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NYS Museums receive $1.4M in ARP IMLS Funding

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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

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

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