The Museum Association of New York Applauds the New York State Board of Regents for Making the Museum Education Act a Legislative Priority for 2016

The Museum Association of New York (MANY), New York’s only statewide membership association representing museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums, applauds the New York State Board of Regents for making the Museum Education Act (MEA) a Legislative Priority for 2016.  The MEA is a bill sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Betty Little (R, Queensbury) and in the State Assembly by Assembly member Matthew Titone (D, Staten Island).  The MEA would provide museums and other eligible institutions access to grant funding to conduct curriculum-based educational programs for students and teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and adults enrolled in continuing education programs.  The grants would be competitive in nature and could be used for a variety of curriculum-based educational programming, including funding for the transportation of students to museums or museum staff to the school classroom.

“The Museum Education Act is a priority of the Board of Regents because it provides an essential funding mechanism that would allow museums to partner with their local school districts to provide curriculum based educational opportunities to students and adult learners alike,” said Regent Roger B. Tilles, Chair of the Regents’ Committee on Cultural Education.  “These competitive grants would allow museums to design and provide the unique, object-based educational opportunities that we know are so vital to our students' success.”

“There is so much for students to learn outside the walls of a school,” said Senator Betty Little. “We are very fortunate to have in our State an incredible array of museums, zoos, aquariums and art galleries.  Connecting students with these wonderful assets will no doubt appeal to young, inquiring minds and help them learn in a ‘hands-on’ way that is not possible in the classroom.  The point of the Museum Education Act is to create a curriculum-based bridge between schools and our museums, to excite students to learn and to grow, to improve academic performance and to expand horizons.  I am delighted the Board of Regents has unanimously approved this initiative I am sponsoring in the Senate as a priority for 2016.”

"I am thrilled to hear that the Board of Regents has adopted my bill in their set of legislative priorities,” said Assemblymember Matthew Titone. “As many as 60 million visitors, including 6 million school children, visit New York's museums and institutions each year. The MEA will strengthen the educational competitiveness of New York's students and adult learners while strengthening the economy in the process."

“The Regents’ unanimous endorsement of the MEA underscores the remarkable quality of the education resources and expertise offered by the museums of New York State,” said Robert Cassetti, MANY Board President and Senior Director of Creative Services at the Corning Museum of Glass.  “MEA funding will directly support school trips, education programs and object-based learning that New York’s museums are uniquely positioned to provide.

“As one of the more than 1,300 museums located in New York State, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is just one example of an organization that would benefit from the Museum Education Act,” said Ken Meifert, Vice President for Sponsorship and Development at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  “As museums throughout New York State play a key role in educating students to provide an impactful and exciting learning experience, this Act will expand educational programs, while preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century.”

“I would like to personally thank Regent Roger Tilles and his colleagues for their support and leadership on this issue,” said Devin Lander, MANY Executive Director.  “Regent Tilles’ hard work on this vital piece of legislation has directly led to it becoming a Regents Legislative Priority for the 2016 Session.”

The MEA is currently introduced in the Senate as bill S5001 (Little) and in the Assembly as bill A8199 (Titone).