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Read original articles written by MANY's staff about Resources, Community, and Exhibits/Collections. Check out the Letters From Erika to learn about what is going on here at MANY!

Click here to read our 2019 Annual Report
  • March 29, 2020 5:25 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Across New York State, museums have closed to combat the spread of COVID-19. Globally, we have seen a surge of online museum content as museums continue to engage with the public. There is an abundance of resources already helping museums navigate the digital world in the wake of the pandemic. For this article, I will focus on sharing a few examples from the museum community to help inspire your own institution in this unique and challenging time. 

    Make it Fun

    According to data collected by the American Alliance of Museums, Museums are considered the most trustworthy source of information in America. But this doesn’t mean that museums can’t also provide some much needed relief during uncertain times. In our first Virtual Meet-Up I spoke about museums providing relief to a person’s Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook feed. 

    Have you met Tim?

    The National Museum of the Cowboy (Oklahoma) has turned its Twitter feed over to Security Guard, Tim. Tim, who is learning how to tweet as he goes, shares his personal views of the museum. Since he began a couple of weeks ago, the museum has gained national attention (seriously, he was featured on CNN) and has been mentioned in every webinar I have joined. Why is Cowboy Tim so successful? People are hungry for a true connection with a real person who speaks with authenticity and humor. The news is heavy and ever changing but a tweet from Tim that makes you smile is a welcome distraction.

    The Cradle of Aviation in Long Island has turned their Instagram over to Educator Tom who takes the audience on a highly enthusiastic tour of the museum using short videos featuring a range of collection items.

    Showcasing real people who make things happen at your museum is an easy way to add authenticity to your feed. You can still make it fun, like the George Eastman Museum who not only is showing some pretty interesting images of their work behind the scenes, but is adding some badly photoshopped cats into the images. 

    Building Community

    You might be tempted in an effort to reach as many people as possible to build new social media channels. Don’t. Use this time to lean into your existing platforms, step back and refocus to understand your audience. A museum’s social media audience is often not the same as its visitors, or donors. However, you can invite your members and donors to join you in the digital sphere like the Rockwell Museum who is asking its supporters to contribute to its content by asking what artwork found in their collection is their favorite accompanied by up to 120 words why and how it makes them feel, think, etc. 

    Other museums are using their social media channels to communicate directly with their audience. The Erie Canal Museum has begun hosting weekly “Quarantine Coffee Talks” using Facebook Live where staff leads a discussion about an Erie Canal related article. These coffee talks will happen every Thursday at 10 AM. Creating a new online engagement program like this is great, but repetition is key to help build your audience. 

    Museum of Chinese in America has created a “My MOCA Story” video project. MOCA is asking their community to share what’s important in life by recording yourself talking about a favorite object in your home and sharing. 

    The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is building community through an #ArtsMadness challenge. Albright-Knox reached out to museums across the U.S. and challenged them to submit art from their collection that anyone can vote on in head to head competition. This type of collaboration and partnership not only engages the public but connects museums and colleagues. 

    Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum & Education Center created their own #MarchMadness all about finding the greatest Cetacean champion by posting a bracket on their Instagram

    Online Learning

    People are looking for online educational resources. Share your digital collection, research, and stories across your social media channels and feature this content on your website. Contact your local schools and share your resources with them so they can share with parents and teachers. Use live streams to create Q & A sessions or a simple story hour. Reach out to your staff who might not be tech savvy to have them lead a video. Help them learn how to record themselves using their phones and then send you the footage to edit. 

    Rochester Museum and Science Center is creating and sharing their virtual planetariums on their YouTube channel

    Buffalo Museum of Science has created a virtual science fair on their Instagram and Facebook pages by posting different activities and then inviting the public to share their creation by tagging them. 

    The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is hosting a Virtual Student Art Show across their social media channels. Students email artwork and the NMRHF reshares their work. 

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art launched their #MetAnywhere—”a robust selection of online content and social media initiatives that offer ways for audiences to access and enjoy its collection, programs, and educational resources while the Museum is temporarily closed.” It includes access to over 500 panel discussions and lectures along with the Met 360 Progrect.

    Click here for MANY’s full list of Education / Engagement resources.

    Just Follow the Hashtags

    If you are not sure where to start start following #MuseumFromHome and #MuseumMomentofZen. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram and contribute where you can to join these conversations.

    Don’t Forget Email and Your Website

    Email updates about what your team is doing while the doors are closed on how you’re continuing to fulfill your mission. 

    Create a landing page on your website where you can provide updates about your closure, include local health crisis links, and inform them where they can find you virtually while you’re closed physically. Link to your social media channels or link to your blog feed. 

    More Tips

    Reach out to staff across disciplines to create a digital task force. This will be helpful to brainstorm content that can showcase different aspects of your museum and mission that might not be part of your regular social media plan. 

    Collaborate with museums in your region for #MuseumGames or encourage each other to share items from your collection. (Did you catch a  #MuseumBouquet?) 

    Don’t overthink or worry that you don’t have a full social media strategy. It’s okay. As museums adjust to this new reality it is important to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Try new ideas and experiment but you can keep it as simple as posting things from your collection that can highlight your mission and provide a bit of visual relief for your online community.

    More Social Media Resources

    How Your Museum Can Use Social Media During COVID-19


    Social Media 101 for Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations

    How Do Museum Professionals Harness Social Media Marketing?

    Social Media Management in Times of Crisis

    Social Media Video Tips & Strategies 

  • March 27, 2020 3:46 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Dear Members of the MANY Museum Community,

    I hope all who are reading this are well, that your families are well, and that you are taking precautionary measures to remain healthy and safe. 

    When we began to prepare the 2019 annual report that will be included in the March 30 MANY newsletter, there was no way to foresee where we are today. Every museum in New York is closed, thousands of staff have already been laid off, and thousands more will follow. A Washington DC source estimated that as many as 30% of museums across the nation may remain permanently closed. That is a statistic that we are working hard to reduce with advocacy, information, and support for the field. If you have not looked at the resource pages of our website, please take a moment and check, there may be something there that can help you make a hard decision easier.

    As New Yorkers, we are known for our strength, creativity, persistence and resiliency.  We are not known for quiet patience or living comfortably with uncertainty. We are now learning these things together too quickly for many of us to process well.

    MANY's inboxes keep filling with questions from colleagues, public and private funders, and legislators. Some of questions have quantifiable answers such as "How many people who work in museums have been laid off?" We'd like you to help answer this question. Please click here to add your data to the chart. 

    We will share your responses widely. 

    Other questions like

    How long will it take museums to re-open?

    How will the impact of museum closures affect the economy next year?

    How will museum experiences change once the pandemic passes?

    are really not possible for anyone to answer right now. We will use all of MANY's resources to work together and support each other in the coming weeks to find good answers.

    The other question colleagues are asking is 

    When and where will you hold the 2020 MANY Annual Conference?

    I am pleased to be able to announce that we are moving forward with hope and faith that we will all be well, and that the conference will be at the New York State Museum and the Albany Hilton on November, 8, 9, and 10. The Museum and Folk Art Forum will be on November 7.  As we re-construct the conference program we will share the updates on our website. 

    MANY staff are working from home. We want to stay connected to you and be here to help as we can. Please join us each Friday at noon for our virtual MANY Meet Ups. We will be collecting questions over the course of the week, and answering them to the best of our ability during the call. We will continue to add to the resource pages on our website, weekly, daily, and hourly when possible. 

    MANY is stronger today than ever before with 685 members from every region, budget size, and discipline. We are working hard to identify programs for the fall where museum professionals will be able to come together, understand how we have evolved under the pandemic, and what the future might bring. If you are not yet a member of MANY, we need everyone's voices in the conversation more than ever. Please consider joining MANY and lending your perspective and expertise to the future of New York's museum field. 

    I am deeply grateful to those of you who have called to ask me if I am OK— if MANY is OK. Depending on the time of day, which birds are perched on the sugar maple outside my window, or our Governor's latest press conference, I may reply that I am fine, I am scared, I have faith, or that I am angry at those who put politics before humanity.


    With thanks for all of your patience and support as we move forward together. 

    Erika Sanger, Executive Director

  • March 02, 2020 7:52 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Hudson River Museum was awarded a Engaging Communities Award of Merit for Through Our Eyes: Collection Initiative and Exhibition, a new digital archive documenting the diverse history of the people of Yonkers. A related exhibition Through Our Eyes: Milestones and Memories of African Americans in Yonkers (May 31-November 3, 2019) culminated the year-long project envisioned by HRM and implemented by their Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow, Christian Stegall, under the direction of the curatorial and education department heads.

    Troy, NY—The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is pleased to announce their 2020 Awards of Merit to be presented to eleven individuals, museums, exhibitions, and programs from across New York State. The Awards of Merit were judged for programs conducted in 2019 and will be presented as part of the Museum Association of New York's 2020 conference "The Power of Partnership" at the Hilton Albany in Albany, NY on Monday, March 30 at 8 AM.

    The Awards of Merit recognizes outstanding and innovative programs, staff and volunteers who have enriched New York State museums with new and remarkable projects. The Awards of Merit are judged in seven categories by an Annual Review Committee.   

    The Anne Ackerson Innovation in Leadership Award recognizes a board member or staff leader that saw their organization through a critical challenge or significant opportunity in a creative, effective manner. Ed Varno, Executive Director of the Ontario County Historical Society will receive this year’s most prestigious award. Members of the committee noted Varno’s dedicated work at the Ontario County Historical Society during a critical point for the organization. Varno led the organization to new levels of community engagement, relevance, and sustainability.

    The Award of Merit for Individual Achievement recognizes devoted staff and volunteers who are instrumental in moving their organizations forward over a sustained period. This year the committee recognized Individual Achievement in two categories, one recognizing a staff member and the other recognizing a museum trustee/volunteer. For the Individual Achievement of a museum staff member, the committee recognized Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History at Fort Ticonderoga for his incredible work in overseeing their Public History department. The committee was impressed with Lilie’s work that created a living history program using documents from Fort Ticonderoga’s collection to establish a sustainable program that has visitors returning to Fort Ticonderoga year after year. For Individual Achievement of a museum trustee/volunteer was awarded to Stephanie Krusa of the Montauk Historical Society. The committee appreciated Krusa’s tireless dedication to the Montauk Historical Society and her commitment as a volunteer who went above and beyond to help raise the professionalism and elevate the profile of the museum.  

    The Excellence in Design Award, sponsored by the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME), recognizes an exhibition produced by a cultural institution that articulates content through engaging design and creates a satisfying visitor experience. The Excellence in Exhibition Design for organizations with an operating budget over $5 million was awarded to Camp: Notes on Fashion by The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The committee was impressed with its engaging content and how the exhibition brought out a marginalized story into public view. It was an incredible exhibition design and a relevant non-traditional topic for the museum. 

    The Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island by the Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages was awarded an Award of Merit in Excellence in Design for organizations with operating budgets under $5 million. Drawing on decades of scholarship about the African American experience on Long Island during and after slavery, the Long Island Museum became the first museum to offer an island-wide exploration of this crucial historical subject in a format accessible to a wide public audience through this exhibition and its accompanying public programming. The committee was impressed by the breadth of this project and how it provided a socially relevant historical experience.

    The Innovation in Collections Access Award recognizes exemplary projects that broaden access, preserve, and catalog museum and heritage organization collections. This year the committee recognizes Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at The Tang Teaching Museum. Accelerate was an ambitious project and involved collaborations with more than one hundred artists, students, faculty, and visiting scholars over three years and serves as a model for developing large-scale grant projects that focus on a museum’s collection, bringing in collaborators from backgrounds and perspectives that differ in geography, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and ability, and highlighting artists of backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the museum space. 

    The Engaging Communities Award recognizes organizations that use creative methods to engage its community and build new audiences. Projects can include collections interpretation, exhibitions, lecture series, educational or public programs, focus groups, strategic planning, or other community engagement efforts. This award is given to organizations based on their operating budget:


    Volunteer- $100,000

    Civil War Day, Military History Society of Rochester 

    Hosted by the Military History Society of Rochester, Civil War Day is a day-long, interactive program for 4th and 7th graders that engages them with the American Civil War through talks, slide shows, authentic artifacts, and active participation. The day included four sessions on tenting and school of the soldier, artillery and soldiers in the way, music and kids in the Civil War, and Uniforms and food of the day.



    We Were There: Schoharie County and the 9/11 Response

    In early 2019, Schoharie County Historical Society representatives along with local residents Brian Head and Kevin Neary, undertook an effort to gather the stories of their first responders involved at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. This project was a first for Schoharie County Historical Society. Through collaborative efforts, the historical society was able to exhibit numerous artifacts from the New York State Museum to teach a new generation about 9/11. 



    Through Our Eyes: Collection Initiative and Exhibition, Hudson River Museum

    Through Our Eyes is a new digital archive at the Hudson River Museum (HRM) documenting the diverse history of the people of Yonkers. A related exhibition Through Our Eyes: Milestones and Memories of African Americans in Yonkers (May 31-November 3, 2019) culminated the year-long project envisioned by HRM and implemented by their Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow, Christian Stegall, under the direction of the curatorial and education department heads. Their goal was to collect images related to important stories and everyday moments in Yonkers, as a part of a commitment to equity in representation at the Museum. To date, HRM has collected more than 700 photographs, spanning over 100 years, which document African Americans who made Yonkers the vibrant city that it is today.


    Over $5,000,000

    Vogueing Program by The Costume Institute and the Education Department, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    In the spring of 2019, The Costume Institute’s exhibition Camp: Notes on Fashion created an opportunity to launch a unique series of events and workshops centered around performance by members of New York City’s vogueing community.  Exhibition curators and museum education staff conceived of the series of performances in The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a way to advance critical and creative dialogue about the ongoing impact of the camp aesthetic on fashion.  In so doing, curators and educators sought to support community engagement with diverse NYC youth, area LGBTQIA communities, and the transgender community of New York City.


    New to the Award of Merits this year is the Development Award. This award recognizes institutions whose fundraising campaigns have been innovative, engaging, and successful. This award showcases teams or individuals who garner financial support creatively and effectively for the benefits of their organization and their community’s cultural economy. The Paleontological Research Institution (Museum of the Earth) will receive this award for their Teach Climate Science Project. This project was a crowdfunding campaign to disseminate their “Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change” to every high school science teacher in the United States. By November 2019, Museum of the Earth had raised $137,000 and reached over 50,000 teachers and 5 million students with both print and digital copies. The committee was impressed by the reach of the project and how relevant and helpful this project was for teachers seeking information from a scientific source. 


    The Award Ceremony will take place at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 30, 2020 at the Hilton Albany in Albany, NY. Photo opportunities will be available. For further information please contact info@nysmuseums.org or 518-273-3400.

  • February 27, 2020 5:54 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    NYS museum delegates gather outside Senator Gillibrand’s office as part of Museums Advocacy Day with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

    Dear Members of MANY’s Museum Community,

    If you’ve attended a MANY program in the past couple of years, you have heard me ask you to reach out to your local, state, and federal legislators to let them know what resources you need to serve our communities, preserve and share collections, and sustain and grow the unique power that museums have to transform lives. I know some of us find it difficult to speak up and get loud enough to make a difference. Many museum professionals identify as introverts, while others may be uncomfortable speaking with people they don’t know.

    One member of our museum community, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has just experienced a disaster that we all dread— the potential loss of a collection to fire. MOCA’s social media campaigns, calls to city officials, outreach to emergency management offices, and help from members of the community made a difference. Their announcement on Thursday, February 27 that the building on 70 Mulberry Street that housed the collection will be hand-demolished and that most of the collection remaining will be salvaged will help them continue to tell the nationally significant stories embodied in the collections.

    At MANY’s annual conference in Albany on Monday, March 30th at 1:00, a group of museum professionals will share how communities and museums responded to the impact of Hurricanes Sandy, Irene, and Andrew and how shared exhibitions and programming effected change in their communities. Coming together, speaking out, and communicating our needs to our representatives is how we will effect positive change for New York’s Museums.

    MANY is here to help our members amplify their advocacy messages, and I want to remind you that you are the best ones to tell your story with authentic passion. We returned on Wednesday from AAM’s Museums Advocacy Day where 55 representatives from New York made 30 visits to our Senators and Congressional representatives. We are fortunate that we can thank Senator Schumer for his support and Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Paul D. Tonko for co-authoring the Office of Museum Services budget appropriation sign on letters in their respective houses. Congressman Tonko closed Museums Advocacy Day with an impassioned pledge of his spirit, integrity, and energy on behalf of museums across our nation. He knows that our museums are the most effective places to express and share our art, history, and heritage about the places we call home.

    In Albany we have been working hard with NY State Senator Serrano and Assembly Member Fahy to advance the Museum Education Act A.9695 (Fahy)/S.6819 (Serrano). I am pleased to report that it has passed out of the Tourism Committee in the Assembly and the Cultural Affairs Committee in the Senate but we need you to step in, speak up and get loud now. We have received an outpouring of support in both houses, but we need you to tell your legislators how your museum does essential work in your community and ask them for their support now. Please send an email and follow up with a phone call to your State Senators and Assembly Members as soon as possible to ask for their support to include the Museum Education Act (A.9695 (Fahy)/S.6819 (Serrano)) in the one house budget bills at $3.5M. You can find your Assembly Member's contact information by clicking here and your New York State Senator by clicking here and MANY's memo of support here. Please feel free to borrow freely from this email and our letter of support when contacting your legislators. There is more advocacy information about the MEA on our website: https://nysmuseums.org/Advocacy.

    If you are planning to join us at our 2020 annual conference in Albany (it is going to be amazing), please invite your legislators to join us at the “Power of Partnership” 2020 Annual Conference Opening Reception on Sunday, March 29th in The Rotunda of the New York State Education Department Building from 4:30 – 6:30 PM. You can find a pdf of the invitation here. With budget negotiations underway, I am sure they will appreciate a break and a chance to speak with and enjoy refreshments with their constituents.


    With thanks and hopes to see you in Albany!

  • February 26, 2020 4:06 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Founded in 1862, Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery is undergoing a massive expansion project scheduled to finish in 2022. It is the third major construction project in the museum’s history. While the main building is closed, the museum has sustained its engagement of its members and visitors with public art installations throughout Erie County, art programming throughout Western New York with their Art Truck, and the opening of Albright-Knox Northland, a new facility in Buffalo’s Northland Corridor.

    Architectural rendering of the new 30,000 square foot addition to the 1905 building on the main Albright-Knox Campus. Image courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery

    Off-Site, On Mission: Northland - Public Art - Art Truck

    To continue to engage with artists, community members, and visitors during construction, the Albright-Knox is hosting exhibitions and events at Albright-Knox Northland. The 15,000 square-foot building is a former industrial site and is not climate controlled. Opened in January of 2020, it will offer different kinds of exhibition experiences than those presented at the main campus. This challenge is viewed as an exciting opportunity to cultivate new exhibitions and visitor experiences. “We have to think about the ways in which we engage with contemporary artists, often in a way that results in collaborative works. It also casts a wide net for our audience so that the artists can be a little bit more active with the work in the space,” said Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at the Albright-Knox. The first and current exhibition, Open House: Domestic Thresholds, features a life-sized replica rooftop that visitors are encouraged to climb on and explore inside. The exhibition is a collaboration between three artists, the late Rodney Taylor, Edra Soto, and Heather Hart. 

    Exterior of Albright-Knox Northland, a 15,000 square-foot industrial building that has been repurposed for exhibiting contemporary art, space for events and programming, and staff office space while the main Albright-Knox campus undergoes construction. Photo courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery

    Installation view of Open House: Domestic Thresholds by Heather Hart, Edra Soto, and Rodney Taylor. Photograph by Brenda Bieger

    For now, Albright-Knox Northland will continue to be home for museum staff, educational programming, and exhibitions of contemporary art on a pay-what-you-wish admission basis. “We’re doing things that are certainly what the museum has normally done, but in a different way,” said Ott. The goal for exhibitions at Northland is to re-calibrate people’s relationship with contemporary art and, as Ott hopes, their relationship with Albright Knox. 

    Established in 2014, the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative, which has created more than 30 murals through Buffalo, will continue and increase throughout construction. 

    Louise Jones’s Wildflowers for Buffalo, 2018, at 465 Washington Street in Buffalo. 

    Photograph by MK Photo.

    The mobile Art Truck, which launched late last year, is bringing hands-on educational programming to Western New York communities. The Albright-Knox partnered with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York to present art classes for people of all ages and skill levels. The Art Truck will bring programs and materials to schools, libraries, parks and community centers with scheduled events and opportunities for nonprofits and for-profit organizations to request the Art Truck at their events. 

    The Albright-Knox Art Truck, which brings arts into local neighborhoods, was awarded a separate grant through the National Endowment for the Arts. Photo courtesy Albright-Knox

    Expansion and Transformation

    The expansion project will create more exhibition space to showcase the Albright-Knox collection. Before it closed, the museum was only able to exhibit 1-2% of its collection at any one time. After the expansion, the exhibition capacity will nearly double and will add a state-of-the-art space for presenting special exhibitions. Albright-Knox Director of Education & Community Engagement Dr. Jennifer Foley said that the museum has a lot of repeat visitors who have deep connections to the collection. “They often express disappointment when they visit and don’t see their favorite work,” said Foley. 

    AK360 will also create more space for education and events. The education classrooms will move into the 1962 building in a more visible space. These spaces will be enlarged and updated to allow the Albright-Knox Education & Community Engagement team to focus on program development for specific audiences. The 1962 open-air Sculpture Garden will be covered, converting the space into an Indoor Town Square for year-round civic engagement, open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours. “[These new spaces] will make it possible for us to think about whole new types of programming and engagement that we haven’t been able to do in the past,” said Foley. “We will be able to really think about how we can develop programming that is responsive and in tandem with our community.”

    Architectural rendering by OMA/Shohei Shigematsu of a new work of signature architecture on the north end of its historic campus, which will more than double the amount of prime exhibition space. The new building will also incorporate several visitor amenities and is envisioned to have a wraparound promenade that visually connects the interior of the building with the surrounding Frederick Law Olmsted landscape. Photo courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

    Getting Community Buy-In

    The Albright-Knox will add 30,000 square feet of exhibition space. This new building, an impressive work of signature architecture on the north end of the museum campus, will have several visitor amenities and a wraparound promenade that will connect the interior to the surrounding Frederick Law Olmstead park. With this massive undertaking, the Albright-Knox was keen to have a positive working relationship with its neighbors and stakeholders in the community. 

    “We are in a neighborhood where we are surrounded by our cultural partners, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo State College, Shakespeare in the Park which takes place in Olmsted Park behind the museum, and the Buffalo History Museum. We also have residents as neighbors,” said Maria Morreale, Director of Communications. “What we have done and what we will continue to do for those who are significant stakeholders is to keep them informed of what is happening next by inviting them to the table.” The table is actual meetings or meet and greets between neighbors and construction managers to allow the public to ask questions and for the construction team to hear concerns. “Transparency is our ultimate goal, but it also helps stakeholders get to know the construction company and contractors,” said Morreale. Additional meetings will continue as major steps in the project proceed. 

    Lawn view rendering of the new north building. Photo courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery

    Economic Impact

    When the Albright-Knox re-opens in 2022 as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, it anticipates a 30-40% increase in visitors and $34 million economic impact, an anticipated 40% increase. Funding to AK360 for the total construction project will total around $165 million with $720,00 from NYS REDC, $500,00 from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from private donations. The project has received public support from Congressman Brian Higgins and Senator Charles Schumer (who helped announce the federal funding awarded to museum) who were both impressed with what the continued growth of the museum will contribute to economic impact in Buffalo and amplify it as a destination for art and arts education. “This project was seen or perceived by them [Congressman Higgins and Senator Schumer] as being an integral part of Buffalo’s resurgence or renaissance, particularly with the anticipated economic impact of the project,” said Morreale. 

    Advocating for Your Institution

    “Telling the story of what you’re doing to your representatives—whether it’s state, local or federal—and about the impact that your museum is having on the community is key,” said Foley. “This is why when we create partnerships between our schools, libraries, and community centers with the Art Truck, our Mayor will come to an event because we are engaging with his constituents and he wants them to know that he supports what we are doing.”

    “We have very good relationships with our elected officials—we work with their staffs, we invite them to participate in our events, we value their input on and feedback about what matters to our shared constituencies, and those long standing relationships helped make our ask for support the furthest thing from a cold call,” said Carly Kirchberger, Manager of Government and Foundation Relationships. “We also invested in the data. We know a project like this will positively impact the landscape of our community, but when we made these presentations we had the numbers and information to back up this belief which in turn helped those officials make their case on our behalf.”

    Opportunities to Reflect

    Going through a massive building project, whether the museum is closed or partially closed, provides an incredible opportunity for museums to reflect and look at what they might want to change. “It allows time to ask questions like ‘who do we want to be when we launch as that new museum?’ or ‘ what do we want to change, add, or do differently?’ It’s important to take the time to reflect,” said Morreale.

    Ahead of the project, visitor surveys and public meetings were key to help answer those questions. “It was a really useful project because what we heard from people informed those initiatives that we are implementing now which is bringing the Albright-Knox deeper into its community through public art, through Northland, and through the Art Truck,” said Morreale. “As we were thinking through how we would engage people in this period of ‘closure’ we were able to lean on all those conversations that we had in the preceding years.” 

    “I think that a lot of those conversations have informed how we’re thinking about what’s going to happen when we open,” said Foley. “It’s having an impact on how we’re thinking about how the future operations should be...what we turn our focus and attention to in the new museum. All of that discussion is incredibly important both in what happens in-between and what happens when we open.”

    Further Reading

    About the Project


    Albright-Knox Northland...new experience, visitor favorites


    Schumer and Higgins announce two federal grants totaling $500,000 for Albright-Knox Art Gallery


  • February 26, 2020 4:01 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In 2020, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) awarded more than $3.7 million in 132 grants to organizations from all 10 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Regions in New York State for Museum Program Funding. Grant applications for 2021 are due March 12 by 4 PM. We are pleased to share some helpful tips from NYSCA to navigate the grant application process and examples from previous Museum Program Grantees to help inspire your institution as the deadline approaches. 

    NYSCA Grantee Map, (all grant recipients for all NSYCA programs)

    The goals for the Museum Program Grants from NYSCA are to “help advance museums and other related professional service organizations by offering support for arts and cultural activities, and encourages creative thinking to better engage the public.” Funding can be awarded to museums, cultural nonprofits, Native American Tribes in New York State, and units of government in municipalities in New York State, like public libraries, school districts, or public parks. All organizations must have its main place of business located in New York and serve New York State constituents. 

    Museum Program Grants

    This program seeks to recognize excellence in museums engaged in arts and cultural activities, encourage creativity, foster life-long learning through museums, expand audience for museums, recognize strong leadership and institutional management, and support non-profit organizations providing opportunities for museum professionals. Within the Museum Program Grants there are three funding categories: General Operating Support, Project Support, and Regrants and Partnerships (the last category being by invitation to apply only). 

    General Operating Support

    General Operating Support is investment by NYSCA into an organization’s ongoing work instead of a specific project or program. Funds can be used to support administration, finance, programming, or other organization activities. From NYSCA’s Museum Program Guidelines when considering General Operating Support, “NYSCA examines the nature, scope, and quality of an organization’s programs and activities, its managerial and fiscal competence, and its public service.” 

    Some of the main criteria to qualify for General Operating Support from NYSCA is that an organization must:

    • Have ongoing programs, exhibitions, or other arts and cultural activities that are open to the general public

    • Makes evident a substantial commitment to arts and or culture, with a prior record of accomplishment in producing or presenting cultural activities

    • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility, like positive fund balance or a balanced organizational budget without substantial or recurring deficits

    • Employ one or more qualified and salaried full time or part time administrative staff

    • Have a policy of fair payment to artists

    Museums like the Long Island Children’s Museum on Long Island and the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton both received General Operating Support form NYSCA in 2019 for their public programming and exhibitions. The Long Island Children’s Museum specifically uses these funds to support their traveling exhibits, theatre performances, and other community outreach initiatives while the Roberson Museum uses General Operating Support to fund a percentage of the salaries of their Director of Education, Public Programs Coordinator, Registrar, and Director of Exhibitions. The Museum at Eldridge Street received $20,000 in General Operating Support for general operations including their historic building tours, temporary exhibitions program, k-12 educational programs, adult learning programs, lectures and concerts, and neighborhood walking tours.

    Long Island Children’s Museum Theatre, which is partially supported by NSYCA General Operating Support, is Long Island’s only year-round venue that offers more than 200 live family-focused performances. Photo courtesy Long Island Children’s Museum

    General Operating Support is usually awarded on a multi-year basis. These grants are no less than $5,000 and cannot exceed more than 25% of an organization’s budget. 

    Project Support

    Project support offers an opportunity for museums or related service organizations to “seek funding for projects or programs that are essential to maintain, improve and/or increase service to their audience/communities.” NYSCA cites arts or cultural projects like exhibitions, education programs, public programs, interpretation, collections research, catalogs, audience development, and services to the field.

    The minimum awarded is $2,500 and grants cannot exceed 50% of the total project budget. 

    Bronx Children’s Museum

    Bronx Children’s Museum’s “Dream Big” Summer Arts Enrichment Program.  Photo courtesy Bronx Children’s Museum

    The Bronx Children’s Museum received $8,000 in NYSCA Project Support for their community based learning project, “Dream Big”— a five week summer arts enrichment program to children in the South Bronx that focused on the theme “Building the Bronx.” The Dream Big Summer Enrichment Program serves approximately one hundred 2nd and 3rd graders from Bronx community-based organizations and schools. Its purpose is “to encourage children to entertain and elaborate on their grandest desires for their futures.” Offered as a summer enrichment program at two to three community based organizations as day camps, museum teaching artists provide visual and performance arts instruction three days a week for up to fifteen sessions. The theme changes each year but it is always Bronx related. The program culminates is a Dream Big Day which celebrates the entire program and where notable Bronx-born in the arts and public life (like Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor) interact with the children and help inspire them to pursue their dreams. Children also present what they have learned throughout the program.

    Other Project Support Funding

    The Voelker Orth Museum is a museum in Queens that tells the story of an immigrant family in the 1890s. The Museum received $5,000 in NYSCA Project Support for the first phase of a new interpretive plan that will include audience evaluation and asset review. 

    Lakes to Locks Passage received $18,00 to continue services to the field with workshops, roundtables, and technical assistance to museums in northern New York State for building strong governance, improving capacity, and creating thematic interpretive programs to increase visitors’ understanding of the region’s cultural resources. 

    Announcement of KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature Exhibition on The New York Botanical Garden Instagram account, @nybl

    The New York Botanical Garden received $20,000 in project support for their exhibition “KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature” a garden-wide exhibition that will bring new, critical perspectives to the body of work by Japanese Contemporary Artists Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition combines newly commissioned site-specific, early, and existing artwork and will be a multi-sensory presentation of Kusama’s connection with nature. 

    The exhibition will cover the entire 250 acres, inside and out and will feature Kusama’s first obliteration greenhouse.

    The exhibition opens on May 9, 2020.

    Tips and Advice from NYSCA

    • Read the Guidelines carefully. There are updates every year.

    • Ask questions! Reach out to NYSCA Program staff.

    • Use the formatting tools in the NYSCA-CFA to make your application easier to read.

    • Submit early. Don’t wait until the last day to apply—there are no extensions.

    • Follow up. Whether your request is funded or not, follow up with NSYCA Program staff after you receive notice to schedule time to hear feedback.

    Applicants to the Museum Program can choose to apply for either General Operating Support or Project Support, but not both. Organization may submit applications for another NYSCA Program, like Facilities Projects, Folk Arts, or Visual Arts, etc.) if applicable.

    Consolidated Funding Application Tips

    • Be prepared. Review all the steps to apply: https://arts.ny.gov/application-guide

    • Choose your words wisely when it comes to character counts. Character counts at the maximum and do include spaces. Tell your story with detail but don’t be repetitive.

    • Use your options. For NYSCA, budget notes are really important, so don’t skip them.

    • Upload support materials. Each category has different requirements so be sure to read carefully and upload the required materials as PDFs as to not lose any formatting. 

    • Again, submit early. No exceptions for CFA applications. 

    Grant applications are due March 12, 2020 by 4 PM.

    Further Reading / Resources

    Museum Program Overview


    Recent NYSCA Grants Search 

    Search for recently funding NYSCA organizations


    Applying to NYSCA for FY21? Start Here!


  • February 25, 2020 6:07 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Earlier in February, I traveled to the Philipsburg Manor Historic Site in Sleepy Hollow to join a discussion with representatives from 20 institutions led by Historic Hudson Valley about how they are telling the stories of enslavement in the Colonial North.

    Participants came from historic sites and museums in the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City sharing  success stories, resources, current projects, and challenges across the sector. .

    (left) Michael Lord, Associate Director and Content Developer for Historic Hudson Valley, leads a tour of Philipsburg Manor

    Historic Hudson Valley

    Historic Hudson Valley (HHV) has been committed to telling the story of enslavement in the colonial north for more than two decades. They do this at their Philipsburg Manor site through a dynamic range of programs and digital initiatives that are responsive to the needs of educators, students, and the public. HHV uses primary documents from the Philipse and Van Cortlandt families and scholarly research to “illuminate the lives of the enslaved Afrians who lived and worked in the Northern states; to grapple with the inhumanity of their plight, and to make their skilled contributions to the American economy and national culture abundantly evident to our visitors.” 

    Philipsburg Manor is a 1750 milling and trading complex that was home to 23 enslaved individuals of African descent. Extensive research has been done using primary sources to learn  the names of those enslaved on this site. If I had arrived some twenty years earlier, the experience would have been very different. In fact, I might have learned very little about any enslaved individuals who lived and worked there. Historic Hudson Valley made the decision to tell the larger story, bring their content up to date, and move these stories forward using primary and secondary sources and translating them to the public. 

    “People Not Property” Project

    The original interpretation at Philipsburg Manor focused on the Philipse family. HHV wanted to alter its interpretation to focus on researching and telling the stories of those enslaved at the manor and the story of enslavement in the Colonial North. The “People Not Property” website project explores the history of slavery in the Hudson Valley region. The project was one of 253 across the United States and was awarded $500,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create digital exhibitions and advance research. The website is an interactive documentary that explains the history of enslavement in the Northeast, focusing on the Hudson Valley by using stories, videos, and re-enactments. “People Not Property” focuses on the lives of the 32 enslaved Africans who built and maintained Philipsburg Manor. 

    (left) Objects in the Philipsburg Manor that are used to help tell the stories of those lived and worked there.

    Michael Lord, Associate Director and Content Creator for Historic Hudson Valley who convened this Historic Sites and Slavery Roundtable, recognized the importance of acknowledging the existence of slavery in the Colonial North and telling these stories from the perspective of the enslaved. With the success of the new interpretation at Philipsburg Manor and the “People Not Property” project helping to inform the public about the impact of slavery in the north, HHV hopes to gather like minded people representing museums and historic sites in the Hudson Valley and beyond to share collective challenges and share their institutional perspectives.

    Around the Table

    Participants included curators, interpreters, directors of public programming and education from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Historic Huguenot Street, Morris-Jumel Mansion in NYC, and Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Long Island. 

    23 participants from around the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City gathered at the Philipsburg Manor Historic Site in Sleepy Hollow  for an informal discussion about historic sites and the presentation of enslavement in the Colonial North.

    At the start of our tour of Philipsburg Manor, each participant shared what their museum or historic site was doing to tell their stories of enslavement. Laura Carpenter Myers, Director at Van Cortlandt House Museum (located in Van Cortlandt Park in the Kingsbridge neighborhood of The Bronx and the oldest surviving building in the borough) shared that the museum is looking for grant funding to tell the stories of those enslaved and is inviting the community to participate by hosting community coalition meetings. 

    The Dyckman Farmhouse, built in 1784 in upper Manhattan in the Inglewood neighborhood, is researching the history and lives of those who were enslaved. Now, museum staff are trying to figure out the next steps and how to best use this information to tell these stories. 

    Preservation Long Island shared that like the Van Cortlandt House Museum, they too are using community round tables to gather information from the public on the three historic house museums that they manage on how best to tell the stories of enslavement, specifically at Joseph Lloyd Manor and the life of Jupiter Hammon, one of the first published African American authors who lived, wrote, and was enslaved at Lloyd Manor for most of his life. Educational programs for teachers now include workshops on the history of “Colonial Long Island’ and the “Slave Experience in New York.” Preservation Long Island recently launched The Jupiter Hammon Project, a major initiative that will develop a new interpretive direction for the Lloyd Manor that “encourages responsible, rigorous, and relevant encounters with the story of Jupiter Hammon” as well as Long Island’s history of enslavement and its impact on society today.

    Donnamarie Barnes, Curator and Archivist at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm shared the “Hidden in Plain Sight” Program which is sharing the histories of enslaved African American people who lived, worked, and died on Long Islands’ East End. The program, which took place as part of the 5th Annual Black History Month Celebration on February 24, explored the history of slavery on the East End and “the omission of that history from the founding narrative of the United States.” Sylvester Manor, like HHV, is using primary documents to find the names of the enslaved and to understand their lives. 

    Challenges as a Region

    While these historic sites and museums are making incredible strides in research and creating now content and interpretation, there are challenges. After the tour of Philipsburg Manor, we gathered back inside the visitor center and spoke about the shared challenges. Levada Nahon, Interpreter of African American History with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, asked how historic sites and museums share primary documents that tell the stories of enslavement in the Colonial North with the public. Nahon commented that “we should start addressing enslavement happening in the North and move away from the notion that the Dutch weren’t enslavers.” Sharing resources with the public from each historic site is important to help recognize enslavement in the North. “It’s important to get the word out to our audiences to challenge the southern narrative.

    One other challenge that many participants shared was training staff and volunteers on how to talk about slavery and the terminology to use. Nahon asked “how do we train the staff for these dialogues and what is the emotional impact of these new interpretive techniques?” At this point in the discussion,  there was a lot of great advice and resources shared from other institutions. Heather Lodge, Manager of Youth and Family Programs at Greenwich Historical and Bush-Holley House, who also was involved with the Witness Stone Project in Guilford, shared information about the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience network who is helping historic sites with safe spaces and resources about sharing difficult histories. 

    Moving Forward

    At the end of the discussion, all institutions agreed that there are still important stories waiting to be told and the need to continue to recover peoples’ stories with new perspectives. Historic Hudson Valley hopes to continue to have these meetings and to continue the discussion. Connecting historic sites and museums who have similar goals is important to share resources, stories of success, and to share strategies to navigate challenges. 

    Further Reading / Resources

    Historic Hudson Valley “People Not Property” 


    Preservation Long Island “The Jupiter Hammon Project”


    Hidden in Plain Sight


    Teaching Tolerance: Using the WPA Slave Narratives


  • January 29, 2020 2:49 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    This letter originally appeared in our "This Month in NYS Museums" newsletter sent on 1/29/2020. For the latest information about the Museum of Chinese in America please visit:https://www.mocanyc.org/visit/

    In his 2020 book, The Storytelling Animal, scientist Jonathan Gottschall proposed that human beings are natural storytellers; that we love stories so much we incorporate and use objects, artifacts, ephemera, and out natural world to tell stories about ourselves and our cultures to make them relatable to other humans.

    Imagine dedicating forty years of your life to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the stories of your family, your neighbors, and your community, and waking up one morning to learn that all you collected to tell those stories was gone.

    Last week’s fire in a brick building at 70 Mulberry Street in New York City has devastated the Chinese community in New York and across our country. They did not only lose their community center, they lost their stories embodied in the collections of The Museum of Chinese in America.

    The museum staff may be able to gain access through first responders to part of what may remain of the collections later today (January 29). Although they believe that most of the collection did not burn, the rescue, restoration, and conservation of the collection requires assistance and funding beyond the current means of the museum. Imagine the damage caused by 12 hours of water pouring from fire hoses onto rare books, archival materials, precious textiles, and ephemera and the expense of rescue and restoration. 

    We have little control over disasters like floods and fires, but there are things we can do as museum professionals to take precautions with this unimaginable loss in mind.Call your local first responders, invite them to your museum, show them where you store your collections, share your stories with them so that if the water rises, or a fire starts, they are better prepared to help in an emergency.

    Donate to the rescue efforts at MOCA. Every donation is significant, no matter

    the amount. 

    Sign up and volunteer to share your professional expertise with MOCA staff.

    We will do our best to share the news of the recovery and preservation efforts in the weeks to come. Please help however you can. 

    Listen to NPR’s “All Things Considered” interview with Nancy Yao Maasback, MOCA President What The Museum of Chinese In America Lost In A Fire

    From the NY Times: 85,000 Pieces From Beloved Chinatown Museum Likely Destroyed in Fire

    From the Gothamist: Archive Recovery To Begin At Museum Of Chinese in America Days After Devastating Fire

    From the New Yorker: What We Lost in the Museum of Chinese in America Fire

  • January 29, 2020 2:23 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    "Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty" was a phrase coined by Jack Weinberg in the 1960s.

    Photo courtesy of the Button Museum.

    Dear Members of the MANY community,

    This past November I turned 57. Depending on which demographer you choose to believe, I am either a Baby Boomer or a member of the elusively-defined Generation “X.” My older cousins wore POW-MIA bracelets to honor soldiers captured in the Vietnam War. Some went to Woodstock, others got stuck on the Thruway trying to get there. I was surrounded by people who fought for racial and gender equality, protested against injustice, questioned authority, broke dress codes, and stepped outside of social norms. There was a clear divide from older generations fueled by a mutual lack of trust; places and spaces to come together and agree on politics, music, or values were few and far between. 

    I held part-time jobs through college and graduate school, and paid off my student loans by the time I was 40. Once I entered the museum world, I was frequently the youngest person in the room. I was told to be quiet in meetings and deferential to senior staff. A colleague stopped me after a meeting to tell me that I shouldn’t act like I knew what I was doing, because I didn’t. About a year later that person apologized, admitted that they spoke harshly, and hadn’t given me a chance. I have never forgotten that apology because it taught me how to gracefully admit when I had done something wrong. 

    We are once again at a time when a generational divide has sown a lack of trust in our society and in our workplace and distracted us from achieving common goals that would benefit ourselves, our families, and our organizations. I know I have complained about having to learn yet another new way to electronically manage files, send emails, or keep a calendar to accommodate how my staff tracked my travel. But recently, someone reminded me how it felt to be the youngest person in the room. 

    The divide between older and younger museum professionals may be more about history, culture, and technology than money or political power, but the gap is real. If you are a Baby Boomer in the position to hire a new staff person, you can find articles on LinkedIn about traits you need to know and practice to successfully train a Millennial. A Millennial told me it was one of the most condescending things that they had ever read. 

    A Pew Research Center study from the fall of 2019 confirmed what most of us already know, that Millennials are the fastest growing sector of non-profit professionals, leading older Americans in their adoption and use of technology. Millennials are not the ones hanging out in bars until last call. They have young children and mortgages, are passionately dedicated to the museum field, and won’t be able to retire their student loan debt before they turn 40.

    The generation divide in museums may also be defined by how you learned to do your job. Did you have a typewriter at your first desk? Did someone deliver a press proof that you edited by cutting and pasting text and sending it back to a typesetter? If you answered these questions with “yes” and remember how it felt when that first computer was delivered to you, I ask you think about how those tools changed the way you communicated, managed projects, and produced exhibitions. Now imagine never having to change and learning how to do your job already fluent and highly skilled with those tools. Many Baby Boomer and Generation "X" colleagues question younger staff about why they want to do things differently and discuss the challenges of working with Millennials. It may be time for those of us with gray hair to remember how it felt to be told to keep quiet and be deferential. 

    Gathering together generationally may feel safe, but it also may be distracting us from larger issues in our field and diverting our attention from ways in which we can advance our institutions. If it can fit your schedule and your budget, come to the MANY conference in Albany, get out of your comfort zone, and let’s find a safe space together to build trust and share ideas without regard to the year on our birth certificates. 

    With thanks for your support,

  • January 29, 2020 1:56 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In December 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that more than $761 million in Round IX of New York State Regional Economic Development Council Initiatives (REDC) were awarded to municipalities, non-profits, art and cultural organizations, and museums. 58 museums across New York State received just over $21 million in REDC Initiatives. 

    Funding to museums included Empire State Development (ESD) Grants, Market New York (MNY), Environmental Protection Fund: Parks, Preservation and Heritage Grants (OPRHP), and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) initiatives. 

    Funding to museums by REDC Region

    NYSCA’s Arts and Cultural Initiatives

    NYSCA’s Arts and Cultural Initiatives funding provides up to $5 million across New York State’s 10 economic development regions. Its purpose is to enhance and transform the cultural and economic vitality of NYS communities. Funding support is broken down into three categories: NY State Arts Impact Awards, Workforce Investment, and Workforce Fellowships. 

    Workforce investment funding supports the creation of new full or part-time positions as well as the expansion of existing part-time positions to full time. It includes either general full-time or part-time positions, or a resident artist (like a visual artist, folklorist, or choreographer). 

    The Wild Center received $30,000 from NYSCA Workforce Investment for its Fellowships program. This Fellowship provides job training and experience focused on museum operations, interpretation, and the region’s cultural and natural history. This program helps emerging museum professionals prepare for the next stage in their careers. 

    Genesee Country Village & Museum received $15,600 in renewed support for an Assistant Preservation Carpenter, a full-time resident artist position, who will demonstrate their craft for visitors, offer community education programs, and assist in the maintenance of the sixty eight buildings on-site.

    A $20,000 Workforce Investment was awarded to the Burchfield Penney Art Center who will expand a part-time Curatorial Associate into a full time position. The goal is to enable this position to expand their services to the community and visitors from across New York State and beyond.

    The Arts & Cultural Facilities Improvement Program (Arts ACFIP) provides funding for renovations and/or expansions that are open to the public, projects to support sustainable and energy efficient spaces, improvement in accessibility, and improvements to technology and other equipment that benefits the public. 

    The Hispanic Society of America received $145,000 for a special exhibition gallery helping to renovate its East Building’s ground floor and will focus on juxtaposing its global Hispanic collections with Contemporary Ibero-Latinx art. 

    In the Finger Lakes, the National Women’s Hall of Fame will use its $145,000 Arts ACFIP Award to restore its iconic Seneca Knitting Mill Smokestack and will focus on making the building accessible while completing the second floor occupancy to celebrate Great American Women. 

    Market New York

    In 2018, New York State tourism grew by $6 billion and generated nearly $155 billion in economic impact. Museums are included in this tourism economic impact and helped contribute to the more than 250 million visitors (https://esd.ny.gov/industries/tourism).

    To grow and sustain this economic impact, ESD established Market New York (MNY) to strengthen tourism and attract visitors to New York State. For Round IX of REDC Funding, 18 museums were awarded a MNY grant to support tourism marketing initiatives that include capital and construction projects, fund special events, bring in special exhibitions, and fund tourism marketing campaigns aimed at increasing visitors. 

    In the Western Region, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden Society received $500,000 to promote their 120th anniversary and their new facility expansion project set to open in 2022 to increase awareness of the Buffalo Botanical Gardens among residents and tourists. 

    A large glass building is planned for the southwest side of the Botanical Gardens as part of a planned expansion. 

    (Rendering courtesy of the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens via Buffalo News)

    The Brooklyn Historical Society received $169,950 to launch a marketing, advertising, and PR campaign aimed at increasing Brooklyn tourism by expanding its visibility. This campaign will promote two of the Brooklyn Historical Society’s unique sites, a landmark 1881 building in Brooklyn Heights and a 3200 square feet gallery in the Empire Stores building in DUMBO. The Brooklyn Historical Society notes that this project is the most comprehensive campaign of its kind in its 155 year history.

    Historic Huguenot Street received $290,000 from Market NY to construct a state of the art visitor center with the goal to increase capacity and enhance the museum as a key attraction in the Mid-Hudson REDC region. 

    Historic Preservation Funding from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)

    Major funding was also announced for the preservation of historic properties under the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). These historic preservation fund improvements, preservations, rehabilitation and restoration to sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as structural assessments and planning for these projects. 

    The George Eastman Museum received $600,000 to restore and repair historic garden structures and also will increase accessibility to The Grape Arbor, Pergola, and Loggia. 

    Other major restoration projects funded in this REDC round was $600,000 to the Oneida Community Mansion House to complete phase I of its exterior rehabilitation project. This work will include repairs to the 19th century roof, drainage, masonry, painting and window restoration.

    In Binghamton, the Roberson Museum will use $320,870 for critical restoration work of the windows and trim of the Roberson Mansion and Carriage House.

    The Montauk Historical Society was awarded $313,500 to help restore the iconic Montauk Lighthouse and the John Jay Homestead will use funding to protect the historic home from fire by adding a fire safety management plan. 

    Sonnenburg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Site received $500,000 to build a new entrance and update parking to become ADA compliant.

    Increase in Capital Funding

    31 museum received nearly $18 million in REDC Capital Funding. These projects include both new and renovations to existing museum building to create great accessibility for visitors, increase capacity, and expand educational and community programs.

    The Tesla Science Center on Long Island received $750,000  to transform the only existing laboratory of inventor Nikola Tesla into three unique attractions—a museum honoring Tesla and his legacy, a center for education and research, and an entrepreneur and technologist innovation program.

    $276,000 was awarded to the Buffalo History Museum to invest in its guest amenities for a better and more welcoming visitor experience with air conditioning, new seating in their auditorium, and universally accessible guest welcome stations. 

    Rendering of the Universal Hip Hop Museum on the Bronx/Harlem waterfront by S9 Architecture (photo courtesy Curbed NY)

    In New York City, the Universal Hip Hop Museum received $3,500,000 to build and promote a new cultural arts institution and the first museum in the world dedicated to the preservation of hip hop history and culture that will attract visitors and help to further develop the Bronx/Harlem River waterfront. Construction will begin this summer and the Museum is expected to open in 2023. 

    Year Over Year

    2018 v 2019 REDC Capital Funding to NYS Museums

    REDC Funding to museums was down by almost $2 million from 2018, however the number of museums awarded increased from 57 to 58. There was also a $3 million increase in capital grant funding through ESD and Market NY Grants. 

    As funding increases to capital projects to museums across the state, MANY will continue to advocate for additional funding for education and programming in museums. 

    In October 2019, the Museum Education Act (Bill #6819) was re-introduced by New York State Senator José Serrano. This Act will amend the arts and cultural affairs law in relation to providing financial assistance to museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, and other cultural institutions located in low-income urban, suburban, or rural communities. The Museum Education Act will create a mechanism to fund programs at New York’s cultural organizations, specifically educational services and strengthen the way museums work within their communities. 

    For the full list of NYS museums who received REDC funding click here.

    For the full list of 2019 Round IX REDC grant recipients please visit: https://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/2019-awards-ceremony

The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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