Dear Members of our Museum Community,
Welome to our August edition of "This Month in NYS Museums." August marks the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage. Museums across New York State are commemorating this historic anniversary but also recognizing that this milestone did not give the right to vote to all women. Our partners Humanities NY have launched their new podcast Amended, a 6-part series about the ongoing struggle for women's voting rights that I recommend.
In this newsletter we also learned about activist and suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage and the Center that honors her life by preserving and maintaining her home where people can learn about her values, her family, and her life as a 19th century activist.
Our article on Shakers: In Community focuses on how this temporary exhibition will not only reintroduce the Shaker Museum and its collection to the community but examines the different ways in which the Shakers forged equitable and inclusive communal bonds and how the lessons learned will influence the future Shaker Museum.
We have also included notes from our July virtual meet-up about how NYS museums have reopened and how they have created new visitor experiences that keep their staff and visitors safe in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you to the 198 museums who shared their data for our COVID-19 Impact on NYS Museums report that helps us compare NYS numbers to AAM's national survey. This report includes an analysis of the PPP funding to NYS museums as well.
Lastly, this month's Letter from Erika helps us acknowledge the many inequities and injustices in the museum field that have been exacerbated by the federal government's inadequate response and suggests a first step to help transform museums for a better future.
With thanks for your support,
Marketing & Communications Associate
The Matilda Joselyn Gage Center
The Matilda Joslyn Gage Center honors her life by preserving and maintaining her home where people can learn about her values, her family and her life as a 19th century activist.
Visitors reflect on their own values when exploring Gage’s home in Fayetteville, NY. It is a place that values ideas, not artifacts. Visitors explore the house at their own pace, invited to interact with each room. Rather than focus on artifacts or spaces decorated as they would have been when Gage lived there, the Center concentrates on her ideas and commitments to freedom, justice, and equality.Read more
Reopen NYS Museums
Back in mid-March, museums across New York State closed their doors for an uncertain amount of time to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. At the end of August, Governor Cuomo gave NYC museums permission to reopen, the last region to be granted that permission. As museums follow the mandated and recommended best practices to safely welcome staff and visitors, the museum experience is fundamentally changed. In July, MANY hosted a virtual meet-up with colleagues located in regions that had reopened who shared their strategies, policies, and procedures.
Shaker Museum's "In Community" Temporary Exhibition
The Shaker Museum’s temporary exhibition Shakers: In Community examines the different ways in which the Shakers forged equitable and inclusive communal bonds. This exhibition was one of many ideas generated during an 18-month exploration into the Shaker Museum and its 18,000 items in its collection (considered to be one of the world’s most comprehensive holdings of Shaker objects and archives). The Shaker Museum’s collections have been without a permanent home since its galleries closed in 2009.
Letter from Erika: Looking, Listening, and Learning
Dear Members of the MANY Museum Community,Memory deceives me into believing that as a child, I spent all my Sunday afternoons at the Central Park Zoo watching zookeepers toss fish to sea lions, peering into the whale’s mouth at the children’s zoo, and counting hours to the spinning animals on the Delacorte Clock. On one visit, the hippopotamus swam towards my father and me, stopping at the glass wall of its enclosure close enough for us to see the drops of water on its skin. My father didn’t notice a wide gap between the upper glass sections and accidently stuck his hand into the hippo’s mouth. When he jumped back in fear that the animal would attack in retaliation for the intrusion, I was knocked to the floor. This minor disruption transformed our zoo routine. Subsequent visits excluded the hippopotamus tank and I learned to look more closely at the built environment. Read More
In June, the American Alliance of Museums released their COVID-19 Impact survey. 16% of museum directors responded that there is a high risk that their museums could close within 16 months without additional funding.
From July 29 to August 10, we collected information from 198 museums from all ten REDC regions to help us compare New York's numbers. In this report is an update on funding sources to NYS museums, the risk of museum closure in NYS compared to the nation, and an analysis of the Paycheck Protection Program to NYS museums.
Top 5 insights to help your reopening and win consumer confidence
We have preliminary insights from Rove Marketing’s COVID Response Satisfaction Program to share.
Whether you are already open or are planning your reopening, listening to visitors feedback and remaining flexible in adapting measures is the key to winning consumer confidence.
What is the most important COVID safety protocol? What did first time visitors think of their experience? Understanding visitor expectations and perceptions is more important now than ever. Continual visitor feedback not only generates valuable insights but also demonstrates that you care and want to create a safe experience for your visitors.Read more
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of our museum community, the Museum of New York's board made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 Annual Conference. We are excited to announce that the 2021 Annual Conference The Power of Partnership will be held in Corning, NY April 10-13, 2021!
We know that travel restrictions in the museum industry will remain in place for the remainder of 2020. There is no indication from anyone we have spoken with that more than 50 people will be able to gather in NY before the end of this year. We selected the Southern Tier for 2021 because it was one of the first regions included in Governor Cuomo’s NY Forward.
Corning’s museums have spaces that will allow us to maintain any required social distancing and the Radisson Hotel Corning extended generous discounts on hotel rooms and meeting spaces.
We are also presenting some of the Albany site-specific programming virtually this fall under the sponsorship of Dutch Culture USA and NYSCA including virtual tours of Schuyler Mansion, the Van Ostrande-Radliff House (the oldest building in the city of Albany), Ten Broeck Mansion, the NYS Museum, and more.
Museums in the News
Grants of up to $4,000, with a required 20% project cost match from each applicant, are available to nonprofit groups and municipalities that own or have a long-term lease on buildings that house historic sites, museums, arts facilities, and other important institutions that serve an arts or cultural purpose.
Funding opportunities from the IMLS