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Dear Members of our Museum Community,

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

In this newsletter, Museum of the City of NY's Deputy Director and Chief Curator Sarah Henry shared the process for the museum's open call for objects in its New York Responds exhibition to document and interpret the pandemic and uprising for racial justice. 

For the past six seasons, Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Site have donated more than 6,000 pounds of fresh produce to their local community. We spoke with Executive Director and Horticulturalist David Hutchings about their mission-driven community partnership.

In our advocacy update, Representative Paul Tonko (NY-20) is circulating a letter in the House of Representatives in support of robust funding in 2022 for the Office of Museum Services at the IMLS. Please help us secure more signatures from NY's Congressional Representatives.  

In this month's Letter from Erika, MANY Executive Director Erika Sanger writes how we need to find a better way to make museums and the work of museum professionals comparable and comprehensible so we may better articulate how museums are essential to our communities. 

We are excited to announce that our 2020 State of NYS Museums Survey is now open. Please share your data to help us create an accurate picture of New York's museums in 2020. 

We hope you will join us this spring and summer for our virtual programs. Learn more and register here.

Lastly, please join us for our virtual Annual Meeting on Friday, April 16 and submit your questions for the MANY Board.

Thank you for your support,

Megan Eves

Marketing & Communications Associate


Crowdsourcing an Exhibition: Museum of the City of NY's New York Responds

There is a frying pan that is slightly dented from the nightly 7 o’clock clapping sessions to thank the health care workers in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. The frying pan was one of the first objects included in the Museum of the City of NY’s New York Responds exhibition. More than 20,000 objects, photographs, artworks, and stories were submitted through the Museum’s open call for items that help to reflect on the changes and challenges of life in New York City from March through August 2020. These items document and interpret the COVID pandemic, the uprising for racial justice, and how New Yorkers fought to cope, survive, and build a better future.

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Food and Community: Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Site

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park is a 50-acre site overlooking Canandaigua Lake that features gardens, a historic mansion, and a greenhouse complex. Sonnenberg’s Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1887 and is the former summer home of Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson. Mary Clark Thompson’s utility garden produced food that was donated to the Ontario County Orphanage and Thompson Hospital for decades. In the past six seasons, Sonnenberg has donated over 6,000 pounds of fresh produce to the local community.

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Advocacy Update

MANY thanks Senate Majority Leader Schumer for including museums in the Shuttered Venue Operating Grants and non-profits in the March 2020 CARES Act, the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ARPA included additional funding for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) which now totals over $16B in funds available. It also added $7.25B for the PPP program and extended the application deadline to May 31. The SBA will begin accepting SVOG Applications on April 8. Eligible museums may apply for the PPP prior to applying for an SVOG as they await the application. The SBA would then reduce any SVO grant award by the PPP amount received.

The ARPA also included $135M each for the NEA and the NEH; application portal will open in late April. Humanities NY and NYSCA will soon announce how they will distribute those funds allocated to them for regrants. $178M of the $200M allocated to the IMLS was directly distributed to State Libraries. The NY State Library received $6.2M; they also received $1.7M in CARES Act funding. We await guidelines on distribution of remaining funds and are monitoring the IMLS website. 

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Student Installation, Teacher's College, Columbia University, April 8, 2017

Letter from Erika:

Our Incomparable Museums

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

At an exhibition opening almost twenty years ago, I was chatting with a group of people when a woman I didn’t know asked me what I did all day while my husband was at work. When I replied that I was the director of education at the museum; her face broke into a big smile and she said that it sounded like I had the best job because I got to spend my days making art with children. I smiled back and agreed that was part of the job, unsure of how to make the real answer comprehensible. Her comment was a familiar disconnect between what many people think museum professionals do and what our jobs actually encompass.

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Member News

Humanities NY Action Grants Applications Due 4/1

The Action Grant application is now open! Action Grants offer up to $5,000 to implement humanities projects that encourage public audiences to reflect on their values, explore new ideas, and engage with others in their community. Proposals related to women's history and rights are welcome. The deadline is April 1st for projects starting July 1st, 2021, and later.

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Coby Foundation Revises Guidelines for 2021 to Allow Expenses for Project-Related Salaries

The Coby Foundation, the nation’s only source of grants restricted to projects in fashion and textiles, has announced a special initiative for 2021. In recognition of the financial challenges museums and galleries are facing, the Foundation is encouraging applications for exhibition planning and implementation in its field that include a percentage of salary support for full- and part-time curatorial and collections staff who are engaged in the project.

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2021-2022 NYS Archives DHP Grant Guidelines and Application now available

The New York State Archives is pleased to announce its Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) grants for 2021-2022.

New in 2021-2022, DHP will fund projects that improve access to historical records including but not limited to digitization, conversion of descriptive tools for online access, community archiving, documentation planning, and arrangement & description.

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World Awareness Children's Museum Documents Pandemic Through Students' Eyes

World Awareness Children’s Museum announces its partnership with ten schools and districts for a project titled “COVID-19 & Me: Changes in My World,” to document the pandemic through student-made art. 

The goal of this project is to document the pandemic through children’s eyes. Participating students will create and display art that allows them to reflect on and process their experiences with the changes the COVID-19 pandemic has made in their lives. The project will culminate in virtual and physical art exhibits, featuring new artworks created by students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade. 

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Award-Winning Author Annette Gordon-Reed to Receive Empire State Archives and History Award

The New York State Archives Partnership Trust will award Annette Gordon-Reed, an award-winning author and history professor, the 2021 Empire State Archives and History Award on Tuesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cultural Education Center in Albany, New York. Harvard History Professor Gordon-Reed is known for her research on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, and her Pulitzer Prize winning biography, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

The public is invited to hear Annette Gordon-Reed speak about her distinguished career as an author, historian and professor with prominent Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 518-486-9349 or online at The program will be held at the Cultural Education Center located at 222 Madison Avenue, Albany, New York.

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Paleontological Research Institution Announces New Exhibit: Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) is excited to announce the opening of the Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology exhibit, The exhibit has two components, a temporary exhibit at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca until Fall 2021, as well as an online version that can be accessed anywhere in the world. The physical and online exhibit opened to the public on Saturday, March 27. 

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Museums in the News

March 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. 

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