federal and state support so far, how few have seen school group visits, and how few are back to full capacity. 

    I have been asked what recovery will look like for museums and how long will it take to get there. I’ve replied that although my crystal ball is in the repair shop, I know that we are not there yet, and that relief funding has fallen far short of our needs. We are looking forward to a busy holiday season in our museums, but the New York Times recently reported that tourism spending in 2021 will be half of what it was in 2019. 

    MANY has been asked to gather information and share a comparison of 2019 to 2021 for four data points to help quantify NY museums’ recovery: 

    • Number of hours open

    • Number of visitors

    • Number of staff

    • Number of school groups

    Please click here and let us know how you are doing. 

    We have been asked for a rapid response. The survey will be open for one week and will close on Thursday, December 9 at 5 PM. It should take you less than 5 minutes to answer the four questions once you have your 2019 and 2021 estimated through year-end numbers in hand.  

    We all retain hope that additional funding will be distributed to New York’s museums soon and eagerly await the upcoming announcement of New York State Council on the Arts Recovery Grants. 

    MANY’s 2022 work plan includes a major advocacy effort to secure funding for New York’s museums that helps us recover from the pandemic and meets our current needs. Your input, feedback, and support will be essential to our efforts on your behalf. 


    With thanks in advance for your time,


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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