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Letter from Erika: History will Read Us Loud and Clear

December 21, 2020 1:44 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

Dear MANY members, friends, and colleagues,

As we prepare to put behind us a year that changed our lives, I am filled with gratitude for our museum community. Your calls, emails, notes in chat boxes, and social media comments gave us the hope and energy to face an unknowable future together with resolve and resilience. 

We will need to find ways to sustain ourselves in the face of insufficient federal aid. I believe our strength as a field lies in our ability to remain creative, flexible, and adaptive. When we finally reach the other side of the pandemic, the need to advance equitable staffing practices, generate sufficient funding, and improve digital communications will still exist. In the face of so much loss, it may be hard to reflect upon and change the ways we add to our collections, develop our programs, and serve our communities, but success will come through rebuilding to fit new circumstances. 

An article by James West Davidson in the July 9 Atlantic Monthly imagined the chapter in a future history textbook about the year 2020. A single chapter will never hold all this year has brought. Future authors and curators will dedicate entire books and exhibitions to this year. 2020 will become a signifier in the same way we understand 1492,1609,1776, and 1861. 2020 will be a symbol, a sound, and an image. It will take the distance of time to distill all of its meanings and learnings. 

It falls to us to do the work to help future generations hear us loud and clear. Those of us who have lived through this year won’t be able to step back far enough to see the long term effects of 2020. But we can gather the evidence, collect the data, and share the incalculable loss to help future museum colleagues make sense of this year and ensure our museums continue to be integral and essential community partners.

Look for a survey of NY Museums in the first quarter of 2021 so we can continue to hear you loud and clear. We need your support now so that MANY can be there to serve you as a vital resource, an ally, and an advocate. Every dollar helps. Click here to donate today and let us know how MANY can help you.  


With gratitude and best wishes for the new year,

Erika Sanger

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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