During the business meeting portion of the 2011 NYS Museums in Conversation Conference in Buffalo, MANY and Museumwise board chairs John Haworth and Michele Philips made the following announcement regarding the intention of both organizations to explore possible consolidation of services:
Times are tough in our Nation and across New York State. Every day we hear news about arts, humanities and cultural program funding being cut dramatically or eliminated all together. We know that this political and financial climate has potential significant impacts for each of our member organizations.
The Museum Association of New York and Museumwise share a commitment to serving the breadth and scope of New York’s museum community and we are sensitive to the impact of our current political and financial climate. We know that you’re looking for new and creative ways to build community support and sustain your work. We face those same challenges, as well. Anticipating and responding to a dramatically evolving environment is part of how we, as a collective field, prove our value.
MANY and Museumwise pride themselves on developing innovative solutions and responses to support you, and it is for these reasons that MANY and Museumwise are actively engaged in exploring how together we can more effectively, serve our members.
We have come together to investigate how we could jointly best fulfill our organizational missions and strategies into the future. We have embarked on this endeavor to assess and analyze the benefits and implications of blending our two organizations. Our goal is twofold:
1. to envision a model that hold the greatest potential for long-term feasibility, sustainability and effectiveness, and
2. to develop a process to serve as a model for the greater cultural community for such creative exploration and visioning.
You, our members, are an important part of this investigation. The development of an open, comprehensive and balanced conduit for member and stakeholder input is recognized as an integral cog to this venture.
The process, to be developed with the help of a facilitator, will help us determine if incorporating the essence of two healthy organizations and blending in new vision will result in an even more robust entity.
We are at the beginning of this process, and we don't have all the answers, but look forward to more clarity and detail in the months to come. Count on us coming to you in the following months and drawing on your thoughts, ideas, and vision on how we can best serve you.
Regardless of the outcome, our ultimate goal is to provide you with better service and to equip our members with the proper tools to pursue a sustainable and socially responsible future. As we embark on our conversations about proving value, know that MANY and Museumwise are deeply engaged in defining and articulating our value to you.
This joint exploration is representative of both organizations’ sincere commitment to ensuring their relevancy: Relevancy in relation to the greater cultural and political landscape, and most important- relevancy in their service to you. Both organizations will continue to deliver ever dynamic, interactive opportunities to learn, communicate and advocate. We will continue to cultivate our reputations as reliable partners with New York’s museum field as we keep an eye to the horizon in envisioning how we will lead this community into the future.