Consolidation Update

At the first meeting of the Interim Board, held May 14th in Albany, the following members were elected to serve as officers and make up an Executive Committee: John Haworth, President; Michele Phillips, Vice President; Erin Richardson, Secretary; Lenora Henson, Treasurer; Pam Green and Michael Botwinick, at large representatives. With an interim board in place to navigate governance and legal issues, Museumwise: The Museum Association of New York filed its consolidation papers with the State Education Department in late July with the request that legal consolidation take effect by December 31st, 2012. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Scott Sears of Sears Associates in Trumansburg for facilitating more than a year's worth of planning and discussions that have brought our two organizations to this point, and to the Grants for Museum Advancement program Get Set grant (funded by NYSCA) and NYCON's Otsego County Mini Grant Program that allowed us to have Scott on board with us.  Additionally, we are indebted to Jay Girvin and Erin Morris of the Girvin & Ferlazzo law firm in Albany for helping us sort through our many questions about which organization's incorporation would best serve our consolidated organization (MANY's Absolute Charter or Museumwise's Certificate of Incorporation). In the final analysis, MANY's Charter was chosen. Inspired by the innovation research of the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives, the interim board and staff are now working with Eric Lanke, author of WSAE's white paper Innovation for Associations to plan a governance and staffing structure of our own that will foster the responsive and robust state museum association you have asked for. For more about WSAE's innovation work: On the staffing front, Museumwise's Executive Director Catherine Gilbert will be at the helm to ensure a smooth and effective transition during the first 12-18 months of operation. Stephanie Rowe, Museumwise's Program Coordinator, will continue, also. MANY Director Anne Ackerson is taking this opportunity to pursue new directions. She has recently been named executive director of the Council of State Archivists, a national nonprofit that facilitates networking and project development among the 56 state and territory archives, and participates in advocacy activities at the federal level.  She begins her responsibilities at the Council in January.  Anne will also continue her consulting work with cultural organizations. Museumwise: MANY's programs/services for 2013 will be grounded in stakeholder input that was gathered during the last year-and-a-half, and our commitment to providing affordable access to professional standards and best practice. As we work through the first year as a consolidated entity, we will evaluate existing activities for their effectiveness and place within a new vision of service to the field. We will then identify those to be carried forward; those to be shared with or given to partners; and those to be retooled or eliminated because of their marginal support of the mission. While evaluation and retooling could easily take two years, there are several current partnerships that will go forward in 2013: with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to foster engagement with AASLH's StEPs program; the NYS Archives' Documentary Heritage Program, and with the NYS Board of Regents' new Regents Advisory Council on Museums. The 2013 Museums in Conversation conference theme will examine diversity in museums - a topic that was voiced in the closing keynote at the 2012 conference. Education of elected officials/agency leaders about the importance of museums to P-12 education and life-long learning, tourism, and the state's economy will continue. Creating and managing constituent networking via regional meetings, online forums, and social media networks will expand. Finally, we hope to be able to continue implementing the NYSCA-funded Grants for Museum Advancement program. We remain committed to engaging you in this process in an open and responsive way, inviting input and taking inspiration from our members and stakeholders alike. Please, feel free to drop us a note at