Information and Advocacy: Sharing What We Know

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

Last week I asked MANY members to send me information about their programs that serve refugees, immigrants, and new Americans. With thanks to everyone who responded, we have assembled a strong list that I will be sharing out to the field. As part of the gathering process, I spoke with colleagues from different sectors and was asked to gather more information, so I am broadening my call. 2017 and 2018 are important centenary celebration years for New York State. Please send me an email ( by the end of the day on Wednesday, February 22 if you are planning or have developed programs about: Civil Rights, Human Rights, or Suffrage; The Erie Canal and New York Waterways; World War I - the Home Front as well as Abroad; or the history of the New York State Troopers. Please write “2017/2018” in the subject line and include the name of your institution; the name of the exhibition, program or event; and the name of the contact person who manages the program. It will be great to have this important information to share with the field.

One of the best reasons to attend this year’s annual conference Museums Trifecta: Inspire, Experiment, Transform  is to learn about the work of colleagues. Early bird  registration ends March 3rd and we’re looking forward to being in Saratoga. During their Sunday, April 2nd free workshop, Kathryn Weller and James Jenkins of the New York State Museum will share information about the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Continuing Teacher and Leader Education requirements (CTLE) for awarding credits to teachers for professional development program attendance. I am pleased to announce that although museums still need to be awarded approval by filing an attestation to meet requirements, (download at this link: CTLE), NYSED has agreed to waive the $600 fee originally imposed upon museums when registering for sponsorship. This significant policy change recognizes museums as equal partners in education; thanks to everyone who helped make this shift possible.

Next week I will be in Washington, D.C. for Museums Advocacy Day. I am looking forward to meeting with and thanking New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand for their leadership. They both understand the important role museums play in the economic and spiritual lives of New Yorkers. Congressman Paul Tonko, who serves New York’s Capital Region, will be the Museums Advocacy Day keynote speaker.

Our generation has been enriched for more than 50 years with programs supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our museums have blossomed with funding from the IMLS since it’s founding just over 20 years ago. Between 2014 and 2016 federal support to New York State Museums totaled $38.3 million. The IMLS granted 110 projects $15.2 million; the NEA granted $2.6 million to 42 projects and $2.1 million to the New York State Council on the Arts; and the NEH made 71 grants totaling $14 million and gave $4.4 million to Humanities New York. These independent agencies of our federal government, and the programs they support are now endanger of being lost to future generations. The loss of funding to our state and national parks, wildlife centers, zoos and botanical gardens could change our nation forever.


I am fortunate to be able to speak out in support of the IMLS, the NEA, and the NEH, in person. I hope you will find time in the coming week -- at a Town Hall meeting, by phone, or by email -- to ask your representative for their support of these agencies. Let them know the significant positive impact federal funding has made on your organization and your life.


Thank you for sharing your expertise with the field and continuing to do what you do best in these challenging times. 



Erika Sanger

Executive Director, Museum Association of New York