Dear MANY Members and Members of our Museum Community,
Welcome to our June edition of "This Month in NYS Museums." This month we spoke to Preservation Long Island about their Jupiter Hammon Project, a new interpretation direction for the Joseph Lloyd Manor that encourages responsible, rigorous, and relevant encounters with Long Island's history of enslavement and its impact on society today.
Next, we spoke with Michael Galban, Curator at the Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site about how their virtual programming has engaged their audience throughout closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next, museums are facing the monumental task to collect, preserve, and document history as it happens. Our article "History in Front of Us" examines how NYS museums are working to document the present and includes helpful resources for your institution.
This month's "Letter from Erika" reminds us that as we look ahead to reopen our museum doors, it is critical that we also revise our policies and practices as well to ensure a culture of inclusion and racial equality.
Lastly, we want to thank the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for partnering with MANY to create the Pomeroy Fund for NY History that supports our smallest organizations forced to close due to COVID-19. This Fund has awarded $100,000 in two grant rounds to 49 history-related organizations across NYS.
With thanks for your support,
Marketing & Communications Associate
The Jupiter Hammon Project
The Joseph Lloyd Manor is an 18th-century house that overlooks Lloyd Harbor in Huntington, Long Island and was once the seat of an estate belonging to one of the region’s wealthiest families. Today it is more well known as the former home of the first published African American author Jupiter Hammon who lived, wrote, and was enslaved there. The site is owned and maintained by Preservation Long Island. Over the last year, Preservation Long Island staff evaluated the sites’ interpretation, something that had not been done since the 1990s. Staff focused on community involvement to help them determine important narratives. Jupiter Hammon’s story became the focus of a new interpretative plan for the Joseph Lloyd Manor, the Jupiter Hammon Project.
Continuing Engagement During COVID-19 at the Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site
Like many museums across New York State, Seneca Art & Culture Center closed to the public on March 16 to protect staff and visitors from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center is a 17,300 square foot building built in 2015 at Ganondagan State Historic Site to tell the story of Haudenosaunee contributions to art, culture, and society. Since closing in mid-March, staff tasks and responsibilities shifted towards maintaining and increasing their social media presence while continuing to look ahead at reopening the Seneca Art & Culture Center post-COVID.
History in Front of Us: Documenting and Collecting Current Events
Museums face the monumental task to collect, preserve, and document history as it happens. Today, many are focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and recent Black Lives Matter protests. According to the Association of Public Historians of NYS (APHNYS) “it is our duty to document not just the past but the present.” Across New York State museums are working with their communities to document history as it is happening.
Illustration from "Little Blue and Little Yellow" by author/illustrator Leo Lionni (1959).*
Letter from Erika: Navigating our Future with a Moral Compass
Dear Members of MANY’s Museum Community,
Perhaps after 100 days in quarantine topped by protests against police violence in support of Black Lives Matter, some of us would like to put away our moral compasses, open our museum doors, and return to business as usual. But if we are to successfully navigate our futures and thrive as a field, it is necessary to change our physical spaces in response to the COVID-19 health crisis and revise our policies and practices to ensure a culture of inclusion and racial equality. Museums need to chart a course beyond statements, to address long-standing disparities of power in our museum field, and to fight racism as we find it within our walls and in our programs.
*After retiring from a career as a renowned art director and graphic designer, Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children’s books winning the Caldecott Medal four times and the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal. Lionni’s first children’s book Little Blue and Little Yellow raises philosophical questions about friendship, knowledge, and personal identity. More than 60 years after publication, it still appears at the top of banned book lists. Although the copy she had as a child is long gone, Erika recently purchased a first edition which she keeps on her bookshelf in the MANY office.
MANY Board of Directors Consulting Program
“We are revising our strategic plan and I’m looking for some guidance about next steps for my museum, can you point me in the direction of someone who can help?”
“I’d like to start a museum, where do I begin?”
“Before my museum begins a campaign to raise money for restoration and preservation funding, I’d like to speak with a museum person who has successfully completed a similar project, can you suggest someone?"
In response to questions from NY museum professionals like the above, and many others about adaptations needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MANY’s board of directors have pledged their time and expertise to help our organizational members.
MANY Board Members are offering their expertise in Executive Administration, Communications, Facilities, Fundraising, Programming, Exhibitions, Interpretation, and Collections Care.
Museums can select a MANY board member to work with them for one day (8 hours) either at their museum or remotely on a project. Board members with relevant expertise will carefully consider your museum’s project and offer you current and informed views on museum management with a valuable experience that will help you advance your organization while supporting MANY member services.
MANY staff will work with the board member and the museum to keep expenses affordable for the museum. Requests will be made through MANY staff and board members will consider requests based on availability and matching skills.
Pomeroy Fund Awards $50,000 in Grants to Support 18 NYS History Organizations
The Pomeroy Fund for NYS History has awarded an additional $50,000 in grants to provide general operating assistance to 18 history-related organizations in New York State.
This is the second round of funding disbursed through the Pomeroy Fund since it was established in April through a partnership between the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the Museum Association of New York. During the first round, a total of $50,808 was awarded to 31 organizations forced to close due to COVID-19.
Funding in the second round was designated for 501(c)(3) history-related organizations with operating budgets of $150,000 or less. Grants were awarded on a sliding scale between $1,000 and $5,000 based on budget size. Applicants shared details regarding their public programming (onsite and virtual), identified a wide range of audiences served, and ways in which they engage their communities through unique and distinct partnerships. In the second round, the Pomeroy Fund received 112 applications requesting $367,000 for the $50,000 allocated by the Pomeroy Foundation.
Get Yours—Attractive Nuisance* Button
We took this legal term Governor Cuomo used to designate the phase in which museums should open and made it our own with a humorous tilt. We thank our Governor who is working hard to keep us all safe. We know museums are so much more than “attractive nuisances.”
Museums in the News