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How are museums growing institutional resources? How are museums working with their communities? How are museums using their exhibitions and collections in new ways? Explore original articles by MANY staff about NYS museums. 

What's happening at your museum? Submit your museum news and we might feature you in our next This Month in NYS Museums newsletter!

Email meves@nysmuseums.org 

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  • January 13, 2022 9:43 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    New York State Education Department Historic Marker, 1932, Cooperstown, NY


    Dear Friends, Members, and Colleagues,

    When I was young and was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I didn’t have an answer. I tried being a park ranger, an artist, and a teacher before I found museum education. At the time, being a museum educator encompassed everything I sought in a career. But the thing that kept me motivated in the face of innumerable challenges was that I was able (and required) to continuously learn new things.

    Professional development opportunities for people entering the field may have been more prevalent forty years ago. I regularly attended trainings in content, pedagogy, and administration as I moved forward in my career. Today, the acquisition of a university or college degree can be a barrier for many people interested in museum work. But lack of access to time and money for formal education doesn’t mean that museum professionals must stop learning. In fact, to keep our field vital and current, staff professional development should be a priority no matter the budget size or discipline of a museum.

    We are fortunate that in 2022, the New York State Council on the Arts has made a significant investment in professional development for New York’s museum professionals. With the American Association of State and Local History annual conference in Buffalo, the American Alliance of Museums annual conference in nearby Boston and their virtual museum advocacy training (MANY members get discounted registration), and of course, MANY’s conference in Corning, there are exceptional opportunities to advance your professional practice, build connections, and learn with your colleagues in 2022.

    Applications for New York State Council on the Arts Professional Development grants are due on February 7th, and you can access the application here.

    In 2022, I hope to learn how to be a better listener, grow MANY’s advocacy for New York’s museums, and discover ways to call out things that can create positive change.

    The historic marker pictured above was placed in 1932 as part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Revolution. By the late 1960s, the function of the state’s historic marker program shifted from a short-term commemorative program to a long-term educational program. With all that we have learned in the past 100 years, the approaching 250th anniversary presents us with an opportunity to expand our learning together and change the stories we tell to more accurately reflect the history of all who call New York home. I look forward to learning together this year and changing the things that we can.

     

    With hopes for the new year,

    Erika Sanger


  • December 15, 2021 5:53 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    MANY Board Spotlight: Diane Shewchuk, Curator, Albany Institute of History & Art and MANYBoard Secretary 2022-2025

    A native of New York's Capital Region, Diane Shewchuk has more than 30 years of experience working in museums and historic houses throughout New York State. She has held the positions of Curator at Clermont State Historic Site, Historic Site Manager at John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, and Curator promoted to  Director at the Columbia County Historical Society in Kinderhook. Today she is the Curator at the Albany Institute of History & Art. 

    She has curated numerous exhibitions including Spotlight: Albany and Anti-Suffrage, Well-Dressed in Victorian Albany, and The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle.

    Shewchuk has an MA in Museum Studies: Decorative Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. Throughout her career, she has worked on the treatment of museum collections with conservators at the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites as well as  those in private practice. Shewchuk was elected to the Museum Association of New York Board of Directors in April 2019. We spoke with her to learn more about her path to museums, what she gets excited about in her role, and what motivates her.


    Albany Institute of History & Art Curator Diane Shewchuk speaking with the media at 2019’s The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle Exhibition. Photo courtesy of Albany Institute of History & Art


    MANY: Do you remember your very first museum experience?

    Diane Shewchuk: Maybe it was visiting the Clark [Art Institute] in high school. I’m not really sure. I didn’t grow up going to museums as a child with my parents, so it likely was some school trip. But I was always interested in art and I always liked being surrounded by beautiful art. So I think when I went to the Clark, it was the first place that I really learned to appreciate art. 


    When did you first become interested in art?

    I think it was because I would always do crafts. It goes back to my heritage, making Ukrainian Easter eggs, embroidery, and just learning the traditional arts associated with my culture. I was often representing my community through the arts and then teaching others. 

    My parents didn’t take me to museums but encouraged me to travel when I was in college so I could see great art. I went to study at the Ukrainian University in Rome for a summer where  I got to see my first Michaelangelo. The trips abroad were an important way for me to see great art and great museums. 


    Tell us more about where you grew up and what was it like?

    I was born in Albany but my parents were Ukrainian and came to the United States after World War II. My father was a prisoner of war in Italy and they were both technically born in Poland that is now a part of Ukraine because the border shifted. They ended up meeting each other in the United States and settled in the Capital Region where many other Ukrainians settled. 

    My parents came to this country where everything is new and I think what shocked them is that I wanted to surround myself with old things. They never really understood that because I took a non traditional career path that they didn’t understand. I didn’t become a nurse or teacher or something that they could relate to. 

    It’s hard thinking back and explaining my career choice to my parents. We never spoke English at home. I didn’t even know English until I went to kindergarten. The Ukrainian community is very close. But my parents worked hard so that we (my brother and I) could do the things that they thought were the American dream. I did want to escape, so I went to New York City for grad school for museum studies. 


    What other jobs have you had? What was your journey to get to your current role?

    I liked that throughout my career I have worn many different hats which helped me discover what I like to do and what I don’t like to do. My first museum job out of graduate school was Curator at Clermont State Historic Site. It’s located in a really beautiful setting. Technically I worked for the Friends Group, not the state [NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation ]. I loved that even though historic houses are basically giant exhibitions, you get to tell the story of a family in depth. I liked telling the story of the Livingston family and at that time, many members of the family were still alive. So I got to meet them and that was really exciting.

    After I left Clermont, I did a little bit of consulting work and then worked as the Coordinator of Special Events in the development office at the College of St. Rose in Albany. I learned a lot in the development office and I worked there until the registrar position opened up at the Albany Institute of History & Art. 

    Then I took an opportunity to become the director of the John Jay Historic Site. I moved to Westchester and lived on site in the coachman’s house. I supervised a very large staff with grounds people, education, and worked closely with the sites’ friends group. I relied on my previous connections with conservators from my days at Clermont which helped, but I ultimately didn’t enjoy being a site manager. I didn’t want to do trail maintenance. I didn’t want to worry about rabid animals or hazardous trees. My parents were getting older and I wanted to move back towards Albany to be closer to them. I left and did more consulting work at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, the Shaker Heritage Society, and the Columbia County Historical Society working on object-based cataloging. Eventually, the Columbia Historical Society hired me as a full-time curator, and later on when their director left, I was promoted to curator/director. 

    When the curator position opened at the Albany Institute, I applied and got the job. I was happy to return and I’ve been here for six and half years. 


    What have you learned from those other jobs that have impacted your current role as a curator?

    By working in different departments I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot because I’ve had to do many different jobs. I’ve learned what education does, I’ve learned what development does. I’ve learned even more about special events, the gift shop because when you’re a small site you’re stocking, buying, and selling gift shop items. A curator normally doesn’t learn all of these different roles but because I’ve worked in places with a small staff, you do a little bit of everything, including learning how to manage people. At the John Jay Historic Site, I ended up managing a larger staff. I’ve also done a lot more public speaking than I ever thought I would do. I enjoy speaking to reporters and taking them through the galleries, talking about the shows I’ve curated. I love talking to people about exhibitions. 

    My biggest takeaway from all of my previous roles is maintaining my connections with colleagues. That’s what’s been the most important thing in my career. They’ve helped me be successful in what I do today. I can speed dial a whole group of people and get their help on areas that I’m not an expert in. I’ve had this great honor of working with people in this field. We’re losing generations of historians now and I really feel like my work stands on the back of their work. 


    Diane Shewchuk and Norman S. Rice, Former Curator and Executive Director at the Albany Institute of History of Art of which he was associated for nearly 70 years, starting in 1953. Rice passed away early this year at age 95. Photo courtesy Erika Sanger


    What do you get excited about? What motivates you to do what you do? 

    What gets me excited is that we have this facility at the Albany Institute where I can handle amazing things and share them with the Albany community and other visitors. I love the power of the authentic object. Having a facility where the climate and security are top-notch allows me to dream really big.

    I like getting people excited about history and I will piggyback on things that are popular in pop culture. People think that I curate a lot of costume shows, which I do because we have an audience for that but it’s actually exhibitions about the anti-suffragists [Spotlight: Albany and Anti-Suffrage] and the Schuyler Sisters [The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle] that get me more excited because of their stories and they’re real people. I remember getting the email from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University for Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s wedding ring and it was beyond what I had expected… to get that ring back to Albany where Hamilton put it on her hand. It came here and I never got to touch it, you know, because the courier came and we stitched it into the case, highly alarmed, but it was powerful to  think about what that ring witnessed. 

    I can’t tell the whole story in an exhibition label and that’s why I do a lot of gallery tours. You can only say so much in a label and I really like to tell people what goes into curating an exhibition like that because it helps people from outside the museum world understand. 


    Photo courtesy of Albany Institute of History & Art


    Can you describe a favorite day on the job?

    I love walking through the galleries and seeing people enjoying the exhibitions. Sometimes the most trivial thing has a great story and in the end, I love the objects...they don’t talk back to some people, but they do to me. I can make an object ‘talk’ in different ways and sometimes the same objects are in five different exhibitions for five different reasons. 


    What is your superpower?

    My master’s degree is in museum studies and I study antiques. I got to turn my hobby into a career and I’m incredibly lucky. I work with the museum staff to create the look of the exhibits. I get to create the installations that showcase the objects and the environments to help tell the story. I always knew I’d be in the creative field and I think museums are more creative than people give them credit for. I think that I can create anything on a relatively low budget –which I think is a strength because we often have to stretch small pots of money to fit big projects. 



  • December 15, 2021 5:13 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

    I wake early this time of year to see the glorious colors of winter sunrises. All of us have worked so hard over the past two years, it may be hard to remember that we are just a few days away from the solstice when we can welcome the increasing light. Last week I was in Corning, NY for meetings about our 2022 annual conference. I woke up in our conference hotel and for a moment didn’t quite remember where I was - this tends to happen after a lot of travel. I crossed the room, lifted the shades to watch the sunrise, and was gifted the sight of a bald eagle flying up the Chemung River. 

    We have been challenged this week to keep up with all the announcements of funds granted to New York museums for 2022. There is good news from so many of our funders that renewed my hope for 2022 being a brighter year. 

    Grants to museums from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for general support and recovery totaled almost $7.5 million, including the NYSCA/MANY Capacity Building partnership that will award $500,000 in 100 grants of $5,000 each to museums through a competitive grant program.

    If you received a grant from NYSCA, please take a moment before the end of the year to thank your New York State legislators for their generous appropriation this year. Let them know how the funds will make a difference to your museums and how much we need to maintain, or even increase, the level of funds available to museums for 2023. Not sure who represents you in Albany? You can click here for Assembly Members and here for Senators

    Yesterday, Governor Hochul’s office announced $196 Million in awards through Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. Almost $21 million was awarded to 31 museums for preservation and marketing projects. You can also send a thank you note to Governor Hochul whose unparalleled support for our sector will help us sustain our organizations into the future. 

    Humanities NY announced $360,000 in “SHARP” (Sustaining the Humanities Through the American Rescue Plan) Action Grants to 43 New York cultural nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, HNY announced SHARP general operating grants totaling $710,000 to 67 New York museums.

    Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation awarded IMPACT! Grants totaling $64,323 to seven organizations including three museums. 

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded 33 NY Museums $1,422,104 in American Rescue Plan funds for FY 2021. 

    Earlier this month, MANY asked its members and supporters to help us advocate for state recovery funds by comparing calendar year 2019 to 2021 in a survey of visitor attendance, open hours, staff, and number of school groups. 97 NYS museums of all sizes, locations, and disciplines reported:

    • An average loss in visitor attendance of 48%

    • An average decrease in the number of open hours of 29%

    • An average loss of FT and/or PT staff of 12%

    • An average decrease in K-12 school group visits of 63%


    I look forward to working with you in 2022 to raise awareness of our current needs and to ask for recovery support to allow New York’s museums to reclaim our roles as essential community anchors, economic engines, and tourist destinations. 


    With best wishes for the New Year, e



  • December 15, 2021 5:09 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    This past April, the Strong National Museum of Play broke ground on the second phase of a $75 million, 90,000 square foot expansion that will be the centerpiece of the new Neighborhood of Play in downtown Rochester. Included in this expansion are two exhibitions dedicated to the ways that video games and technology changed play, a state-of-the-art welcome atrium and admissions area, and a new flexible Maker’s Space/Play Lab for interactive workshops, classes, and activities. The expansion is expected to increase annual attendance from 600,000 to nearly 1 million visitors.


    Concept rendering for the gateway building and new wing. Image courtesy of The Strong Museum

    Need for Space

    “Since we opened our doors in 1982, the Strong has always had a kind of philosophy to try to improve and move forward,” said Museum President and CEO Steve Dubnik. “We’re always looking for opportunities to continue to improve and grow so we can present more things.” The Museum has undergone two previous expansions– the first in 1995 that added the atrium and the second in 2006 that added 135,000 square feet for the Museum’s reading adventure land. 

    By the mid-2000’s the Museum realized that video games were an important part of where play was going. “We needed to begin preserving and representing video games in our collection and exhibitions,” said Dubnik. The Museum started seriously collecting video games in 2007 and formed the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Today the collection contains more than 60,000 artifacts and hundreds of thousands of archival materials, including games and the platforms on which they are played on, game packaging and advertising, game-related publications, game-inspired consumer products, and other items that illustrate the impact of electronic games in people’s lives. “As we started growing this collection, we began looking for ways to display and to talk about the impact of electronic games on play. We began reallocating space while always kind of keeping an eye out. It was an ongoing goal to expand.”


    Expansion construction in October, 2021. Photo courtesy of The Strong Museum

    The new museum wing will house the Worlds Video Game Hall of Fame and the Digital Worlds Gallery. The Galley’s two exhibitions, “High Score” and “Level Up” offer an interactive look at the history of video games. Exhibitions will also highlight the contributions of Women and People of Color to the video game industry. “We wanted to use this expansion as an opportunity to celebrate, preserve, and study the impact of video games in order to help people understand that while video games are played there is a lot of learning happening,” said Dubnik.


    Digital Worlds Gallery exhibit ‘Level Up’ rendering. Image courtesy of The Strong Museum.

    Another reason for this expansion was that the Museum’s audience continues to grow. “We reached close to 600,000 people in 2019 and there were days where the museum was close to capacity,” said Dubnik. “So if we wanted to continue to grow and attract more people, we needed more space. All of these things came together and led to the idea of creating a neighborhood of play as a way to increase our footprint. We were looking for a way to increase our marketing area to bring more people into Rochester from 4 to 5 hours drive time away. And if we were going to do that, we would need a place for them to stay that was nearby.”


    Creating a Neighborhood of Play

    In 2013, the City of Rochester was awarded a $17.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the Federal Government to fill in portions of its Inner Loop, creating pockets of developable land, including the southeast loop adjacent to The Strong. The City wanted to “bridge the moat” between the city center and communities like the Neighborhood of Play that have been separated by the Inner Loop since the 1950s. “Now we had buildable land next to us,” said Dubnik. “We started engaging planning consultants and reached out to our community to talk about what were some of the possibilities for the museum. We started planning and the whole idea of creating a neighborhood of play with the ability to live, work, and stay in the same area and in a neighborhood that is focused on play really grew from that whole process.” 

    The Museum partnered with two local commercial developers–a developer who owns and operated multiple hotels in the Finger Lakes region and the other who is focused on mixed-use development. “We partnered with them but we don’t actually have an economic interest in those portions of the development. It’s not a legal partnership but we very much act like partners in that we use the same civil engineering firm and the same architect so that the design is consistent and cohesive. We are using different builders, but they’re meeting and coordinating on all these different elements.”

    The first phase completed was a new, five-story covered garage with 1,000 parking spaces completed in 2020. “We doubled our parking spaces from 500 to 1000 and going vertical with a parking garage freed up land that we could sell to our development partners,” said Dubnik. 

    The Neighborhood of Play features a 17,000 square foot outdoor play exhibit, a 125-room all-suites Hampton Inn and Suites, 240 residential units with 17,000 square feet of retail space that includes a play-oriented restaurant called Nirvana. The video game-themed restaurant will open in late 2022. 


    Outdoor play garden rendering. Image courtesy of The Strong Museum.


    Market Research

    “The other key part of this expansion was creating additional space for more visitation, so we conducted a marketing study as part of this project,” said Dubnik. The Museum surveyed communities in Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, areas in eastern New York to find out what would attract people to Rochester. “We needed to find out how many people we could expect to come and visit Rochester and the survey revealed that we could get more than half a million with certain types of development, including video games, and so we built a business plan around getting 400,000 more people to visit the Museum.” The Museum also spoke with neighborhood residents and business leaders about what they wanted to see developed. “We worked with our other cultural partners in Rochester and formed what we call ‘Play Rochester,’ a partnership where we do some joint marketing campaigns,” said Dubnik. ‘Play Rochester’ includes the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Seneca Park Zoo, the Eastman Museum, and Genessee Country Villiage & Museum. “We very much made this expansion project a collaboration within the community, businesses, and with other cultural organizations.”


    Funding Sources

    The project is supported by the Museum’s $60 million “Powered by Play” capital campaign which has raised $50 million thus far through private and public donations. New York State’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative was one of the first contributors with $20 million that helped start the project. Other support has come from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

    Support from private foundations include $100,000 from the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Foundation to build three video game preservation labs, a $5 million capital grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and $500,000 from the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation in which the Museum will name the new admission area the Wolk Admission Area.

    The Museum also entered a naming partnership with ESL Federal Credit Union. ESL Federal Credit Union committed $1.5 million which gives them naming rights to the 24,000 square foot Digital Worlds Galley for 25 years. 

    “One of our goals has really been to be a national museum and we’ve focused on building our relationship with the toy and video game industries,” said Dubnik. “We’re the home to the toy hall of fame and we work with those larger toy companies for their help in our expansion and likewise with the larger video game industry whether it’s Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony. Creating those national and international collaborations and bringing that to Rochester has been an important part of what we do.”


    The expansion and Neighborhood of Play are expected to open to the public in summer 2023. For more information visit, https://www.museumofplay.org/support/expansion-campaign/ and https://www.neighborhoodofplay.org/


  • December 15, 2021 5:06 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Earlier this year, the Westchester Children’s Museum was among 500 museums from across the country selected by NASA to celebrate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s new space science observatory. The Museum used this distinction to forge new partnerships, highlight new and existing exhibitions, and feature programs that focus on space exploration. The culminating celebration event for the Museum’s James Webb Telescope Launch initiative was held on November 13. 


    Selection by NISE

    The Museum was selected through a competitive proposal process administered by the NASA/National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE). NISE is a membership community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math across the United States. The organization offers an entire resource page online dedicated to NASA that includes a digital download Earth and Space toolkit, content training videos, and other recorded workshops. 

    “We’re a NISE member and we learned about this opportunity through them,” said Leta Wong, Acting Director of the Westchester Children’s Museum. “At the beginning, there were a few occasions maybe a month apart where NISE inquired if any museum would be interested in being a celebration site for NASA. We were interested and sent them an outline of what we wanted to do for the celebration. It was a simple application process and what’s great about NASA is that size didn’t matter. We’re on the smaller end, but we were accepted.”


    Making Connections

    Wong was fortunate to meet Peter Sooy of NASA at the last in-person meeting for the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) in Toronto in 2019. “[Peter] represented NASA in the section of the conference that had presenters and exhibits about sustainability, climate, and environmental issues,” said Wong. “We had a very good discussion about sustainability, what NASA does regarding their education materials which are extensive and free, and topics they cover in the STEM education section of their website.”

    The James Webb Telescope is the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built and will be the premier observatory of the next decade. The telescope is equipped with a 21.3 foot primary mirror that makes the Webb the farthest-seeing telescope ever built. This international mission, led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies will launch on the Ariane 5 rocket on December 18, 2021. 


    Celebrating the Launch

    The Westchester Children’s Museum transformed its 5,000 square foot MakerSpace into an outer space STEAM experience with free activities for children of all ages. “NASA was very flexible and generous when it came to the requirements for the Museum’s participation,” said Wong. “Anything that we did had to be free and open to the public because it was helping NASA's goal to promote earth science, space exploration, and climate.”


    To-scale models of planets in our solar system created by Artistic Coordinator of the Museum Lisa Archigian.  Photo courtesy of Westchester Children’s Museum


    On November 13, the NASA-related activities and exhibitions began in the Museum’s reception area and workshop room. Children were given a sticker from NASA and a badge that museum staff made withthe NASA logo and the text “Museum Think Tank Authorized Personnel.” Lisa Archigian, the Artistic Coordinator for the Museum created to-scale models of each planet in the solar system including a 5-foot beach ball for Saturn. Each planet was suspended from the ceiling in the MakerSpace. There was also a two-third scale model of the James Webb gold mirror with information about what the telescope sees on the light spectrum. Exhibitions included three videos with hands-on activities including a virtual trip through the Orion Nebula and atmospheric effects. 


    Building Partnerships

    The Museum also had activities outdoors with celestial day-viewing on the boardwalk led by the group Westchester Amateur Astronomers. “NISE encourages partnerships to help expand their network,” said Wong. “This was the first partnership we had with them [Westchester Amateur Astronomers] and it kind of happened by accident.”

    Westchester Amateur Astronomers on the boardwalk in front of the Museum. Photo courtesy of Westchester Children’s Museum


    Wong met the Westchester Amateur Astronomers before COVID closed the Museum outside on the boardwalk. The group was viewing a planet and Wong struck up a conversation. “They said that they would be happy to partner with the museum for any events or classes. They were the first group I thought of to partner with for this celebration.” Westchester Amateur Astronomers helped Wong confirm which weekend would be best for the Museum to host their celebration so that it was also the best time for viewing planets. 

    288 people attended the museum’s James Webb Telescope Launch celebration with people participating in both the free NASA activities and exploring the museum’s exhibitions. “It was great to see that people who came for the free NASA activities stayed and paid the special discounted admission to explore the museum afterwards,” said Wong. 

    “We as a staff, and I especially, feel like we can never do enough with partnerships so we are always looking for new partnerships,” said Wong. “We wanted to do this just because it’s with NASA but also to expand our reach. We’re trying to get our neighbors involved with our programming and that’s really our vision–to be a community hub and do as many partnerships as we can with as many organizations as we can.” 



  • December 15, 2021 1:14 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Governor Kathy Hochul announced an additional $196 million in Round 11 of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. 

    31 New York State Museums were awarded a total of $20,872,895.

    CAPITAL REGION–5 museums totaling $4,125,020

    Albany County Historical Association, $283,350

    Ten Broeck Mansion's Stabilization and Accessibility Project

    The Albany County Historical Association, which operates the 1798 Ten Broeck Mansion and over 4 acres of historic gardens as an educational museum, will complete Phase 1 Critical Stabilization and Community Accessibility work. This critical work will preserve the 18th-century Mansion and remediate water infiltration and deterioration, while creating an accessible and welcoming community greenspace in the heart of Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood, contributing to downtown Albany's revitalization.

    Columbia County Historical Society, $75,500

    The Luykas Van Alen House Moisture Mitigation & Stabilization Project

    Columbia County Historical Society continues restoration projects at Luykas Van Alen House located at 2589 Route 9H in Kinderhook. The current project focuses on issues of moisture mitigation caused by the 1967 pond added to decorate the front lawn. This project will drain the pond and return the front lawn to its original natural environment; address restoration of front stoops, and finally stabilize the house's south gable end wall.

    The Olana Partnership, $3,268,776

    Frederic Church Center

    The Frederic Church Center (FCC) is a sustainably designed, carbon-neutral visitor center for the Olana State Historic Site. The FCC will be the threshold to an immersive visitor experience of Olana as a unique, world-class carbon neutral tourist destination at the intersection of American art and environmental consciousness.

    Olana State Historic Site will use capital funds to construct the Frederic Church Center, a new carbon-neutral visitor arrival and orientation facility. The facility is projected to increase Olana's overall number of visitors as well as the regional economic impact.

    Thomas Cole National Historic Site, $360,000

    Thomas Cole Master Plan: Infrastructure for Economic Growth

    The Thomas Cole Master Plan - Infrastructure for Economic Growth Project invests in new facilities and infrastructure improvements at a national historic landmark to accommodate increased tourism and visitation to the Capital Region. A new 1,800 square-foot Visitor Center with exhibit space and outdoor terrace will be constructed. Facility upgrades to multiple iconic buildings will increase energy efficiency and improve climate conditions for historic preservation. Infrastructure upgrades will improve visitor safety and site accessibility. Spaces will be reconfigured to maximize and expand programming, and events and outdoor areas will be landscaped to enhance the rural feel of the campus and make it more visually compatible with the environment.

    The Hyde Collection, $137,394

    Reimagine The Hyde Collection Tourism Marketing Plan

    The Hyde Collection will use fund to develop and implement the REIMAGINE project, a three-year initiative designed to improve the visitor experience and promote the Museum, its collection/exhibitions, and Glens Falls and the overall Capital District region, as a significant travel destination for art and cultural tourists.


    CENTRAL NY–4 museums totaling $2,050,000

    Seward House Museum, $500,000

    Barn and Carriage House Rehabilitation

    The Seward House Museum will save two historic structures on its campus by converting them into usable space for the public. After performing intensive preservation work, the Museum's barn will serve as a multipurpose space for year-round use and the carriage house will become an accessible exhibition space for the Seward carriage. Altogether, this adaptive reuse will enhance the Museum's campus and offer new experiences for all to enjoy.

    Oneida Community Mansion House, $500,000

    Revitalization of Historic Oneida Community Mansion House: Phase 2

    National Historic Landmark - Oneida Community Mansion House will complete Phase 2 priorities of its Exterior Rehabilitation Project. The complex is a museum, lodging, cultural performance and event venue that needs this Phase 2 restoration to preserve its cultural significance, historic status, and economic value to the Central New York Region and upstate's renaissance.

    Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, $800,000

    Everson Sculpture Park

    The Everson Museum of Art will use the grant funds to expand and renovate the existing Everson Community Plaza, by creating an iconic outdoor gathering space for the CNY region. The Everson Sculpture Park will become a must-see destination for travelers while visiting the Central New York region.

    Discovery Center of Science and Technology, $250,000

    MOST - Digital Theater Upgrade

    The Discovery Center of Science and Technology (dba the “MOST”) will renovate its existing Omnitheater and convert it into a state-of-the-art digital planetarium and theater. The current Omnitheater is outdated and facing increasing limitations on available content and programming opportunities. Completion of this project will redefine the MOST by providing an experience unlike any other in the region, making Armory Square a true destination for visitors.


    FINGER LAKES–3 museums totaling $1,172,500

    George Eastman Museum, $447,500

    George Eastman Museum and Joshua Rashaad McFadden Tourism Special Event & Marketing Plan AND George Eastman Museum Tourism Capital Project

    George Eastman Museum, a world-renowned tourist destination, will launch a comprehensive tourism marketing campaign to promote the Finger Lakes Region and special exhibition by Joshua Rashaad McFadden. This important exhibition by a Rochester-based Black artist examines some of the most challenging subject matters of our time.

    George Eastman Museum will use the grant funds to renovate over 3600 sq. ft. of unrestored space in Eastman's mansion to create new galleries dedicated to sharing a contemporary, balanced interpretation of Eastman's life and educating visitors about the evolution of photographic technology. The project includes accessibility improvements and the addition of a catering kitchen.

    The Strong National Museum of Play, $225,000

    Play Rochester Tourism Marketing Plan

    Play Rochester is a collaborative tourism marketing project featuring a variety of regional cultural attractions. Created and lead by The Strong National Museum of Play, the project will use grant funds to market and drive tourism to the Rochester region from five-hour drive markets by allowing consumers to create tailor-made packages when planning their trip to the area.

    National Women's Hall of Fame, $500,000

    Seneca Knitting Mill

    The National Women's Hall of Fame will continue renovation of the Seneca Knitting Mill, including a full stairwell, upper floor build-out, and re-build of the bell tower. This work will enable full access of the 16,000 square foot building for final build-out of exhibit, programming, and gathering spaces. This 1844 site on the Canal will be a national destination showcasing the Inductees and drawing visitors to Seneca Falls and many attractions within the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.


    LONG ISLAND–1 museum totaling $1,120,000

    Long Island Science Center, $1,120,000

    Rooftop Planetarium, Functional Agritech & Wind/Solar Exhibit, MakerSpace & Facade Enhancements

    The Long Island Science Center, a STEAM Learning Museum, will construct an iconic regional attraction with a Planetarium/lecture hall, functional agritech & energy exhibits, and an "Inventorium" MakerSpace to contribute to Long Island's economy through family-based regional tourism.


    MID-HUDSON–5 museums totaling $3,950,980

    Friends of Mills Mansion, $30,500

    Wall and Ceiling Restoration in Staatsburgh State Historic Site's Kitchen Suite Rooms

    The Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh will restore to their historic appearance, the painted ceilings and tiled walls of three rooms in the mansion's kitchen suite at Staatsburgh State Historic Site. This will allow the site to tell a more inclusive story of this fascinating part of the estate's operations and interpret for visitors the lives and careers of the domestic staff of this Gilded Age estate on the Hudson River.

    Storm King Art Center, $2,600,000

    Storm King Art Center Capital Project

    As a leader in the field of art in nature, Storm King launched Art that Moves You Outside. The Capital Project is part of a larger Master Plan and includes two buildings: the Welcome Sequence and the Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building. These buildings will be built to achieve carbon-neutral performance and will have an immediate impact on the visitor experience.

    The Art Center will begin Phase 1 and includes two building elements: the Welcome Sequence and the Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building. The Welcome Sequence will streamline the arrival into Storm King, and the Art Center’s Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building will protect the safety of staff and the artwork.

    Hudson River Maritime Museum, $240,000

    West Gallery Building Rehabilitation

    Hudson River Maritime Museum will stabilize the western portion of the main museum building by installing helical piers under the building foundation, making it safer from rising waters and mitigating the implications of climate change for long-term resiliency. The interior will be renovated to create a more efficient administration and archival space. Stairway access will be installed from the ground up to the Tug Mathilda's deck.

    Sing Sing Prison Museum, $480,480

    Preservation of the Powerhouse for Sing Sing Prison Museum

    The Sing Sing Prison Museum will renovate the former prison Powerhouse garage as an arts and humanities center for temporary exhibitions, films, performances, lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, and live-streamed events.

    Historic Hudson Valley, $600,000

    Historic Hudson Valley Projects 2021

    Historic Hudson Valley will remediate the Rt. 9 roadbed that bisects Van Cortlandt Manor and reconfigure the entrance for safety. This project will improve the entryway to the park that will provide pedestrian and vehicular safety at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson and position the National Historic Landmark site for the 21st-century.


    MOHAWK VALLEY–3 museums totaling $849,255

    Munson-Williams- Proctor Arts Institute, $520,192

    Mitigation of Water Infiltration in Munson- Williams-Proctor Arts Institute's Two Museum Buildings 

    This project will address critical water infiltration issues that threaten the Munson- Williams two landmark buildings both listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places: the Museum of Art building, built in 1960; and Fountain Elms, an 1850 Italianate house that was home to the Munson-Williams founding families.

    Norman Rockwell Summer Special Exhibition Expanded Marketing

    Grant funds will be used to support the exhibition Norman Rockwell, exclusively shown at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, and will attract thousands of visitors to Utica, engage new audiences, contribute to economic development, enhance the quality of life, and reinforce Munson-Williams as a cultural tourism draw. Through local partnerships, Munson-Williams will increase audience diversity and sustainable community participation.

    Fenimore Art Museum, $104,063

    Wyeth Exhibit Tourism Special Event

    Fenimore Art Museum will use funds to promote a major Wyeth exhibition and programming that will reignite art tourism and youth engagement, drive downtown revitalization, and support regional economic recovery following the pandemic. A strategic marketing campaign to increase Mohawk Valley tourism ensures a significant impact on the community, regional businesses, and visitors to Cooperstown.

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, $225,000

    Baseball Hall of Fame Tourism Attraction Website Redesign

    The National Baseball Hall of Fame will use grant funds for the redesign of the Museum's website including an updated design, improved usability and a complete overhaul of the Plan Your Visit section of the site to improve user experience and in turn drive additional visits to Cooperstown, Otsego County and the Mohawk Valley Region.


    NEW YORK CITY–3 museums totaling $5,023,500

    Green-Wood Cemetery, $3,275,000

    Stormwater Initiative

    Green-Wood Cemetery will use GIGP funds to install bioretention and a harvest and reuse system. This project will reduce stormwater runoff to the surrounding combined sewer areas, while also decreasing the potable water usage from the New York City Water Supply System.

    Education and Welcome Center

    Green-Wood Historic Fund is constructing an Education and Welcome Center directly across the street from The Green-Wood Cemetery’s main gate. It will welcome both neighbors and tourists, offer additional public programming and educational opportunities, and engage visitors in the art, history, and nature of this National Historic Landmark cemetery.

    Childrens Museum of Manhattan, $1,500,000

    New Building Project

    The grantee will use the grant funds to renovate the Children's Museum of Manhattan future home at the historic building at 361 Central Park West, enhancing the destination as a premiere attraction for families visiting New York City.

    Museum of the City of New York, $248,500

    Museum of the City of New York Tourism Marketing Plan

    The Museum of the City of New York will use grant funds to promote group experiences across the five boroughs and support tourism initiatives in connection with its Centennial celebrations in 2023. Marketing and promotional efforts will strategically position New York as a preeminent tourism destination and target groups interested in celebrating the city's history and thriving culture through unique experiences.


    NORTH COUNTRY–3 museums totaling $1,300,475

    Historic Saranac Lake, $500,000

    Trudeau Building Museum Project

    Historic Saranac Lake will rehabilitate the Trudeau Building into a museum in downtown Saranac Lake.

    Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center, $150,000

    Phase II of our New Building Project

    The grantee will use the capital funding to renovate and construct a new facility to house the current museum and exhibits. The new facility will allow for an enhanced visitor experience as well as drawing more visitation to the area and overall North Country region.

    The Wild Center, $650,475

    More to Explore: Build Back Better Tourism Marketing Plan

    Grant funds will be used by The Wild Center to develop and promote "More to Explore: Build Back Better" a marketing plan that uses a suite of strategic promotion activities to promote expanded year-round indoor and outdoor Wild Center exhibits and programs that will rebuild the prior audiences while attracting new, more diverse visitors to the region. The 2-year project will include new exhibits, special programs and events that will increase tourism and enhance the economy.


    SOUTHERN TIER–1 museum totaling $10,165

    Roberson Museum and Science Center, $10,165

    Museum and Carriage House Preservation Plan

    Roberson Museum and Science Center located in Binghamton will hire a preservation architect to create a plan to restore key architectural features of the Roberson Mansion, perimeter fence, and Carriage House. The goal is to set forth a plan for the restoration of both buildings to their original state and prevent further deterioration.


    WESTERN NY–3 museums totaling $1,271,000

    Buffalo Museum of Science, $161,000

    Antarctic Dinosaurs Tourism Special Event

    The Buffalo Museum of Science will use the grant fund to host the special exhibit Antarctic Dinosaurs. This new exhibit will immerse guests in exploration of one of the most isolated and dangerous environments on Earth, and increase tourism to the area and overall region.

    Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., $435,000

    Old French Castle Restoration

    The Old Fort Niagara Association is applying for support to restore deteriorating masonry and provide a new roof for the 1726 French Castle at Old Fort Niagara. In recent years, the Castle has experienced missing mortar, falling stones and serious roof leaks that endanger the building.

    The Aquarium of Niagara, $675,000

    Niagara Gorge Experience Center

    The Aquarium of Niagara will renovate the vacant Niagara Gorge Discovery Center on the Niagara Gorge rim, creating new space for Great Lakes-focused exhibits along the new greenspace created through the recently-completed removal of the Niagara Scenic Parkway. This project expands the capacity of the Aquarium of Niagara as a major driver of tourism in the Niagara region. It builds on other recent investments into the Aquarium that have expanded its exhibits and ability to attract visitors.

    Learn more about NYS REDC here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-additional-196-million-awarded-through-round-xi-regional-economic 



  • December 02, 2021 4:31 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters,

    Since early September we have been speaking with elected officials to let them know that New York’s museums are trailing other nonprofits and performing arts organizations in their pandemic recovery. Legislators and staff were genuinely surprised when we let them know how few museums have received federal and state support so far, how few have seen school group visits, and how few are back to full capacity. 

    I have been asked what recovery will look like for museums and how long will it take to get there. I’ve replied that although my crystal ball is in the repair shop, I know that we are not there yet, and that relief funding has fallen far short of our needs. We are looking forward to a busy holiday season in our museums, but the New York Times recently reported that tourism spending in 2021 will be half of what it was in 2019. 

    MANY has been asked to gather information and share a comparison of 2019 to 2021 for four data points to help quantify NY museums’ recovery: 

    • Number of hours open

    • Number of visitors

    • Number of staff

    • Number of school groups

    Please click here and let us know how you are doing. 

    We have been asked for a rapid response. The survey will be open for one week and will close on Thursday, December 9 at 5 PM. It should take you less than 5 minutes to answer the four questions once you have your 2019 and 2021 estimated through year-end numbers in hand.  

    We all retain hope that additional funding will be distributed to New York’s museums soon and eagerly await the upcoming announcement of New York State Council on the Arts Recovery Grants. 

    MANY’s 2022 work plan includes a major advocacy effort to secure funding for New York’s museums that helps us recover from the pandemic and meets our current needs. Your input, feedback, and support will be essential to our efforts on your behalf. 


    With thanks in advance for your time,


  • November 16, 2021 11:07 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is excited to announce the 2022 Annual Conference “Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation.”

    The Seventh Generation is a core value among the Indigenous nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples. The principle, which is rooted in the preservation of Indigenous culture, underscores the importance of the human continuum. It advocates for informed, long-term decision-making that recognizes and draws from the past while laying the groundwork for the future.

    The annual conference will be held in Corning, NY on April 9-12, 2022 on the ancestral lands of the Seneca. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and connect with colleagues in beautiful, unique museum spaces including The Rockwell Museum and Corning Museum of Glass. Conference plans include Saturday Workshops, Conference Capstones, special events, and more than a dozen sessions that will advance professional practice and develop leadership skills.

    MANY is seeking session proposals that address the theme, that are engaging and interactive, and offer multiple perspectives. 

    In addition to sessions that meet the “Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation” theme, we are looking for sessions about how museums:

    • Change systems to address diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and justice

    • Build financial stability

    • Create digital access to collections and born-digital content

    • Partner to share collections and resources

    • Revisit foundational policies and procedures to adapt to change

    • Break down barriers and convey that museums are for everyone

    • Strengthen community engagement

    • Employ and expand the use of technology

    • Support staff leadership

    • Reconstruct interpretation

    • Expand board engagement and resource development

    • Respond to pandemic-related challenges

    We are also calling for proposals from emerging museum professionals and students for 10 x 10 sessions where EMPs and students can share their vision for the museum field through 10 PowerPoint slides in ten minutes. 

    Proposals from organizations in the Southern Tier can include Saturday Workshops and Tuesday Capstone Programs. Workshop and Capstone Programs should offer attendees a closer look at museum practices, exemplary projects, hands-on learning opportunities, and offer perspectives from the leadership of organizations hosting the program.

    All session proposals are due by 5 PM on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of MANY board members and museum professionals from the Corning area. Lead presenters will be notified at the end of January and conference registration will open on Monday, February 7, 2022. 

    For more information, visit nysmuseums.org/annualconference, email info@nysmuseums.orgor call 518-273-3400.

  • October 28, 2021 3:37 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded $15,255,733 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act grants to institutions across the country. 390 projects out of 572 applications we awarded funding including 33 New York State museums that received a total of just over $1.4M. These funds are to support the role of museums in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. New York State museums plan to use these funds to upgrade digital infrastructure, increase access to collections, invest in digital and online content staff, support and strengthen DEAI initiatives, and more.

    Click here to for the full list of NYS museums

    Adirondack Experience, $50,000

    The Adirondack Experience (ADKX) in New York will partner with the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, Akwesasne Cultural Center, Mountain Lake PBS, The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, and The Wild Center to facilitate a series of free virtual public programs throughout 2022 that reexamine the history of Adirondack Park through the lens of environmental justice, especially regional inequities established by policies to manage land and water access, as well as conservation principles. The collaborative will facilitate a series of livestreamed discussions as a launching point for public engagement and host a symposium to convene Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians, educators, storytellers, and social scientists to discuss these issues. ADKX seeks to address the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and social injustice protests on the region through these virtual programs.

    Albany Institute of History & Art, $37,801

    The Albany Institute of History & Art (AIHA) will create an online resource of one hundred digitized items from the museum’s collection exploring the Black experience in Albany, New York, from 1650 to 1877. AIHA’s project team will identify, contextualize, digitize, and upload collection items highlighting Albany’s African American history as the first part of the much larger Albany African American History Project, which seeks to expand the limited scholarship and research about African American lives in Albany during this period. The project pairs seasoned museum professionals with emerging museum and library/archives professionals in a collaborative mentorship model to grow the pipeline of underrepresented professionals in the field. The project will help with COVID-19 pandemic recovery by creating more online resources, building staff capacity through mentorship, and establishing a framework for future online projects.

    Alice Austen House, $30,693

    The Alice Austen House (AAH) in Staten Island, New York, will implement the Expanded Digital Access Project developing three 3-D virtual tours, online artist talks, and exhibition catalogues for learners of all ages to expand the museum’s audience geographically, culturally, and socioeconomically. The virtual tours, talks, and catalogues will incorporate the work of three women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ artists whose work exposes societal inequities. This project will promote community healing from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while expanding the reach of important photographic works to a national audience of all ages and create financial support for the AAH as we await a full resumption of our financial support through educational programming and in-person attendance.

    American Folk Art Museum, $50,000

    The American Folk Art Museum in Long Island, New York, will upgrade its software and database to make more images of art and archival information available online. Digital content has been an important element of the museum’s work following the COVID-19 pandemic. The new software will allow the museum to add audio, visual, and other media files to its website for the first time, including adding archival photos, letters, ephemera, and recordings to an artist’s web page to give a fuller understanding of their work. The upgraded software will be available to individuals from any web-connected device. The museum will prioritize digitizing images and archives for artists who have been historically underrepresented in the art world—including Black, Indigenous, and other artists of color; women-identified artists; and neurodiverse artists—to more accurately reflect the museum’s collections.

    Brooklyn Botanic Garden, $32,105

    Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City will restore an assistant position to rebuild its community greening outreach programs. In a typical year, the garden’s community greening outreach programs impact an estimated 70,000 residents. Since the pandemic’s onset, the garden scaled back and modified its programs for remote or socially distanced delivery in line with evolving public health guidelines. Fully staffed, these programs once again will have the capacity to engage residents in gardening, nature appreciation, and environmental stewardship. Feedback from past program workshops, listening circles, and check-ins during the pandemic consistently highlighted that these outreach programs contribute to community resilience, a key driver of recovery from the collective trauma of COVID-19. The organization will survey participants to evaluate program success.

    Brooklyn Museum, $50,000

    The Brooklyn Museum will create intensive arts education curricula for up to 10 underserved schools during the 2021–2022 academic year. The museum aims to create inspiring encounters with art that transform the ways we see ourselves, the world, and its possibilities. Through its school partnerships, the museum expects to reach roughly 1,000 K–12 students, specifically prioritizing Title I schools whose districts have experienced severe trauma resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This project will address multiple issues facing New York City educators right now, including the need for arts education curricula that aligns with New York City Department of Education learning objectives; content that addresses history and art through an anti-racist lens; and free or low-cost arts education resources.

    Burchfield Penney Art Center, $29,000

    The Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York, will hire a full-time social media and digital content specialist to manage the center’s website, social media channels, emails, and digital communications and marketing buys to meet audience needs through a hybrid model of on-site and online programming during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new hire will work with the center’s curatorial, educational, and public program departments to plan and create content, including evaluating the center’s work against its diversity, equity, and inclusion vision and goals. The center serves the eight counties of western New York and has strong ties to the Buffalo community. The center is gathering data to better understand and leverage potential opportunities with broader local, national, and international audiences.

    Center for Jewish History, $34,891

    The Center for Jewish History had to shift its programs and offerings online during the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused staff at the Center to realize they needed to be more accessible to its diverse patrons. When the Center reopens, it hopes to be a more inclusive institution by increasing accessibility of its online and onsite programs and services and by installing a hearing loop in its auditorium and at all service counters. It also plans to implement accessibility features on its website, provide high-quality live captions for a lecture series, and add closed captions to all recordings of public programs in order to better serve all visitors.

    Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, $27,882

    The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance in New York City will hire a digital content and programs coordinator to help the museum continue responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by expanding its online impact. This individual will film and post livestreamed and pre-recorded programs, publish museum and exhibit digital guides, post upcoming events on local media event calendars, and create content about the active museum initiatives Growing Uptown (which helps community members grow food in their apartments) and Talking About Race Matters lecture series. Through this new hire’s work, the museum intends to increase program attendance by 30 percent, increase its in-person and virtual programs by 20 percent, and increase its community partnerships by 20 percent. The museum will track progress through participant surveys and other measures.

    Everson Museum of Art, $50,000

    The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, will upgrade its digital infrastructure to provide patrons with enhanced access to its collections and programs. The pandemic underscored the need for expanded technology to reach the growing number of virtual visitors and reduce barriers to participation. The upgraded systems will improve the museum’s efficiency, sharing capabilities, and data security. Upgrades will include two new servers, cloud-based technology, video production equipment, and collections database software. These combined technological upgrades will provide patrons with digital access to more than 10,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection. They also will support patrons’ access to a wide range of programs and events via improved video streaming capabilities.

    Historic Hudson Valley, $49,750

    Historic Hudson Valley in Tarrytown, New York, will strengthen its institutional capacity and respond to teachers’ needs for online resources during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team will hire interpretive staff with the digital storytelling skills needed to lead virtual programs and train them in the organization’s content about slavery in the colonial North. The nonprofit also will train existing interpretive staff in the differences between historic, site-based, and hands-on learning, as well as fostering engagement in a remote classroom setting. This work will help the organization continue to develop virtual field trips that deliver accurate, empathetic, and engaging information about the history that shaped the nation. This program will serve students unable to visit historic sites because of geographic or economic constraints, and will measure success through teacher surveys, focus group recommendations, and staff evaluation.

    Historic Saranac Lake, $50,000

    Historic Saranac Lake in New York will carry out several initiatives to catalog its collections, respond to research requests, and prepare for expansion of the museum. The museum preserves and interprets the region’s history as the birthplace of the sanatorium treatment for tuberculosis in the United States and is a center for scientific research. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the number of research and genealogical requests increased dramatically, ad did donations to the collection. The museum will replace—and expand—a staff position lost due to reductions during the Covid-19 pandemic to manage the initiatives. This new collections assistant will respond to research/genealogical requests, process donations to the collection, and manage volunteer-completed collections projects. The additional staff support will increase the museum’s ability to properly care for its collections and make them available to the public.

    International Center of Photography, $49,500

    The International Center of Photography in New York City will reinstate its library-based public programs at the William Randolph Hearst Library and create hybrid virtual and in-person programs for individuals who are not yet ready or able to attend in person. Virtual programs were highly popular during the pandemic and will continue alongside in-person programming that gets filmed. Programs will include book events, film screenings, a community day, and exhibition-based activities. The center will hire a part-time videographer/audiovisual producer and a public programs coordinator to support this expanded programming. Through its new programs, the center will continue delivering accessible resources and content to meet the community’s needs.

    Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, $50,000

    The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, based in New York City, will broaden outreach for its long-standing leadership and science program for girls to provide families and communities with an essential support network. In particular, the museum will encourage youth from low-income neighborhoods, which have been especially hard-hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, to pursue education and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. The museum’s free yearlong program integrates STEM disciplines into real-world experiences and applications, introduces girls to female role models active in STEM fields, and provides girls with social and professional support, including near-peer mentors from the program’s alumnae network. The museum will conduct community outreach at New York City Housing Authority housing sites and develop informational resources that are welcoming, inclusive, and culturally responsive to enable parents and caregivers to encourage youth participation.

    Irish American Heritage Museum, $34,800

    The Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, New York, will expand its programming, reinvest in its collection, and strengthen its staff to preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America. Shortly after relocating in early 2020, the museum closed due to the pandemic, but it built a significant online following during that time and will continue to prioritize additional digital offerings. The museum will build new connections in the community through diverse public programming. The museum will hire a full-time content and engagement manager, who will develop new exhibitions and programs. Storage of and care for the museum’s permanent collection will be improved, which will allow the museum to increase the rotation of objects on display and create diverse temporary exhibitions.

    Katonah Museum of Art, $24,669

    The Katonah Museum of Art will expand and enhance its in-school artist residency program for students grades 2–6 at Thomas Cornell Academy, a Title I elementary school in Yonkers. Through this 10-session sequential program, students will be guided by teaching artists and a school-based arts instructor to create poetry, visual artwork, and choreographed movement pieces in response to the museum’s exhibitions, culminating in an event for families featuring student presentations of their work. This program seeks to fill the gap in access to arts enrichment activities, an issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, $50,000

    The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art will adopt a more flexible and robust web-based cataloguing software to provide greater public and scholarly access to research on LGBTQ+ art and the artists who create it. Requests from researchers and virtual audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic informed the museum’s plan to accelerate cataloguing, develop a more rigorous online database for the permanent collection, and recover collection staff to make research accessible. As part of the project, the museum will invite independent scholars to review the collection and inform the database management process, data, and user experience. The museum will develop image digitization and database migration plans to ensure that the collection is widely accessible to scholars of all disciplines.

    Long Island Children's Museum, $49,974

    Long Island Children’s Museum in New York will expand its Westbury STEM Partnership, a school-museum teaching collaboration with Westbury School District that serves first and second grade students, to include third grade students, their teachers, and their families in STEM learning. This expansion will mitigate the significant learning loss that these students experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program addresses the ongoing need for high-quality STEM education in a school district that is largely low-income and non-white, with significant numbers of immigrant students. Among other activities, the program will build students’ STEM-related skills and knowledge by providing multiple opportunities to engage in inquiry-based activities using problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

    Memorial Art Gallery, $50,000

    The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester will expand its free arts education programming in partnership with five under-resourced elementary schools in the Rochester City School District. Students will visit the museum once a week over a 4-week period to engage in a series of curriculum-based, hands-on, in-gallery experiences that reinforce classroom learning. A museum educator will lead discussions and activities, and the students will create their own artwork under the guidance of a teaching artist. These programs aim to help participants heal from the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic while developing the language, skills, and tools they need to understand, interpret, and discuss art.

    Museum at Bethel Woods, $31,900

    Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York state will maintain its preservation fellowship—its most ambitious program to date and a necessary addition as the museum overcomes pandemic-related interruptions—through October 2022. Continuing the fellowship will enhance and expand existing programming that has increased the museum’s institutional capacity to respond to community needs, strengthen public programming, and partner with other community-based organizations. The fellowship encompasses oral histories, public engagement projects, and the opening of new areas of the 800-acre historic site to exploration and public use. The previous fellowship project involved helping the museum plan, document, and preserve the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair. The museum will design fellowship activities to enhance the visitor experience and add authentic new material and understanding to the historical record.

    Museum of the City of New York, $50,000

    The Museum of the City of New York will hire a full-time Education & Community Coordinator to facilitate online and onsite programming for students, teachers, families, and intergenerational audiences with a focus on building, sustaining, and advancing community-based initiatives throughout the museum’s neighborhood of East Harlem and across the five boroughs of New York City. The coordinator also will lead trainings for museum staff to support inclusive, trauma-informed education programs and help build partnerships with schools, city agencies, and community organizations. This project will help the museum reconnect with its community following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and responds to the community’s need for free, arts-based programming identified during the pandemic.

    Museum of the Earth, $49,915

    The Museum of the Earth will develop the Here on Earth component of Earth@Home online, an open educational resource platform that will provide high school teachers with regionally contextualized geoscience content and career path guidance that they can integrate into their lessons and classrooms. Here on Earth will increase awareness of Earth science among high school students, increase awareness of geoscience careers, and help diversify the geosciences workforce. The museum will partner with high school science programs, natural history museums, and national public parks around the country to connect existing PRI Earth science learning resources with a wider national community of high school teachers and their students. This online learning resource for teachers seeks to address the weakness and limitations in available online learning resources exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Museum of the Moving Image, $48,556

    The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, will increase its capacity to serve local communities and national audiences by upgrading its digital infrastructure and equipment and providing training for staff on hybrid programming. The infrastructure upgrade will support digital media education programs that fuse online and on-site programs. Enhanced technology will allow the museum to increase the amount of livestream programming and improve its quality. A new digital media makerspace located in the museum’s core exhibition area will increase technology-based education opportunities for youth. These strategies are intended to address the widening digital divide highlighted during the pandemic. By implementing a hybrid system of programming, the museum will increase its ability to connect with audiences by enabling participants to access programmatic and media resources remotely as well as on-site.

    National Women's Hall of Fame, $49,748

    The National Women’s Hall of Fame (NWHF) in Seneca Falls, New York, will expand its virtual forums to engage the community in dialogue about past, present, and future leaders in women’s history. NWHF will host six forums (one every other month) highlighting women’s equality, women in business, and medical researchers working to advance women’s health. The forums will place special focus on providing a platform for women of color to showcase their expertise. Panel discussions targeted toward Generation Z and millennials will focus on conducting job searches in the post-pandemic era. Lessons learned during the pandemic about digital programming will enhance the NWHF’s ability to expand its reach far beyond its physical walls and support its long-term growth and sustainability.

    Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, $50,000

    The Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History in Kingston, New York, will expand its multicultural and educational programs to serve immigrant, school-age, and older adult populations and to counteract the learning difficulties, isolation, and trauma Kingston residents are experiencing as a result of the pandemic. The center will hire a multicultural programs and education director to oversee new initiatives and engage with target communities. The center’s Worry Dolls Project (Proyecto Muñecas Quitapenas) will expand to include five additional elementary schools. High school students and older adults will have access to five in-person, virtual, or hybrid programs relating to the Sewing in Kingston exhibition. The center will organize a multicultural festival with free activities for children and families.

    Rochester Museum and Science Center, $49,632

    The Rochester Museum and Science Center and community partners will provide a full-day field trip experience to the museum for third grade students as well as three public program days. The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black community, combined with local events, created a new consensus around the need for systemic change to address racism. In collaboration with the Take It Down Planning Committee of community activists and the Rochester City School District, the program will utilize the "Take It Down" exhibit, which tells the story of a community led effort to remove racist artwork from a historic carousel, as a tool for anti-racism education. Designed and taught by museum educators and Black community activists, the program engages participants in activities and dialogue to inspire and empower audiences to work for change.

    Sciencenter, $41,386

    Sciencenter in Ithaca, New York, will conduct a capacity-building project to improve the museum’s digital infrastructure and expand community access to programming. COVID-19 exacerbated typical patterns of learning loss, and the Sciencenter worked with teachers, libraries, and community organizations to support online learning throughout the pandemic. To continue this momentum, they plan to upgrade the museum’s Wi-Fi connectivity, increasing access and reliability for visitors and supporting the development of digital programs for target audiences. Working with community partners, Sciencenter will create interactive STEM programs that complement classroom learning for students in grades pre-K through 6. By relating content to students’ personal experiences and surroundings, they will foster higher engagement in activities and help to address the pandemic’s impact on STEM learning.

    South Street Seaport Museum, $31,130

    The South Street Seaport Museum in New York City will revitalize and expand its educational programming and restore activities that were cancelled during the pandemic. The museum’s core programming, which will safely reopen indoors in stages, will include school-age education programs, letterpress printing workshops, and public exhibitions. All programs, including virtual offerings piloted during the pandemic, will engage participants to make connections between their own lives and the historical development of the seaport. To increase access for broader audiences, the museum will make its collections and archives available online. The museum also will continue to maintain and preserve its fleet of historical ships in accordance with historical vessel preservation standards.

    The History Center in Tompkins County, $36,721

    The History Center in Tompkins County, New York, will collaborate with the Southside Community Center, Latino Civic Association, and Ithaca Asian American Association to make its collection more representative and diverse. Currently, the community archive predominantly reflects the white communities that have called Tompkins County home, which became apparent as a result of increased inquiries about the history of different minority groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. The center will sponsor a collaborative effort to assess the representation of Black, Latinx, and Asian communities within its archives and 3-D object collection; create public outreach strategies to address significant gaps in its historical record; and develop institutional programs and partnerships to document and archive both the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of Tompkins County. This project is critical for The History Center to build the partnerships and trust necessary to continue its progress toward becoming a true community archive.

    The Studio Museum in Harlem, $50,000

    The Studio Museum in Harlem will develop the Thomas J. Price Exhibition, Witness, and the 2021-22 season of inHarlem community-based collaborative programming. The museum will deepen its roots in the community through inHarlem by providing arts-based programming for families, teens, and adults through both digital and in-person initiatives that operate with the help of local NYC libraries, parks, community centers and public schools. The inHarlem exhibition Thomas J. Price: Witness involves erecting a nine-foot bronze figure sited within Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park that addresses Black masculinity, stereotypes and shared diasporic experiences and will be the U.K. artist's first-ever U.S. museum solo exhibition. The museum will engage its resilient communities via inHarlem programming and aid in recovery as they overcome the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic together.

    The Wild Center, $49,962

    The Wild Center, a natural history center in New York state, will create a fellowship program to support recovery from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 and attract young people to Adirondack Park, a rural, underserved region of the state. The fellowship program will diversify the center’s workforce to better reflect changing demographics, especially as it expands its online educational offerings beyond the region. The Wild Center will recruit, hire, and mentor a diverse cohort of fellows to prepare them to work in a science center or museum and teach them to facilitate online programming at the center during their fellowship year. This program will help rebuild the center’s institutional capacity to serve digital pre-K through 12th-grade audiences and families, in addition to its approximately 100,000 annual on-site visitors.

    Weeksville Heritage Center, $50,000

    The Weeksville Heritage Center will hire and train a new staff member to build the curriculum for an online and in-person educational program for K-12 schoolchildren. Located in Brooklyn, the Weeksville Heritage Center tells the story of Weeksville, one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America. In response to the need for virtual educational programming prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum will plan and coordinate professional development training for K-12 teachers. Additionally, the museum will host school groups for virtual tours, workshops, and events. A Fall 2022 Open House event will invite local teachers to learn about the institution and make available resources and tools for teaching about the impact of Weeksville on Brooklyn’s history.

    Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbor, $32,089

    The Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, will research, design, install, and evaluate a 2-year exhibition exploring and expounding on the role of Black mariners in whaling history. The exhibit will highlight and bring into perspective the significant but marginalized experiences of whaling in American history. The exhibition will correspond to present-day issues, promote democratic values, highlight new research about the experiences and impact of local Black whalers, and strengthen the visibility of Black perspectives on Long Island. Geared towards underserved populations on Long Island, particularly those of color, who have faced disproportionate impacts of the pandemic, the project will encourage audiences to foster new connections and gain an understanding of how Black seaman played a role in the evolution of Black communities through the American landscape.

    About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  • October 27, 2021 9:12 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Building Capacity Workshop at the Museum of Arts and Design, October 26, 2021

    Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters,

    I write from the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. The twenty-five museum professionals with us are bouncing energy around the room. My heart is filled with joy to be here among such passionate, and dedicated people. In this fall’s Forums, we are learning how partnerships help museums reach new audiences, grow resources, and interpret collections. Today, the New York City Building Capacity program participants are sharing their successes, challenges, and hopes for the future.

    I am beyond grateful for those of you who have let me know that our virtual programs helped you remain connected and informed. I apologize for my frequent tears in response to your thanks, but when we closed the Zoom on Friday afternoons, it sometimes felt like all the air had been let out of the room and I could do nothing but nap. Other times the momentum kept me going for a week. But if the pandemic raised doubts in my mind about the importance of being with colleagues in creative, actual spaces discussing our work, today silenced every doubt.

    While we finish our fall workshops and prepare for the grant opportunities announced last week, we have begun planning for our 2022 annual conference “Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation.” The Seventh Generation is a core value among the Indigenous nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples. The principle, which is rooted in the preservation of Indigenous culture, underscores the importance of the human continuum. It advocates for informed, long-term decision-making that recognizes and draws from the past while laying the groundwork for the future.

    We invite you to connect with colleagues and consider this concept from April 10th through the 12th in Corning, NY, on the ancestral lands of the Seneca. Conference plans include visits to unique museum spaces, Saturday Workshops, Conference Capstones, special events, and more than a dozen sessions that will advance your professional practice.

    Our call for proposals to New York’s museum professionals are for sessions that address the theme, that are engaging and interactive, and offer multiple perspectives.

    Watch for an email and MANY social media channels in the coming weeks for the Call for Proposals and the schedule for submitting Awards of Merit nominations.

    With tears of gratitude and joyful hopes for the spring of 2022, e


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