State of NYS Museums: 2019
In 2019 we reached out to our New York State's museums to help us assess the state of our museums.
15% of our state's museums responded.
This report serves as an essential benchmark as we think of way to make the future of NY's museums better together.
The aggregated data was used to create this first report in almost ten years to paint a picture of our field. We are grateful for the time and generosity of our colleagues who shared their information. We accelerated the release of this report in response to the COVID-19 pandemic because we know we look very different today than we did a year ago and we will look very different a year from now.
All the graphics may not be as pretty as we originally hoped, but the crucial information that they reveal - such as support for field trips to museums are largely funded by school districts and museum operating funds (not private foundation or NYSCA grants) will be significant to how we think about the future of Museum/School partnerships. Other data, such as the large percentage of part time staff in certain regions of our state, or that 32% of our responding museums closed their last fiscal year in a deficit position, clarifies the financially fragile positions in which some of our museums operate.
Not every museum answered every question. You will find an “n” number on each chart to support the data; text analysis will include the phrases “of those who responded to the survey,” and “of those who responded to the question.” Where responses were too few to reflect an accurate sample size, we did not include the questions or the responses. The survey asked questions that may at first glance seem unusual, such as asking museums to disclose the second highest salary paid. We asked that question because some executive director compensation includes housing and transportation which is harder to quantify.
We will survey the field again soon. Lessons we take from this crisis may increase the financial sustainability of New York’s museums and help us all reach new audiences through the creative use of virtual engagement.