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About the Museum Association of New York

Our History

First organized in 1960 and chartered by the NYS Education Department in 1962, the Museum Association of New York (MANY) as it exists today is the result of a 2013-2014 merger with the Upstate History Alliance (UHA). The UHA began its life as a member of the Field Service Alliance (FSA), a nationwide organization, and operated under the name of the Regional Council of Historical Societies, and the Federation of Historical Services. This merger successfully created the only statewide museum service organization with more than 700 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums.

Our Mission

MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. MANY serves over 1,400 museums across New York State including museum studies professors and students, libraries and archives, and museum industry partners. 

MANY's members represent the full range of museum sizes, missions, disciplines, and geographic locations. At the end of 2023, MANY had 733 members with 1,063 staff bundled to their organizations’ accounts. Group memberships created in the past two years with the Historic House Trust of New York City and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation provide access to MANY resources and discounts for hundreds of museum professionals employed by New York City and the State.

Service to the Field

Our annual conference serves 300 to 400 people and is hosted in a different region to ensure we are serving the entire state. MANY offers direct technical services and training, publishes a monthly e-newsletter, shares original content on social media platforms, hosts a job board, works with funders to distribute grants, produces an annual conference, and offers professional development workshops including The Museum Institute at Great Camp Sagamore, a leadership retreat that promotes professional and personal growth.

From 2018 to 2023, MANY produced 71 in-person programs attended by 3,195 people. At the start of the pandemic, we decided to offer our live virtual programming free of charge to remove cost barriers and promote access to the important information being shared. Since March 2020, over 8,500 people from more than 800 organizations in 48 states have participated in at least one of 70 virtual programs. MANY offers as many as 20 live virtual programs each year free of charge and includes closed captioning and ASL interpretation.

MANY is the designated partner for the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program, circulating Smithsonian-created exhibitions across New York State. From June 2019 to April 2020, MANY was the statewide organizer for Water/Ways, the first time New York State participated in the MoMS program. Six museums were selected to host the exhibition and MANY staff worked with twelve museum professionals to develop complementary exhibitions reaching 25,000 people, a 78% increase in attendance with 50% of visitors identified as from “out of town.” From March 2024 to January 2026, MANY will travel the exhibition “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America” to 12 museums in 9 REDC regions, help the museums promote the exhibition widely, and produce an interactive website, a local history exhibition, and public programs.

In 2020, MANY received an Institute of Museum and Library Services CARES Act grant for “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility,” which supported the work of 98 museums and 203 staff with 3,580 hours of training to help them reach audiences virtually. Between January 2021 and July 2022, MANY staff and consulting experts conducted 24 site visits, delivered 62 virtual trainings, and led 29 in-person workshops across the state. 97% of participants reported building new digital skills and 90% of partner museums have applied their technology and learning to additional programs and projects.

In 2022, MANY partnered with Museum Hue, a nationally recognized organization that works to paint a larger portrait of the arts and culture field by providing greater support and recognition for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color throughout museums and other cultural entities across the United States, to produce “Museums Support Democracy”, a seven-part webinar series funded with $49,884 from NEH’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant program presented and discussed by museum professionals from a broad range of locations and disciplines featuring the work of culturally responsive museums. 869 people attended from 48 states/territories (including D.C., Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) and eight countries.

In 2023, the Special Collections Library of the State University at Albany acquired MANY’s organizational archives so that future generations can learn from MANY's history.

2023 in Review


At the end of 2023, MANY had 732 members from every REDC region and more than 1,600 bundle members. New York's Capital Region and New York City are tied for the highest percentage of MANY organizational members at 16% each, an increase of 2% from 2022.


In 2023, MANY’s social media grew to 26,317 followers across three platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn –an increase of 63% since the end of 2020. MANY stopped posting to X (formerly known as Twitter on November 22, 2022. On this date, MANY had 3,478 Twitter followers and ended 2022 with 25,812 followers across four social media platforms. A year later, MANY’s social media has surpassed 2022’s social media follower accounts over three social media platforms. 1,432 people received MANY’s newsletter This Month in NYS Museums which had an average open rate of 52% (an 11% increase since 2019) and an average click rate of 9%.


In February 2023, we returned to Washington, DC with 24 New York State museum professionals advocated on behalf of NYS museums for the American Alliance of Museums’ Museums Advocacy Day asking Congress to provide $55.5 million in FY 2024 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services Office of Museum Services (the same funding in FY 2023) and to oppose the $3.25 million in cuts recommended by the Senate Appropriations Committee. We asked Congress to provide at least $207 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and to provided at least $207 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The Museum Study Act S.8934 (Cooney)/A.9710 (Barrett) was passed in the New York State Assembly and Senate almost unanimously. The 2023/24 New York State Budget included $1M in funding support. The proposed study will identify and gather data about all museums in the state including information on size, hours of operation, visitor statistics, funding sources and amounts, and the subjects of their collections. It will help communities, legislative representatives, and individual supporters learn about the missions, audiences, and funding needs of our state's 1400+ museums.


The 2023 annual conference was held in Syracuse NY April 15 - 19 and was attended by 438 museum professionals, industry partners, and students. Programs were held at the Everson Museum of Art, the Erie Canal Museum, the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (the MOST), the Oneida Community Mansion House, and the Syracuse Marriott Downtown.


From July to December 2023, 1,815 people from more than 800 organizations attended 15 webinars from 45 states (including DC) and 17 countries (outside the US). Webinars had an average 60% attendance rate, a 13% increase from Fall 2022 webinars, and an average attendance time of 67 minutes, a 5-minute increase from 2022. 88% said that the program was Excellent or Very Good. 95% Strongly Agreed or Agreed that the speaker(s) were engaging and knowledgeable. 87% said that there was an idea that they heard in a program that they plan on sharing with colleagues.


MANY staff traveled 3,000 miles across New York State to deliver 10 in-person discussion and meet-ups centered around preparing for the post-pandemic museum based on the collection of essays: “Change is Required: Preparing for the Post-Pandemic Museum.” 250 museum professionals attended from more than 200 organizations. Roundtable discussions were made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


In September, 2023, 25 mid-career museum professionals gathered at Great Camp Sagamore for the Museum Institute and learned practical skills including how to prepare for and implement institutional changes and the differences between planning, strategy, and governance. Thank you to our 2023 Museum Institute leaders Sheila McDaniel, Dan Yaegar, Chloe Hayward, and Ilk Yasha.


In the latest round of grant funding for humanities projects, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded MANY $499,988 to support “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy,” produced in partnership with Humanities New York. The humanities discussion series will use the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street exhibition “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America” as a launching point to support the work of twelve museums and their communities to explore, reflect on, and tell the story of their role in the evolution of American Democracy and envision the future of our nation. This project is also supported by a major grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and a MarketNY promotional partnership. Click here to learn more.


116 New York State museums responded to this survey (data fielded from August 1 - 18) from all ten REDC regions, with representation from museums of multiple disciplines and budget sizes. MANY compared this data to the American Alliance of Museum’s 2023 National Snapshot of United States Museums, fielded in March and April 2023 by Wilkening Consulting with 340 museum responses. While NYS museums are trending at the same rate as nationally reported data in some areas, in other areas they are lagging behind. Click here to read the report. Members only resource

Download the 2023 Annual Report.

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. 

265 River Street
Troy, NY 12180 USA

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