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Letter from Erika: Creating Community

October 31, 2019 9:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


Wayne Higby,Director and Chief Curator, Alfred Ceramic Art Museum; Brian Whisenhunt, Executive Director Rockwell Museum of American Art and MANY Board Member; Erika Sanger, and Susan Kowalczyk, Curator of Collections and Director of Research, Alfred Ceramic Museum

Wayne Higby,Director and Chief Curator, Alfred Ceramic Art Museum; Brian Whisenhunt, Executive Director Rockwell Museum of American Art and MANY Board Member;  Erika Sanger, and Susan Kowalczyk, Curator of Collections and Director of Research, Alfred Ceramic Museum

Dear Members of our Museum Community,

I have found that inspiration can come from bewildering sources and energy can flow from unpredictable places. Then there are the sure things--places I can go and people I can turn to when the edges of my thoughts get fuzzy and I can’t quite figure out the next best step in a process. Museums, gardens, and places where water meets land have been my touchstones and my mentors have been generous. 

One of things that surprised me most when I began my work at MANY was the energy created when a group of people who share a commitment to our communities’ access to our history, heritage, and culture come together. At our Meet-Ups and Workshops this fall I felt rooms buzz with conversation, heard laughter echoing off walls, and felt warm greetings from colleagues. 

I’ve been traveling quite a bit this season and you might have seen me arrive somewhere a bit road weary. But a quiet walk through a gallery or an historic site, a cup of coffee, and an inspiring conversation later, the fatigue has worn off and I actually may find it hard to fall asleep later that night, my brain filled with overflowing thoughts. 

By the time we reach the last MANY Workshop and Meet–Up at Dia Beacon on November 13, we will have spent time with more than 400 colleagues in twelve different places. I know we are making a difference in the lives of museum professionals by creating a community that enjoys coming together, sharing knowledge, and supporting each other’s work, not just by the buzz and the energy, but through incredibly affirming notes we received from colleagues this fall:


Thank you for renewing my spirit here!  It was a great event and the meet and greet, also awesome. The most connected I have felt, in a long time.


This Meet-Up was another great opportunity to promote unity within the local museum field, thanks to MANY.


Really enjoyed meeting the folks -- and it seems we all have the same obstacles -- but it helps to talk about it.


Our 2020 annual conference The Power of Partnership will be in Albany March 29-31 with exciting tours, workshops, and a special pre-conference Folk Art Forum on March 28. Proposals are flowing in and it is going to be an amazing lineup of sessions. I hope you can join us. We need your support to continue to offer these opportunities in every region in our state. Our annual appeal letter will be coming your way soon. If you attended a program this fall, used our job board to help you hire staff, or accessed resources on our website, you know how MANY is making a difference and helping our museum community succeed. You can also donate now through our website and save a stamp! 


With thanks for your energy and your inspiration,



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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