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  • February 2021

Dear Members of our Museum Community,

Welcome to our February edition of "This Month in NYS Museums!"

I write this introduction as we participate in the American Alliance of Museums Advocacy Day. MANY is proud to sponsor this event as advocates from across the country join 400 virtual meetings with Congressional offices. Thank you to the 70+ NYS delegates who joined us this year!

In this newsletter, Historic Cherry Hill Executive Director Deborah Emmons-Andarwis shares details about their decade-long restoration and how staff is using an NEH CARES Act grant to digitize and interpret more inclusive stories of underrepresented narratives.

We also spoke with former Senior Creative Director for the Corning Museum of Glass Rob Cassetti about his experience on the popular Netflix series Blown Away including the show's success at connecting people to the world of glass blowing. 

Aaron Bouska, Vice President for Government & Community Relations at The New York Botanical Garden and Secretary for the Coalition of Living Museums, asks us to help support for zoos, botanical gardens, and aquaria by restoring the $16M in the NYS budget.

Since last March, many museums have presented virtual programming. Fort Ticonderoga's Miranda Peters, VP of Collections & Digital Productions, shares some practical tips and lessons learned from creating their own programs for an online audience.

As we look to the future of museums, this month's Letter from Erika reminds us that museums need to bring more voices to the planning table and find ways to sustainably diversify staff and audiences. 

Lastly, we are excited to announce a fourth round of the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History to provide $50,000 in grants to assist history-related organizations with capital expenses. 

Thank you for your support,

Megan Eves

Marketing & Communications Associate


Restoration, Digitization, Re-interpretation at Historic Cherry Hill

Located on Albany’s South Pearl Street, Historic Cherry Hill is a 1787 wood-frame structure that was home to five generations of the Van Rensselaer family. Its last resident, Emily Rankin, bequeathed her house and its thousands of artifacts and documents that spanned three centuries to “the people of New York State.” The house opened as a museum in 1964, a year after her death. For the past twelve years the site has undergone an extensive $2 million restoration to preserve the historical structure and is now undertaking a NEH CARES Act grant funded project to digitize and interpret more inclusive stories of underrepresented narratives and perspectives. 

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Are You Still Watching? Corning Museum of Glass and Netflix's Blown Away

The Corning Museum of Glass has been part of a globally popular Netflix series, Blown Away for two seasons. For former Senior Creative Director Rob Cassetti, the show’s popularity is not a surprise. Cassetti originally pitched a live glass blowing demonstration as part of the museum’s public programming thirty years ago and it quickly grew to be one of the museum's most popular experiences. Now the Corning Museum of Glass is part of a prominent glass blowing competition series that features expert glassmakers from the museum. The grand prize package includes a residency in the museum’s Amphitheater Hot Shop. For Cassetti, the show is a culmination of innovative public programming in his career and his efforts to connect people to the world of glass blowing at Corning.

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Restore Funding to Zoos and Botanical Gardens

Aaron Bouska, Vice President for Government & Community Relations at The New York Botanical Garden and Secretary Coalition of Living Museums

From the Buffalo Zoo to the Old Westbury Gardens and everywhere in between, the Zoos, Botanical Gardens, and Aquaria (ZBGA) line of New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) directly supports essential staff caring for living collections of 95 zoos, botanical gardens, nature centers and aquaria in every corner of NY State. Now in its forty-third year, the ZBGA program is unique to the Empire State and thanks to the State Assembly and Senate, the program has thrived and the benefits to New York residents have multiplied. 

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Letter from Erika:

Growing Toward the Future Stronger

Dear MANY Members, Supporters, and Colleagues,

I’ve had an awful case of cabin fever for a couple of weeks and I know I’m not alone. The past year has left those of us who have dedicated their work to the museum field tired, isolated, and grieving. 500,000 Americans have died, an estimated 30% of New York’s museum professionals lost their jobs, and our physical and mental health has deteriorated. The vaccine is the hope on the horizon, but I am concerned that in our haste to recover financially, we will lose the opportunity to make the changes necessary to reach our audiences with relevant content whether they are on site or in their living rooms, to deepen our role as essential community partners, and to develop a workforce that reflects all New Yorkers. 

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From Fort to Screen

Miranda Peters, VP for Collections & Digital Production, Fort Ticonderoga

Like museums across the country, Fort Ticonderoga prioritized virtual engagement over the past year to remain connected with our stakeholders and audiences throughout the pandemic. Over this time, we launched and expanded the Center for Digital History, and tackled numerous practical, technical, and methodological challenges along the way. Recently, Fort Ticonderoga Museum staff discussed their practical tips and lessons learned creating programs for an online audience, developing a virtual studio, sharing videos on social media, and engaging with educators in a webinar. 

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Member News

DHPSNY Program Approved for Five More Years: Supports and Services to Remain Available to NYS Institutions through 2025

Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY), a joint program of the New York State Archives and the New York State Library, has secured a five-year contract to continue to deliver support and services to New York State’s cultural collecting institutions. With the program’s extension, over 5,000 organizations that safeguard New York’s historical records are eligible to apply for collections-related assistance and participate in education and training programs, free of cost, through 2025.

“The State Archives and State Library are excited to continue to provide support services, assessment services, and training through our DHPSNY program, ensuring that repositories across the state continue to have access to the tools they need to preserve and make available the essential materials that tell the story of New York and its people,” said State Archivist Tom Ruller.

State Librarian Lauren Moore also emphasized the importance of the program’s extension, adding that it builds on the State’s track record of supporting cultural organizations, “I am pleased that we can continue to offer valued statewide services to our library and archives communities. New York State has always been a national leader in providing preservation services and grants to our cultural communities and their stewards.”

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2020 Technical Assistance Grant Awards Announced and New Funding Available

The Preservation League of New York State and their program partners at the New York State Council on the Arts, Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area are thrilled to announce the recipients of their 2020 Technical Assistance Grants. During this grant cycle, 26 projects representing 18 counties across the state have been selected by an independent panel of preservation professionals. A total of $96,644 was awarded.

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Museums in the News

February 2021 Newsletter Sponsors

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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