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

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  • June 25, 2020 2:15 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is pleased to announce the election  of four new members to its Board of Directors and the election of two members to their second terms.

    Newly elected board members are Mariano Desmarás, Michael Galban, Lara Litchfield-Kimber, and Emily Martz. Peter Hyde and Georgette Grier-Key have been re-elected to their second terms, bringing the total board size to 23. Members of MANY’s Board of Directors serve three years terms and represent museums of all disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic locations as well as partner industries in New York State. 

    “These new and renewing board members bring significant expertise, passion and energy to the work of MANY as it continues to provide resources for, and advocacy on behalf of, all the varied museums in New York State,” said Suzanne LeBlanc, MANY Board President and President of the Long Island Children’s Museum. “They are leaders in the museum field and committed to bringing diverse perspectives to the critical work of our organization as MANY responds to the challenges facing our organization and all museums. I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue to work with Peter and Georgette, and to welcome Mariano, Michael, Lara and Emily to the MANY Board of Directors.”

    “Museum professionals make a significant commitment to support MANY and New York’s museum community when they join the Board of Directors,” said Erika Sanger, MANY Executive Director. “The incredible expertise represented on MANY’s board helps us leverage resources and support our members in ways that would not be possible without their extensive range of skills, knowledge, and talent. Our board is helping MANY through this challenging time and I look forward to our work together envisioning ways to grow and respond to changes in the museum field and our society.”


    Mariano Desmarás is an exhibit designer who has worked with museums for two decades. The owner of Museum Environments, Desmarás has trained and worked in a variety of cultural and linguistic environments. He has designed numerous bilingual exhibits for institutions such as the Museum of Chinese in America, El Museo del Barrio, and the Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian. Desmarás is the former Chair of The Latino Network of AAM.

    Michael Galban is the Curator at Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site. He has expert knowledge of Native American material culture and art specializing in eastern woodland culture and has been actively working with the many Haudenosaunee communities to preserve ancient arts for over twenty years. Galban also works as a costume and historical consultant in film and television and on historic site development, most recently with the Museum of the American Revolution on their Oneida Patriots exhibition.

    Lara Litchfield-Kimber has been the Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum since 2012. In 2019 she was named a Noyce Leadership fellow at the recommendation of the Association of Science Technology Centers (ASTC), and in 2015 was the Athena Leadership Award Recipient for the Hudson Valley. Litchfield-Kimber is currently serving as a member of the board of the Association of Children’s Museums. 

    Emily Martz, PhD is the Executive Director of Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks, which is the steward of Great Camp Sagamore, a National Historic Landmark. Martz’s work in museums combines her past careers in higher education, nonprofits, and business. Martz spent a decade directing the sales and marketing for major fund companies in the Pacific Northwest and in Boston before earning her doctorate in History at the University of Delaware. After teaching she moved into the nonprofit sphere directing the operations and finances for a regional economic development organization.

    Peter Hyde is a highly accomplished designer with over twenty years of experience in the professional design field. Hyde has worked independently and for internationally recognized design firms before founding Peter Hyde Design in 2012. Hyde’s work focuses on providing dynamic and innovative exhibit and experience design solutions. His clients include museums, historical societies, learning centers, science centers, sport facilities, and Fortune 500 companies. 

    Dr. Georgette Grier-Key is the first Executive Director and Chief Curator of Eastville Community Historical Society. Grier-Key is also the President of the Association of Suffolk County Historical Societies and Cultural Partner for Sylvester Manor of Shelter Island. She is an outspoken advocate for the preservation and celebration of Long Island history with an emphasis on African American, Native American, and mixed-heritage historical reconstruction. Grier-Key has been awarded the Legacy Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Central Islip Branch. Grier-Key is the Chair of the Governance Committee

    The full list of board members for MANY is listed below.

    Suzanne LeBlanc, President, Long Island Children’s Museum, Board President

    Brian Lee Whisenhunt, Executive Director, The Rockwell Museum, Vice-President

    Bruce Whitmarsh, Executive Director, Chemung County Historical Society, Treasurer

    Becky Wehle, President & CEO, Genesee Country Village & Museum, Secretary

    Ian Berry, Dayton Director, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College

    Billye Chabot, Executive Director, Seward House Museum

    Mariano Desmarás, Creative Director, Museum Environments

    Alexandra Drakakis, Director of Collections Strategy & Archives, The Madison Square Garden Company

    Starlyn D’Angelo, Director of Philanthropic and Strategic Initiatives, Palace Performing Arts Center

    Georgette Grier-Key, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Eastville Community Historical Society

    Michael Galban, Curator, Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site

    Peter Hyde, Owner, Peter Hyde Design

    Theodore K. Johnson, President & CEO, Hadley Exhibits, Inc.

    Eliza Kozlowski, Director of Marketing and Engagement, George Eastman Museum

    Lara Litchfield-Kimber, Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

    Emily Martz, Executive Director, Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks

    Shelia McDaniel, Deputy Director, Finance & Operations, The Studio Museum in Harlem

    Ken Meifert, Vice-President for Sponsorship and Development, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

    Thomas Schuler, Chief Government Affairs Officer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Tom Shannon, Director of Building and Security Services, Asia Society

    Diane Shewchuk, Curator, Albany Institute of History & Art

    Natalie Stetson, Executive Director, Erie Canal Museum

    Marisa Wigglesworth, President and CEO, Buffalo Museum of Science, Tifft Nature Preserve

    The MANY office is located at 265 River Street, Troy, NY. For more information on the Museum Association of New York, please call (518) 273-3400, visit us on the web at www.nysmuseums.org, or follow us on our social media channels.

  • June 23, 2020 3:35 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Lionni, Leo. Little Blue and Little Yellow 1959. NY Ivan Obolensky Inc.*

    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. 

    In song lyrics that hold hope for the political experiment we call democracy, Leonard Cohen wrote “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  We are living in a time where light is flowing freely through the cracks revealed by COVID-19. Museums are in economic crisis without two thirds of our earned income. Our staffing crisis is a tragic result, as thousands of our museum colleagues are laid off in the wake of the inadequate and disproportionate federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Museums need to take advantage of this distinctively disruptive time and turn it into an opportunity for emergent solutions for our spaces, for our programs, and for our workforce. 

    MANY is committed to the work being done to address racism in our museums and pledges to support our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) museum colleagues and their communities who support museums. At this time of year, we would usually be busy planning a fall travel schedule of Meet Ups and Workshops. Our fingers are crossed that fall travel might still be possible.  To accompany potential in person programs, MANY is planning a series of virtual discussions to amplify anti-racist actions and shine a light on best practices in Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion. We will provide a platform for conversation and reflection and invite staff from museums who are taking positive actions to share their ideas about how we change our future by changing how our museums operate today. If you know of someone we should include, please send me an email and share their contact information. 

    I hope our museums will act quickly and proactively with deliberate and collaborative approaches that revise policies and practices to ensure a culture of inclusion and racial equality. I have been told that the answer to our nation’s structural racism lies at the end of a long road if we hold ourselves and those around us accountable. But for me, that road has no end. It is a path we travel our whole lives  with a moral compass in hand, with respect and integrity, acknowledging and celebrating differences, welcoming New Americans and celebrating the contributions of everyone who calls America home.

    With thanks for your support,

    Erika Sanger

    *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.

  • June 23, 2020 11:39 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    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.

    Completed in 1767 for Joseph Lloyd (1716-1780),  the third lord of the Manor of Queens Village, the Joseph Lloyd Manor House once served as the seat of a 3,000acre provisioning plantation and agricultural estate. The Joseph Lloyd Manor overlooks Lloyd Harbor in Huntington on Long Island.

    Jupiter Hammon’s life and writings offer an exceptionally nuanced view of slavery and freedom on Long Island before and after the American Revolution. The vast majority of literature and historical documents from the 18th century that we find in museums, libraries, and archives are not written by people who were enslaved. “This is what makes Hammon’s writings so significant. It is a voice to the social and moral conflicts that slavery raised in the newly formed United States,” Lauren Brincat, Curator at Preservation Long Island. 

    Identifying the Need for Change

    “We came to the conclusion that it was time to rethink the refurbishing of the house, the stories we told, and how we were engaging visitors. From the beginning, we recognized that Jupiter Hammon is a nationally significant individual in history and not many people know about him. (Hammon is often referred to as the founder of African American literature.) I think that in recognizing that is due in part to us not doing enough as an organization to elevate his history and voice,” said Brincat. 

    Sarah Pharaon of the International Coalition for Sites of Conscience leading the Arc of Dialogue training at Preservation Long Island’s headquarters in Cold Spring Harbor, August 2019. Photo courtesy of Preservation Long Island

    After conducting an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the  Joseph Lloyd Manor was facing, Preservation Long Island staff determined that the new interpretation must be equitable and that they had to look beyond the organization to determine  how to tell Hammon’s story and  engage visitors with his history. Staff sought community involvement from the start. “Working with our community was important and it is a large part of this initiative,” said Brincat. Preservation Long Island began working with local community stakeholders, Hammon’s descendents, and Long Island communities of color. Partners also included a Jupiter Hammon Project Advisory Council, Huntington Historical Society board members, and members of the local NAACP in Huntington.

    The Preservation Long Island team meeting with members of the Jupiter Hammon Advisory Council at Joseph Lloyd Manor, march 2019. Left to right: Melisa Rousseau, Irene Moore, Lauren Brincat, Denice Evans-Sheppard, Zenzelé Cooper, Julia Keiser, and Darren St. George. Photo courtesy of Preservation Long Island.

    The Jupiter Hammon Project’s goal is to expand the interpretive programming at Joseph Lloyd Manor to reflect the multiple perspectives that shaped the house’s history. The project also includes online resources, articles about Hammon, and a collection of digitized primary, secondary, and interactive sources to illuminate more about Hammon’s life and the history of enslavement on Long Island. 

    “As one of the significant early examples of African American literature before the republic, Jupiter Hammon’s work is a masterful ethical critique on slavery, religion, and humane relationship,” said Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Eastville Community Historical Society and a member of the Jupiter Hammon Project Advisory Council. Grier-Key became involved with the project because of Preservation Long Island’s approach to the subject matter. “Preservation Long Island embraced inclusion and utilized experienced facilitators and experts which set the tone to sustained attempts to tell the story of all Americans,” said Grier-Key. 

    Cordell Reaves, Historic Preservation and Interpretation Analyst for the NY State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will serve as moderator for the project’s three roundtable discussions. “I think that the level of dialogue with this project is definitely something that can and should be replicated at other projects, regardless of the subject matter,” said Reaves. “Curatorial or education departments cannot develop a project like this in their  own silos and expect the public to show up at the end and totally support it. I think that the staff of Preservation Long Island have been very mindful of involving the public and giving the public the chance to give immediate feedback throughout the project.”

    Collaborative Roundtables

    The Jupiter Hammon Project will include three public roundtable discussions that will address the legacy of slavery on Long Island and the life of Jupiter Hammon. Discussions will connect renowned scholars and professionals with local residents, descendent communities, and other stakeholders. 

    Originally roundtable discussions were to be held at different historic sites on Long Island but now will be presented in a digital format. These roundtable events are free and open to thepublic. To learn more and to register please visit: https://preservationlongisland.org/jupiter-hammon-project/

    The first roundtable, “Long Island in the Black Atlantic World” will explore a global perspective on enslaved Africans on Long Island asking “why did Long Island have one of the largest enslaved populations in the North during the 17th and 18th centuries?” This roundtable will address Jupiter Hammon’s Long Island as a hub of the Atlantic slave trade and a key player in a global economy dependent on black enslavement. 

    The second roundtable, “The Voice of Jupiter Hammon” will examine his poetry and how his religious beliefs influenced his thoughts about freedom and equality. The third and last roundtable discussion “Confronting Slavery at Joseph Lloyd Manor” will use conversations from the previous roundtables to explore how Preservation Long Island can effectively engage audiences with difficult history narratives, and encourage responsible, rigorous, and relevant dialogues about the region’s history of enslavement and its lasting effects on our society today. 

    “Originally the structure for these roundtable discussions was to bring in the community to have discussions with scholars and engage each other in dialogue and also to learn some of the histories at historic sites throughout the region, not just at the Lloyd Manor,” said Brincat. Those sites included Weeksville Heritage Center, Suffolk County Historical Society, and Preservation Long Island in Cold Spring Harbor. Roundtables were scheduled to start this August, but the COVID-19 pandemic has moved these roundtables online.

    This online approach increases access to these conversations to the public, however, it will condense roundtable discussions from an all-day forum to a shorter presentation. There will still be formal discussions led by scholars and Preservation Long Island hopes to increase access to these scholars by offering scheduled virtual office hours. 

    “I hope that people will see Jupiter Hammon as the complex person that he was,” said Reaves when asked about his hopes for these conversations. “I hope people gain a greater appreciation for the world that he lived in.”

    Long Term Goals and Relevance Today

    Preservation Long Island hopes to create a report to share with other institutions. “We’re hoping that this can be a model for other organizations, not just regionally but across the country,” said Brincat. “That’s a big part of what we want to achieve out of this project, to be able to share our experience with others so that they may be able to learn from this and adapt it for their own uses.” 

    “I want people to get a better understanding of what life was like on Long Island for someone of African descent during that period,” said Reaves. “What were the relationships between the free and enslaved community and what was [Hammon’s] place in that community, not just understanding his relationship with the Lloyd family or his writing but a better understanding of the world he lived in.” These discussions will ultimately help develop a new interpretive 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.

    “There are many connections here to the ongoing legacy of slavery in America,” said Reaves. “It’s one of the reasons why people say ‘why can’t we talk about something else?’ and ‘why do we have to keep talking about the subject?’ It’s because we don’t have a good understanding of this subject, especially in the North.” The Jupiter Hammon Project hopes to provide educational content for the development of revised school curricula and serve as a model approach to program development for other sites of enslavement in the region.

    For Brincat and Preservation Long Island this project is about reinterpreting the house and using the story of Jupiter Hammon to help tell the long history of enslavement on Long Island. “These stories are particularly relevant to Long Island today as one of the most segregated areas in the entire country,” said Brincat. “It’s important to make these connections to the present day and we want this story to be relevant and historically rigorous but responsible too.”

    “I think as these things come up that involve discrimination, prejudice, and racial violence, all of these things harken back to understanding the full chain of events that got us to this present point,” said Reaves. “and that chain starts in early slavery in the colonial period.”

    For more information about the Jupiter Hammon Project: https://preservationlongisland.org/jupiter-hammon-project/

  • June 23, 2020 11:32 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    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. The Center features an interactive, multimedia exhibition gallery, a changing exhibition space, orientation theatre, auditorium, and gift shop. While the hiking trails at Ganondagan State Historic Site remain open to the public, spring and summer programming have been either cancelled or rescheduled. The Seneca Bark Longhouse (a fully furnished longhouse designed to reflect a typical Seneca family from the 17th century) was scheduled to open on May 1, but for now, remains closed to the public. 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.

    Virtual Programming

    “We have always maintained our brand as an authentic voice that focused on history, culture and art,” said Michael Galban, Curator at the Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, NYS museums have increased their social media use by 81% (MANY COVID-19 Impact Report). “Our approach was to get something out there in virtual space that would keep our supporters engaged and also provide authentic content. We can accomplish our mission through social media and continue to have open engagement with our supporters through our online presence,” said Galban. Across the museum sector in NYS, social media is the top engagement platform for museum audiences during the pandemic, almost 20% higher than online education materials. 

    As social media use increased, staff tasks and responsibilities were adjusted to help meet the digital demand. “We had focused quite a lot on social media prior to COVID-19 and fortunately we were already set up with a strategy to provide content and engage with visitation remotely,” said Galban. “This now became our top priority and the staff shifted all efforts online.”

    Ganondagan utilized their strong Facebook platform to host daily live storytelling and “Ten Minute Teachings” with Peter Jeminson, Site Manager for Ganondagan State Historic Site. The storytelling sessions were hosted by Michael and Tonia Galban who for thirty days shared Seneca stories. “The storytelling sessions were my attempt at shifting focus for our public from a state of fear and panic to a consistent messaging from our ancestors,” said Galban. “I saw the quarantine period as an extended “wintertime” where historically people stayed indoors and was also the time when stories were shared and enjoyed.”

    Ten-Minute Teachings, hosted twice a week on Wednesday and Fridays on Ganondagan’s Facebook page, about Seneca history, art, culture, and artifacts. These sessions are hosted by staff throughout the Seneca Art & Culture Building and have included topics on “The Three Sisters Garden,” “The Beaver Wars,” “Repatriation,” “The Creator’s Garden,” “Cradle Boards,” and more. These ten minute videos are easily digestible content and are a perfect example of adjusting to the new reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to share stories and spaces virtually. “The response was tremendous initially,” commented Galban on the live storytelling and Ten-Minute Teachings. “We engaged with thousands of viewers but as the weeks wore on the engagement lost momentum. Modern internet culture focuses on novelty and what the next new thing is—so we have to reinvent our online presence accordingly.” Ganondagan has continued to produce Ten-Minute teaching videos on its Facebook page as well recently producing longer videos on different aspects of Seneca culture on YouTube. 

    Socially Distanced Outdoors

    The Bark Longhouse originally scheduled to open for the season on May 1 has remained closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo from MANY Fall Meet-Up, September 4, 2019

    Although the Seneca Art & Culture Center has been closed to the public since mid-March, Ganondagan’s three marked hiking trails have remained open: the “Trail of Peace” with signage that details Seneca history and oral traditions, the “Earth is Our Mother Trail” which identifies plants and explains how they are used by the Seneca, and the “Granary Trail” where visitors can experience a day in July though journal entries from the Denonville campaign (when a large French army led by the Governor of Canada attacked and destroyed the Seneca Village at Ganondagan). The public has increased their use of these outdoor spaces since the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing is still a priority. “We have implemented reduced parking strategies and limited picnic tables to help sponsor a spirit of social distancing,” said Galban. The site also uses prominent signage at trailheads and in the parking lots that help remind the public. “We don’t engage the public directly for infractions but can ask for help from the NYS Law Enforcement if the situation merits.” 

    Ganondagan State Historic Site is receiving updates from The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on safety protocols and procedures. Historic Sites are open across New York State but visitors are required to wear face coverings and maintain a safe social distance. 


    Inside the main exhibition gallery

    Museums have been categorized in Phase 4 in Governor Cuomo’s “Reopen New York” and many have been researching and reorganizing interpretation strategies for reopening their doors. “Our preparations are focused on fulfilling our mission of education without sacrificing the safety of our staff and patrons including plans to alter the visitor experience to provide that safety are being explored,” said Galban. Those plans to alter the visitor experience include plexiglass at the front desk, a guided one-way flow through the gallery, special floor signage to help enforce and maintain social distancing, additional hand sanitizing stations, personal social distancing monitors, body temperature checks, and exploring no-cash entry fees are all being considered. 

    As of mid-June, seven of New York’s REDC regions have entered into Phase three of a four-phase reopening process. Phase 4 is the final phase and will allow schools, arts, entertainment and recreational businesses to reopen which includes museums. The Finger Lakes (where the Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site’s region) will soon reach Phase 4—the final reopening phase which includes museums. 

    “At Ganondagan the initial worry was that we wouldn’t close to the public officially to protect the staff and not contribute to the spread of the virus,” said Michael Galban reflecting back on the immediate response that he and the staff had in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We knew something would happen in terms of policy but what would that be and how it would impact us was uncertain.” 

    The Seneca Art & Culture Center and Ganondagan State Historic Site typically sees 50,000 visitors a year divided between people who come to see the exhibits, participate in events, see the Bark Longhouse, and school groups. This number also includes visitors who explore the trails at Ganondagan. Since the Center has been closed, their online audience has reached thousands. Live Storytelling received 10,000 views total and Ten-Minute Teachings averages between 1,000 and 2,000 views per video. Staff plans to continue the Ten-Minute Teaching videos on their YouTube page after the reopening. “We want to continue with this series on our YouTube page and strengthen their quality,” said Galban. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the Center to close its doors, it found a way to engage with existing and new audiences online. 

    Learn more about Ganondagan State Historic Sites virtual programming by visiting their Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/Ganondagan/

    Explore more on Ganondagan’s YouTube page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoLxS8-0iiqe6yhmcyrGzQg

    For more resources on reopening museums, visit: https://nysmuseums.org/COVID19resources#reopening
  • June 23, 2020 11:30 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    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.

    “We are proud to support our state’s history organizations and the important work they do,” said Bill Pomeroy, Founder and Trustee of the Pomeroy Foundation. “These institutions enrich our communities in numerous ways, from bringing us educational programs to preserving priceless materials. It’s imperative to step up and support their good work. We hope that the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History helps to make that happen.”

    “I was especially impressed by how these small history related museums put their communities at the center of their programs and services, leveraging their limited resources with deliberate and collaborative approaches,” said Erika Sanger, Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York.

    Pomeroy Fund second round grantees are as follows (listed alphabetically):

    Beacon Historical Society

    City Island Historical Society

    Constable Hall Association, Inc.

    Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance

    Friends of City Reliquary, Inc.

    Friends of Mills Mansion

    Greece Historical Society

    Livingston County Historical Society

    National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum

    North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association

    Phelps Mansion Museum

    Sodus Bay Historical Society

    The Coney Island History Project Inc.

    The Historical Society of the Town of Chester

    The Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society

    Waterville Historical Society

    Webster Museum and Historical Society

    West Seneca Historical Society and Museum

    The Museum Association of New York and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation are proud to partner in creating the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History, which has rapidly distributed funds to New York State’s smallest history organizations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pomeroy Foundation and MANY look forward to future partnerships.

    # # #

    About the Pomeroy Foundation

    The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005. The Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. To date, the Foundation has awarded over 1,075 roadside markers and plaques nationwide. Visit: https://www.wgpfoundation.org/

    Twitter: @wgpfoundation

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WGPFoundation

    YouTube: William G. Pomeroy Foundation

    About MANY
    The Museum Association of New York inspires, connects, and strengthens New York’s cultural community statewide by advocating, educating, collaborating, and supporting professional standards and organizational development. MANY ensures that New York State museums operate at their full potential as economic drivers and essential components of their communities.


  • June 23, 2020 11:24 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    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.” 

    This June, the New York State Archives, Library and Museum launched the COVID-19 Documentation Task Force. This initiative focuses on three areas: documenting the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support for cultural organizations, and a COVID-19 pandemic information clearing house. The clearing house is a database of historical societies/groups throughout NYS organized by their Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC). Visitors looking to donate can find their regional organization and get more information.

    APHNYS, Documentary Heritage & Preservation Services (DHPSNY) and the NYS State Archives have published guidelines for state agencies and local governments on documenting the pandemic. The New York State Archives specifically providing guidance on records management, retention, and remote work. New York State Archives presents the New York government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a unique opportunity to “ensure the essential evidence of government activity and its impact on communities across the state is preserved and accessible for future generations.”

    Rapid Response Collecting

    Rapid response collecting is a strategy that allows museums to collect in response to major moments in history.This is not a new collection method but has increased in recent years as museums work to capture history as it occurs in real time. Objects, some obtained on the spot, others in the days that follow identified by curators scanning social media, television or newspapers, and putting a call out for people to share their experiences and donate objects. 

    Collecting Around the State

    The New-York Historical Society launched their History Responds initiative to collect history as it unfolded following the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. The N-Y Historical Society uses History Responds to collect relevant materials during or immediately after major events like celebrations, natural disasters, and protests. The N-Y Historical Society seeks relevant materials during or immediately after major events like celebrations, natural disasters, and protests. Current collecting projects include the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Protests that will help tell the story of how New Yorkers are living through these new circumstances.

    Buffalo History Museum features “Experience History With You” initiative on their homepage, buffalohistory.org 

    The Buffalo History Museum launched their “Experience History With You” initiative that asks the public to help chronicle the COVID-19 pandemic. The Museum’s public call out invites the community to contribute evidence of this time for future research, reference, projects, exhibits, and programs. The public can submit insights, feelings, and thoughts during the pandemic by sending a postcard to the museum, taking a digital survey, submitting photos, and sharing journal entries that document daily life during the pandemic. 

    Rachel Dworkin, Archivist at the Chemung County Historical Society wrote in a recent blog post “the mission of the Chemung County Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and share the history of our county, but history isn’t just the stuff in grandma’s attic. History is happening right now. In order to capture history in the making, we have launched the COVID Memory Project. We’re collecting oral histories, photographs, videos, diaries, and objects associated with the pandemic and protests.”

    Dworkin is working to capture oral histories from health care workers, teachers, school administrators, grocery store and other essential retail workers, restaurant owners, someone working from home, someone laid off, someone who was sick, someone who lost someone, someone with small children, someone elderly, and anyone with a story to tell. Dworkin also calls for community members to become oral historians themselves by interviewing friends, neighbors, and relatives either by using a cell phone to record the video or audio or utilizing StoryCorps.

    Museum of the City of New York’s new series “Curators from the Couch” connects MCNY curators with artists, influencers, and more.

    The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) launched “Curators from the Couch: #CovidStoriesNYC.” This live from home series brings MCNY curators together to speak with artists, influencers, and more from the comfort of their couches. MCNY’s initiative documents the perspectives and stories happening around New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. MCNY also invites the public to share their #CovidstoriesNY. As of June 8, more than 4,000 #CovidStoriesNYC images have been shared. 

    MCNY is also documenting current activism and Black Lives Matter protests. Utilizing their Instagram (@museumofcityny), MCNY is calling for New Yorkers to shares images for documentation using the hashtag #ActivistNY. The Museum’s curatorial team will review the images on a rolling basis and select images that will be reposted on the Museum’s social media feed and other digital channels. While the Museum is currently not accepting physical objects, people can take photos of an object (like a protest sign) that would help the Museum’s collection to tell the story of current activism or COVID-19 in New York to future generations, and email it to the collections team. This social media campaign coincides with MCNY’s ongoing exhibition “Activist New York” that explores histories of activism in New York City from the 1600s through today. 

    The Hart-Cluett Museum and the Arts Center in Troy, NY partnered to preserve and document the local response to the Troy Rally for Black Lives that transformed Troy’s downtown into a “plywood canvas of art and living history.” In the days following the rally, curators from the Hart-Cluett Museum and the Arts Center worked together to reach out to businesses who had plywood art in order to document and save them as artifacts. Business and building owners were contacted through letters and word of mouth to collect the large plywood panels, in addition to working to identify the artists and asking what they want done with their work. 

    The Queens Memory Project learned in late March that there was a growing community interest to collect and archive stories of life in the epicenter of the pandemic. By April 9, the Queens Memory Project had set up a public project page to gather submissions. 

    The Queens Memory COVID-19 Project is collecting first person stories of life in the epicenter of the pandemic. Each submission becomes part of the archives at Queens College and Queens Public Library and shared by their tech partner Urban Archive (who created a user generated submission portal for the project).

    “Going forward we are going to have this activated and new energized group of volunteers who are out in the community, who know about us, and know that we will preserve the materials that they create if they create them,” said Natalie Milbrodt, Coordinator and Metadata Services director for Queens Memory. Since the start of this project, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of volunteers. People who want to share the stories behind the statistics and help amplify underrepresented communities in this pandemic. 

    “It’s been really moving to see how vulnerable people are being in this space and how honest they’re being about their experiences,” said Milbrodt. “People have been pretty raw about the challenges they’ve been facing. It’s impressive and I’ve really appreciated that.”

    Further Reading / Resources

    Association of Public Historians of NYS—Historians: Start Documenting COVID-19

    Guidelines for Managing Records During the Covid-19 Pandemic

    NYS COVID-19 Documentation Initiative

    DHPSNY COVID-19 Information Aggregate

    Anacostia Community Museum Launches Moments of Resilience Pages

    How Museums Will Eventually Tell the Story of COVID-19

    The Dolenjska Museum aims to preserve the memory of the quarantine

    The University of Hamburg launches corona archive

    Share your images documenting NYC’s current activism and protests for Black lives

    Troy curators chase down protest art before it vanishes

    ‘People Are unaware of Their History’: Why Museums Are Collecting Artifacts From the Black Lives Matter Protests as They’re Happening

    History Responds: Collecting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • May 28, 2020 11:14 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    According to our COVID-19 Impact Survey, New York State’s museums social media use has increased by 81% since the pandemic. Museums are creating new virtual experiences to share their educational resources, exhibitions, collections, and behind the scenes content. Going live is a great way to engage your audience. It doesn’t require video editing skills and is quick to produce. Using Facebook to host your live stream is an easy way to increase your online engagement on a platform where you already have an audience. 

    Here are some helpful tips and best practices for going live.


    1. Camera

    Going live on Facebook doesn’t require a professional camera or any kind of editing software (remember this is live). You can use your phone or computer. Your phone camera is best if you plan on walking through an exhibit. If you plan to use your phone make sure that you use your “Do Not Disturb” setting. This will block any calls, texts, or other alerts that could interrupt your live broadcast. 

    2. Tripod

    Use a tripod if possible to avoid shaky video. If you use your computer, you can place it on a table, chair, or any flat, steady object you may find in a museum... like a pedestal!. Test your camera angle and adjust accordingly before you go live to ensure that everything you want in frame is visible on camera. 

    If you plan to use your phone, there are relatively inexpensive tripods—like this one—you can use to help stabilize your video. If you plan on moving through a collection or exhibition, this DJI Osmo Mobile Gimbal for an iPhone will give you the best stabilization. It is more expensive, but worth the investment depending on the content you want to produce. 

    3. Audio

    If it's just one person going live using their phone, using the headphones that came with your iPhone with its built in microphone will work just fine. These lapel microphones also work great to capture audio, especially if the room has an echo. You can also go without, but make sure that your speaker never turns their back to the camera and can project their voice.

    4. Lighting

    Lighting is everything and natural light is best. However for behind-the-scenes tours into collections storage, or exhibitions where natural light is the enemy of the art work on the walls, you will want to test the lighting before you go live. Often the overhead lights will suffice, but also think about bringing in and using a floor lamp. The location of your  lightg source will dictate where you set up your camera so always test beforehand.


    Write the title and description of your livestream before you go live. You can have this pre-written d on a word doc or use the notes section on your phone so you can copy and paste right to Facebook. To increase engagement, use relevant hashtags, tag your location, and create a call to action such as where to find more information, how to join, or where to donate. 

    NYS Museum creates Facebook events in advance telling their audience when they will be live.

    Create an event on your Facebook page letting your followers know when you plan on going live. Once your live stream starts, Facebook will notify your followers. To give your followers time to join, you’ll want to aim for a video that will be around fifteen minutes in length, and wait a couple of minutes before starting. Creating a Facebook Event will reach more of your audience in advance. 

    Remember to practice

    Preparing and practicing before going live will help with any on-camera nerves. It is important to test your camera, audio, and your internet connection. Try recording your live stream before going live. You can then play it back and watch to see how it will look on camera to your audience and make any needed adjustments. 

    Going Live

    It is helpful to have a second person who can monitor comments during the livestream. It is best to allow time at the end of your video for a brief Q & A. This person can also monitor if there are any comments about audio or visual issues so you can respond and adjust. Having someone else monitor the comments on the livestream will allow the speaker to focus on the content and not get distracted. 

    Remember that not all content will work when going live. Focus on unique, easily visible items from your collection or share stories that are normally not shared on a tour. Give your audience experiences that might not be possible on a traditional in person visit such as a behind the scenes tour to  show collections storage or how an object is undergoing conservation. dBoth.  Lastly, reach out and ask your audience what they want to see. This feedback can help determine what type of content that your online audience will engage with and help determine future social media posts. 

    Get Inspired

    Here are just a few NYS museums who are going live! 

    NYS Museum

    Erie Canal Museum

    Fulton County Museum

    Rochester Museum and Science Center

    The Wild Center

    New-York Historical Society

    Click here to see our Facebook Live session at the Hart Cluett Museum

  • May 28, 2020 11:04 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    New York State has started to reopen. Museums are included in Phase 4, but conversations about reopening have circulated since the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures. What will reopening plans and protocols for museums look like? How can we ensure staff and visitor safety? What will visitor experience look like? At a recent MANY Virtual Meet-Up, museum leaders shared what these conversations have been like at their institutions.

    Brooklyn Museum closed to the public on March 13

    Reopening Plans and Protocol

    “Reopening plans and protocol is very much in progress,” said Sara Devine, Director of Visitor Experience & Engagement at the Brooklyn Museum.  “We are watching closely at what is happening in both in this country where places are beginning to reopen and abroad for what their protocols are. We’re spending a lot of time talking about plans and protocols for reopening.” The Brooklyn Museum has created different task forces that include different museum staff members. “One is about reopening in terms of safety for staff, building cleaning protocols, and safety for the public which includes myself, our head of building security, our head of collections, conservation, our head of HR, and our budget and finance director. It also includes someone who represents exhibitions and public programming and special events.” The Brooklyn Museum’s task forces ensure that both public facing and internal museum staff are represented and contribute to the conversations on reopening. “At this point [early May] we’re meeting weekly. We have started by focusing on bringing staff back to work because for us that seemed like an obvious place to start. So until we are ready to open our doors we know that certain staff need to be in the building.” 

    The Brooklyn Museum conducted an internal survey administered to the department heads about what their return to work plans would look like which included information on which staff people would actually need to be in the building, for how long, and why. It also established staff safety protocols such as wearing masks, temperature checks before entering the building, altering staff shifts, and creating social distancing spaces. “We’re starting with staff safety and then we’ll move on to public safety when we think about reopening. We have a task force that is bringing in members of our community who can share their needs for what we can do for our neighborhood.” Devine is also part of a NYC wide group cultural institutions visitor services group that meets bi-weekly that is brainstorming all of these concerns surrounding reopening. There is also a NYC museum round table task force developed by the Whitney Museum. This task force includes museum CEOs and a few other museum representatives from some of the larger institutions in the city to talk about what the phased reopenings will look like. Its goal is to bring NYC organizations together to create similar protocols for reopening. Similar protocols across NYC’s museums will create a cohesive reopening plan that for anyone coming to NYC to visit a museum will be met with the same protocol. “We are also coming together so that we can better advocate for what that reopening looks like, what the timing is, what is appropriate, and on sharing resources.” 

    The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Considerations for Museum Reopenings also recommends coordinating with other museums in your community to create consistency and even to share supplies. AAM also recommends coordinating with state and local authorities on your reopening plans. “Look for city, county, state, and federal officials to lift closure orders and the CDC and local public health departments to provide clearance.”

    The Oklahoma Museums Association created a “Museum ‘Open to the Public’ Guideline Considerations” a cohesive template for museums to adapt for reopening. While not every guideline is applicable or possible at every institution, guidelines like these will help to establish reopening protocols that can become the standard at each museum. This guideline includes protocols for the museum building, exhibit areas, staff, visitor services, store and cafe, and collections. 

    Staff and Visitor Safety

    “Staff responsibilities are changing and safety protocols are changing and will likely continue to change moving forward,” said Jeanmarie Walsh, Associate Director of Education at the Long Island Children’s Museum. “This is not just for our staff to function safely in our space but for our visitors when they are allowed in. We will need to make sure that everyone is fully aware of what roles and protocols we need to follow to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors that adhere to what the state and county guidelines are. We are developing that now within our own task force to figure out what the needs are.” The Long Island Children’s Museum also plans on cross training as staff responsibilities shift. “It will include basic things like knowing where radios are to help everyone communicate who is on the museum floor. Our floor supervisors will be doing virtual training for all staff members who are returning so that everyone of us can be on the floor and follow the appropriate protocols.” The Museum is also undergoing Wakanheza training which is aimed at handling and de-escalating stressful situations. “We’re looking at our visitors and our staff coming back that have been through quite a lot and may have experienced trauma through this pandemic and might be more emotional so learning how to de-escalate through finding judgement free and empathetic interactions that our staff can use.”

    “We are making sure to communicate on our website to the public everything that the museum plans on doing to ensure safety,” said Bill Gilbert, Senior Manager of Environment, Health and Safety at the Corning Museum of Glass. “It’s a comfort level for our staff that we communicate these safety measures. One of my concerns is that we open too soon so the more precautions that we can take that allow us to open and increase the confidence that we’re protecting our staff to the greatest extent possible gives us a new normal.”

    Corning Museum of Glass website, visit.cmog.org/COVID19 sharing resources and ways to enjoy the museum from home

    AAM recommends the importance of assessing your staff resources and the availability of equipment and supplies. According to the MANY COVID-19 Impact Report, 49% of museums in NYS have reduced staff hours and 32% have laid staff off. Assessing staffing ahead of reopening will help museums “recruit, hire, orient, and properly train or retrain staff at all levels in operating, safety, and enhanced cleaning procedures.” AAM also recommends that before reopening “ensure that you have adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors for staff and visitors, to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and to properly clean/disinfect your facilities.”

    “Staff safety is paramount, both as we let our staff back in and the role we take in terms of reopening,” said Sara Devine at the Brooklyn Museum. “My concern as someone who is responsible for our admissions team is not only making sure that our staff is healthy but that they also feel comfortable and supported in all of this.”

    Re-thinking the Visitor Experience

    As museums prepare to reopen, museums are working to communicate to the public about what their visitor experience will look like. The International Council of Museums published a list for museums at the end of lockdown to help museums ensure the safety of the public and their staff. ICOM recommends changing public access points by adapting the flow of visitors to maintain social distancing. This includes avoiding lines, using ground markings to help ensure the recommended social distancing, installing protective screens and barriers between staff and visitors, closing any cloakrooms, creating a seperate entrance and exit to help with the flow of visitors, creating specific guided tour times and limit the size, and strengthening health measures at your institutions. 

    “One of the things that we’re thinking of especially in the visitor communications area is how we’re conveying not only to visitors and the community about what has changed, what may be changing in the building while remaining true to our mission but also communicating what the expectation is to our visitors,” said Maureen Mangan, Director of Communications & Marketing at the Long Island Children’s Museum.  The museum has made changes to provide a safe and comfortable environment for guests and staff. “It is equally important to let visitors know that there have been changes in expectations from them to protect their fellow guests and our staff,” said Mangan. 

    According to an article by Colleen Dilenscheider, “Meeting Visitor Needs” evolving to make people feel safe is an expectation that visitors have of museums. Colleen writes, “While we see that people intend to visit cultural organizations again in the relative near term, we also observe that a sizable percentage of visitors do not feel comfortable doing so without first observing significant operational changes.” 

    The Long Island Children’s Museum anticipates a month long communications campaign about the new visitor experience and expectations from visitors ahead of reopening. “It is important for these communications to be a shared message to say that this is what our staff is doing for you and this is how you can help us.”

    Visitor experience is going to change. AAM recommends that museums need to consider how to “limit person-to-person contact, monitor the number of visitors, and restrict or prohibit access to certain areas of the museum.” This could include online ticket sales, digital guides to visitors, regulating interactives, capacity restrictions, no or limited access to certain spaces, canceling or restricting group visits, guided tours, public programs, new signage and barriers to enforce social distancing, changing the flow through your museum, and more. 

    Hillary Olson, the President & CEO of the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC), has used this time to try new visitor experiences. “I’m saying yes a lot […] saying yes to possibilities. We’ve had amazing results for online forest school and our online planetarium programs that I want to continue in the future.”  

    Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Virtual Classroom

    As visitor experience changes and increased safety measures for staff and visitors continues, museums are encouraged to continue to offer digital experiences. In a Cueseum article, “Tips & Strategies for Reopening Museums After CVOID-19 Closures” museums who have increased their digital engagement efforts through new programs, events, tours, etc. will “be of continued importance, even as organizations welcome a portion of their visitors back to their physical sites.” Museums like the RMSC who have created new online programs to provide opportunities for students to learn online have seen success and are reaching new audiences. Continuing online programming is also a consideration for the health and safety of high risk visitors. According to Cueseum’s article, “many museum patrons, including high-level members and donors, may be older than sixty-five, putting them in a high-risk category. They may need to continue to be socially distant for months to come. For these older audiences, it is essential to continue digital offerings to make them feel included.”

    Future Casting—Finding Solutions

    Finding new solutions and trying new ideas has been key for many institutions. “I think that there is something about partnering and doing these things together and working together as much as possible,” said Olson. “If there’s a gap being left then the bigger organizations need to fill that or help our smaller organizations by partnering with them.”

    “In times like this where things are changing and things are changing quickly, it is also critical to look outside your industry,” said Peter Hyde, Owner at Peter Hyde Design and MANY Board Member. “A lot of these questions have come up before in various ways in other industries.” Looking at how exhibitions are designed in spaces that need to be easily cleaned on a daily basis, like hospitals, or examining visitor traffic flow through theme parks, etc. “It’s important not to be too insular and we should make sure that we are looking out to find solutions.”

    Looking Ahead

    As we move towards reopening, running scenarios for what a new normal might look like for your institution is critically important. These should  include contingency plans for when capacity is reduced, reduced capacity in-person program delivery and when events are canceled how they can be moved to a digital platform. 

    “We are modeling a whole range of scenarios in terms of visitation, revenue...well into 2021 and we are heading towards a new operating plan that is sustainable for the future,” said Ann Campbell, Marketing Communications Manager at Corning Museum of Glass. “We recognize that the museum that closed on March 16 is not going to be the same museum when we reopen. Nothing is off the table. Every program needs to be examined, every assumption needs to be examined and this will look different if we are able to reopen in July versus reopening at the end of the summer. Every one of these modeling scenarios is different and we need to understand the implications of each of these scenarios including a potential second or third wave that closes us down again after we’ve reopened.” 

    “The biggest mental shift for me has been to just switch to talk about reopening itself, even though we don’t have a date,” said Sara Devine, Brooklyn Museum. “it’s wonderful to start to think about what role we are playing and play in the future to help our communities and bring people together and that feels really good to talk about those things.”

    Click here to listen to the full Virtual Meet-Up “Looking Ahead to Re-Opening Our Museums.”

    Further Reading / Re-Opening Resources

    Governor Cuomo's Additional Guidelines for Phased Plan to Re-open New York

    AAM Resource Guide for Reopening

    Visitor Experience Group: Reopening Your Institution

    Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes

    Museums and Social Distancing: A Planning Toolkit

    Recommendations for Reopening: Art Industries

    Coronavirus Disease 2019 Child Care, Schools, and Youth Programs

    Back to Work Safely

    Exploring the Future of "Hands-On" Museum Exhibits

    Best Practices for Cleaning Play and Learning Spaces

    COVID-19 Basics: Re-Entry to Cultural Sites Video 3   

    Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections

    Post Covid Balancing Act: A Strategy Primer for Museums

    Workflow Recommendations For Reopening Museums  

    Tips & Strategies For Reopening Museums After Covid-19 Closures

    Preparing to Reopen - Strategy, Planning & Process on the Road to Reopening Museums

    Museums and Social Distancing: A Planning Toolkit

    GUIDELINE EXAMPLES (from the Museum Association of Arizona)

    Best Practice Recommendations for Reopening Your Museum
    Iowa Museum Association 

    Museum “Open to the Public” Guideline Considerations  
    Oklahoma Museums Association

    Precautions for Museums during Covid-19 Pandemic
    International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM)

    Covid-19/Reopening Resources
    Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums

    How Museums in China Are Reopening Post-COVID-19 
    Dragon Trail Interactive

    COVID-19 Opening Protocol
    Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites  

  • May 13, 2020 4:26 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Museum Association of New York Announce Grantees

    Troy, N.Y. — The Pomeroy Fund for NYS History has awarded $50,808 in grant funding to assist history-related organizations across New York State that have been forced to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Launched in partnership between the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the Museum Association of New York, the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History is providing assistance grants that will be used to support the purchase of computer hardware or software, gain internet access or expand bandwidth, pay for utilities and secure facilities and collections. Grants range between $1,000 and $2,000. Qualifying organizations have operating budgets of $100,000 or less.

    “History organizations help to enrich our communities,” said Bill Pomeroy, Founder and Trustee of the Pomeroy Foundation. “The Pomeroy Fund for NYS History was established to provide much needed assistance during these challenging times. This was a very competitive grant program and our hope is that the funding that’s been awarded will make a meaningful difference in the time ahead.”

    “We reviewed more than 170 grant applications totaling almost $300,000 in requests,” said Erika Sanger, Executive Director for the Museum Association of New York. “This incredible response demonstrates how deeply our museums have been hit by this crisis and how much support it will take to get New York’s museums open and functioning again. We are grateful for the Pomeroy Foundation for being a leader in our state’s philanthropic community and reaching out to help history organizations in these uncertain times.”

    “As a member of the MANY Board of Directors, I am pleased that the Pomeroy Foundation stepped up and made the funds available and that MANY was able to work with them in partnership to help museums in this challenging time,” said Bruce Whitmarsh, MANY Board Member and Executive Director for the Chemung County Historical Society.

    POMEROY FUND GRANTEES (listed alphabetically)

    Anderson Falls Heritage Society

    Black Rock Historical Society

    Brentwood Historical Society

    Broome County Historical Society

    Clinton County Historical Association

    Darwin R. Barker Library and Museum Association

    Fulton County Historical Society

    Gates Historical Society

    Hasting Historical Society

    Historic Red Hook

    Historical Society of the Tonawandas, Inc.

    Historical Society of Woodstock

    Howland Stone Store Museum

    Interlaken Historical Society

    Java Historical Society

    Lodi Historical Society

    Macedon Historical Society

    Mastic Peninsula Historical Society

    Montgomery County Historical Society

    National Bottle Museum

    Nunda Historical Society

    Oswego County Historical Society

    Peekskill Museum, Inc.

    Preservation Association of the Southern Tier

    Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association

    The Warsaw Historical Society and Gates House Museum

    Town of Madison Historical Society

    Town of New Scotland Historical Association

    Town of West Bloomfield Historical Society/West Bloomfield Historical Society

    Wappingers Historical Society, Inc.

    Yaphank Historical Society

    The Pomeroy Foundation and MANY are pleased to announce plans for a second grant round. The two organizations will partner to distribute an additional $50,000 for general operating support. Details and criteria for this new round of funding will be made available in the week ahead.

    #  #  #

    About the Pomeroy Foundation

    The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005. The Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. To date, the Foundation has awarded over 1,000 roadside markers and plaques nationwide. Visit: https://www.wgpfoundation.org/

    Twitter: @wgpfoundation

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WGPFoundation

    YouTube: William G. Pomeroy Foundation

    About MANY

    The Museum Association of New York inspires, connects, and strengthens New York’s cultural community statewide by advocating, educating, collaborating, and supporting professional standards and organizational development. MANY ensures that New York State museums operate at their full potential as economic drivers and essential components of their communities. Visit https://www.nysmuseums.org

    Twitter: @nysmuseums

    Instagram: @nysmuseums

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/nysmuseums

    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/museum-association-of-new-york  

  • April 28, 2020 2:38 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    MANY: Now that we’re all working from home, and our home offices are our windows onto the world, what do you see when you look out your home office window?

    Congresswoman Maloney: The best part of my day is always looking out of my window and joining my neighbors to cheer on our essential workers. It is so beautiful to see New Yorkers come together to recognize the people on the front lines of this crisis and say thank you for their service and sacrifice. Every day, I am amazed by the resilience and strength New Yorkers continue to display and I could not ask for a better view. 


    What was the last museum you visited before Governor Cuomo's Executive PAUSE Order?

    The last museum I visited was the Museum of Jewish Heritage, one of my favorites in New York City. I toured an incredibly powerful exhibit entitled “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not Far Away” just before the House passed my Never Again Education Act. I believe witnessing articles from the Holocaust and learning of these horrors is crucial to understanding the consequences of hate and intolerance. Museums, like the Museum of Jewish Heritage, play an important role in educating the public and preserving this important history. 


    Having represented NY-12 in Congress since 1992 what legislation are you most proud of? 

    I’m proud of a lot of the legislation that I have passed over the years, but it was the honor of my life to finally secure health care and compensation for our 9/11 heroes. For over 18 years, I advocated alongside inspiring 9/11 first responders, survivors, and families to make permanent the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. These brave men and women were there for us during one of our nation’s darkest hours, and I did not rest until every single one of them could get the critical care and compensation they deserve.  

    How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you and your work as a Congressional representative?

    On March 11th, I chaired a Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing to examine our nation’s preparedness for and response to COVID-19. It was the first time the American public heard directly from medical experts like Dr. Fauci, and it was the day that everything changed. Shortly after the hearing, my staff and I began working from home to continue this important work safely. While all of my meetings are taking place virtually, I am still working hard for our nation and the great people of NY-12. Every day I am fighting to secure necessary supplies for our communities, hold the Trump Administration accountable, protect the American people, save the US Postal Service, and so much more.


    What lessons were learned in the aftermath of 9/11 that might be applicable to our current crisis as we think of the future of our state?

    Thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors have become ill and many have lost their lives from exposure to a toxic cocktail of burning chemicals present at Ground Zero. Just like our 9/11 heroes, those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis bear the physical and mental scars of their heroic work long after the immediate crisis is over, and our government must protect and support them. The nearly 20 year battle to secure proper health care and compensation, shows the importance of protecting our essential workers NOW. 

    Museums in NYS thank you for leading the effort in asking $4B in support to museums and cultural institutions in the CARES Act. What can museums do to help achieve this goal?

    Reaching out to your Member of Congress is always a great start! A healthy channel of communication is important so that your representatives in Congress know exactly what you’re dealing with and what you need, so they can be as effective as possible in shaping policy that will help you. My staff and I are always here to listen and help, and we want to hear from you.

    What information should museums share with their legislative representative to help advocate their cause? 

    The economic implications of this crisis are devastating, and smaller museums and cultural institutions in particular are very vulnerable. Your representatives know that, but they don’t see it the way you do; hearing about the human impact directly from you is deeply powerful. Please share how your employees are doing, what you need from your representatives to ensure that you can keep your employees, any adaptations you’ve made, and the difficult measures you’ve had to undertake, or are contemplating, to stay afloat. Additionally, if you apply for funding from NEH, NEA, or IMLS, please let your representative know so they can endorse your application. 


    We know from your work serving on the House Financial Services Committee and serving as Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that you have great financial expertise. Museums contribute $5.4B to New York State’s economy annually. With your financial experience and the threat to the museum field from closures due to COVID-19 why do you see this advocacy as critical to the future of New York’s economy? How do you museums fit into your overall legislative priorities? 

    There is no question that our nation and New York are strengthened by our artistic and cultural institutions.  New York is uniquely defined by its world-class arts and cultural institutions. This industry is a massive economic driver in our state – museums in New York support 61,000 jobs - in addition to being a point of pride for all New Yorkers. For New York to survive this economic crisis, we must support its museums.. I am committed to protecting the hardworking Americans whose livelihoods depend on the survival of nonprofit museums, and I will continue to fight for funding to help our state and our nation navigate this economic crisis.  

    Your career has been a series of firsts...the first woman to represent New York’s 12th Congressional District, the first woman to represent New York City’s 7th City Council district, and the first woman to Chair the Joint Economic Committee. Museums have recently been called a pink collar profession with a workplace that is close to being majority female, but with men still being paid more and holding the highest paying positions. As someone who has broken economic and social barriers in the workplace what steps would you advise women leaders in museums to take during this time to strengthen advocacy for their institutions?

    I would encourage women in leadership positions museums to conduct equity audits of salaries and benefits, make plans to correct gaps, and present this information. Diversity and gender equality within leadership not only makes moral and common sense, but also makes financial sense. Studies have shown that organizations with more women and more diversity are better positioned to succeed. Connecting disparities and the about the lack of women in leadership positions and highlighting that gender inequality does a disservice to the institution, can help address the problem. 

    If the public believes that the museum workforce is overwhelmingly female, how does that influence the public support and private funding of our museums and institutions?

    Gender bias a factor that can never be ignored, but without significant research it will not be clear whether gender bias has profoundly influenced private funding for museums and institutions. The majority of the essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis are women, and every day they demonstrate that women are necessary to the strength of our nation. I hope that after this crisis, we will continue to recognize the invaluable contributions that women make in all areas and sectors of our economy. 

    What is your hope for museums by this time next year? 

    I hope museums, and our nation, have recovered from the COVID-19 crisis by next year. The nonprofit museum community is an integral part of New York, and making sure that these museums can reopen and bring back their staff is my top priority. I am doing everything I can to help us get there and ensure that museums can continue playing an invaluable role in preserving American art, history, and culture.

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

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

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