Dear Members of our Museum Community,
Welcome to our July edition of "This Month in NYS Museums." This July is the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act. To mark this historic event, Tabitha Jacques, Director for the Dyer Arts Center at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, shared important insights on how museums can accommodate people with disabilities as part of their reopening strategies.
We also spoke with Stuart Lillie, Vice President of Public History at Fort Ticonderoga about their recent NEH grant and how they've increased their digital capacity to share their collection and programs to a national and international audience.
In this newsletter, we also reflect on the Smithsonian's Traveling Exhibition Water/Ways as it concludes its 800 mile journey across the state at the East Hampton Historical Society.
Our latest "Letter from Erika" illustrates the CARES Act funding distribution to New York's museums to date. To ensure that museums receive further support, each of us need to make our voices heard to our state and federal representatives to include museums in the next round of relief funding.
Lastly, we need your help to determine how New York's museums compare to those who responded to American Alliance of Museums national COVID-19 Impact Survey. Please take two minutes to answer this New York-specific survey.
With thanks for your support,
Marketing & Communications Associate
Accommodating People with Disabilities as Part of Reopening Strategies
Museums have changed their visitor expectations to reopen safely under NYS guidelines. Under these new guidelines, it is even more important to include access and resources for people with disabilities to reopen as inclusive as possible. July marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In commemoration of this important anniversary we are grateful to Tabitha Jacques, Director for the Dyer Arts Center at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf who shared important insight on how museums can accommodate people with disabilities as part of their reopening strategies
From Fort to Screen: Ticonderoga's Virtual Public Programming
Under a new strategic plan implemented in 2019, Fort Ticonderoga began to increase access to its collections by expanding its digital impact. The goal was to grow their digital footprint to reach a broader audience across New York State as well as on a national and international level. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Fort Ticonderoga to postpone its opening for the 2020 season, staff took the opportunity to shift time and resources from its front-line on-site experiences and invest heavily in developing online program content. Fort Ticonderoga was awarded $285,358 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES Act to expand its virtual public programming to engage a broad, multi-generational audience. The grant also supported staff positions and allowed the museum to sustain and develop educational programs to serve their audiences as well as reach new audiences.
At the end June 2019, MANY staff traveled to the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse along with a dozen museum staff and volunteers from around the state to kick off their participation in the NYS Tour of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Program Traveling Exhibition Water/Ways. Carol Harsh, the Director of the Museum on Main Street Program joined us for the introductory training. Our goal was to help the Erie Canal Museum uncrate and install the Water/Ways exhibition for its New York State debut, the first time New York State has participated in the 25-year history of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program. As the exhibition ends its tour at the East Hampton Historical Society on Long Island, we reflect on its journey across the state.
Letter from Erika: Slouching Towards Recovery
Dear Members of the MANY Museum Community,
We are fortunate that New York State is represented in the US Congress by members of the House of Representatives and Senate whose steadfast support of our museum sector has historically helped sustain our federal funding agencies. New York Congressional Representatives were also instrumental in passing the CARES Act, which included provisions that helped many of us through this worldwide health crisis caused by COVID-19.
The charts below detail how federal funds included in the CARES Act have been distributed in New York.
Guest Post: Accessible Audio Tours-For Some or For All?
The year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
It’s a historic year, and a good time for museums and other cultural venues to refocus efforts on meeting the legal, moral, and curatorial challenges of providing access and inclusion for all people, especially people with vision loss. One important tool is the accessible audio tour – to use in your museum or on your website. We’re going to explore that in a little depth here and review the accessible tour vs. the inclusive accessible tour.
MANY Board of Directors Consulting Program
“We are revising our strategic plan and I’m looking for some guidance about next steps for my museum, can you point me in the direction of someone who can help?”
“I’d like to start a museum, where do I begin?”
“Before my museum begins a campaign to raise money for restoration and preservation funding, I’d like to speak with a museum person who has successfully completed a similar project, can you suggest someone?"
In response to questions from NY museum professionals like the above, and many others about adaptations needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MANY’s board of directors have pledged their time and expertise to help our organizational members.
MANY Board Members are offering their expertise in Executive Administration, Communications, Facilities, Fundraising, Programming, Exhibitions, Interpretation, and Collections Care.
Museums can select a MANY board member to work with them for one day (8 hours) either at their museum or remotely on a project. Board members with relevant expertise will carefully consider your museum’s project and offer you current and informed views on museum management with a valuable experience that will help you advance your organization while supporting MANY member services.
MANY staff will work with the board member and the museum to keep expenses affordable for the museum. Requests will be made through MANY staff and board members will consider requests based on availability and matching skills.
Get Yours—Attractive Nuisance* Button
We took this legal term Governor Cuomo used to designate the phase in which museums should open and made it our own with a humorous tilt. We thank our Governor who is working hard to keep us all safe. We know museums are so much more than “attractive nuisances.”
Museums in the News