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Dear Members of our Museum Community,

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

In this newsletter, we reviewed the 2021 NYS Regional Economic Development Consolidated Funding application and guidelines for Round XI to take a closer look at different funding opportunities for museums. This year, the state has changed the process for how the money will be distributed with funding available on a rolling basis. To be considered for the first round, applications must be submitted by July 30.

Earlier this month, the Buffalo History Museum returned the 200-year old Red Jacket Peace Medal to the Seneca Nation in a ceremony at the Onohsagwe:de’ Cultural Center. Dr. Joe Stahlman, Director of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum led the facilitation for the Seneca Nation during the repatriation process. We learned more about the repatriation process and what museums can do to strengthen relationships to create meaningful partnerships with Native Nations moving forward.

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary by sharing its collection in All Together Now, a project created to strengthen and form new collaborations between neighbor organizations while showcasing rarely seen objects from the Tang's collection.

In this month's Letter from Erika, MANY Executive Director Erika Sanger asks us not to forget our memories from the multiple national crises of the last year but ask ourselves how we can learn from our history and create professional practices to center community engagement.

Lastly, please join us for our spring virtual program, Serving New York's Collecting Institutions: The Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York on Friday, June 25 at noon to hear how DHPSNY is helping museums connect with the tools they need to care for their archival collections.

Thank you for your support,

Megan Eves

Marketing & Communications Associate


2021 NYS Regional Economic Development Council Opens Round XI Funding

Round 11 applications for New York State Regional Economic Development Council opened on May 11 with a total of $750 million in economic development funding available across New York’s ten REDC regions. The program focuses on projects that advance a region’s long-term economic development strategies, including job retention and recovery in industries disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year, the state has changed the process for how the money will be distributed. Rather than one large funding announcement in December, $150 million from Empire State Development (ESD) will be available to fund certain projects on a rolling, competitive basis.

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Repatriation and Reconciliation: The Seneca Nation, The Buffalo History Museum, and the Repatriation of the Red Jacket Peace Medal

In May 2021, nearly eight months after the Seneca Nation made a formal request, the Buffalo History Museum returned the 200-year old Red Jacket Peace Medal to the Seneca Nation in a ceremony at the Onohsagwe:de’ Cultural Center. The medal is an object of cultural patrimony and a symbol of peace, friendship, and enduring relationships among the United States and the Six Nations. The petition for return was made by the Seneca Nation under the aegis of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). NAGPRA was passed in 1990 to provide a process for museums and federal agencies to return items such as human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and more to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Native Americans.

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The Tang Teaching Museum's All Together Now

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary by sharing its collection with six other institutions in Saratoga and Warren Counties. All Together Now, organized by Dayton Director Ian Berry and Independent Curator Lisa Kolosek, is a regional collections sharing project created to strengthen and form new collaborations between neighbor arts organizations while showcasing rarely seen objects from the Tang Museum. Each partner organization will exhibit a selection of work from the Tang Collection and partner organizations will offer special public viewing hours during the course of the exhibitions.

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Map of 2021 State of NYS Museums Respondents

Letter from Erika:

Creating New Collective Memories

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

Many of my childhood memories were formed in New York City’s museums, zoos, and gardens. In those places I came to know the world outside of my constructed environment - about things that grow in fertile soil, not between cracks in concrete; places where fish swim in rivers unbounded by sea walls; creativity beyond paint on canvas; and how people live close to earth, not in boxes twenty stories above the ground.

Some of you know that I have a taxidermy fixation. I consider and reconsider why people choose to live with dead animals and how museums use taxidermy as interpretive vehicles. I admire the skills and imagination of great taxidermists and the juxtapositions created in museum installations. This pursuit has led me to museums I may never have visited aside from their taxidermy collections. I carry a map in my mind of The American Museum of Natural History whose dioramas can still ignite my sense of wonder about the variety of life on earth.

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Museum Opportunities

$15 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Grants Now Available for Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced a new funding opportunity for museums, libraries, and Native American and Native Hawaiian communities. The $15 million federal investment will provide direct support to address community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and in assisting with recovery.

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NYSCA/GHHN Conservation Treatment Grant Program Applications Due 9/1

The NYSCA/GHHN Conservation Treatment Grant Program is a partnership of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and GHHN that provides support for treatment procedures to aid in stabilizing and preserving objects held in collections of museums, historical, and cultural organizations in New York State. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has provided additional dedicated support for conservation treatment projects in Nassau & Suffolk counties and New York City. The work must be performed by, or under direct supervision of, a professional conservator.

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NYSCA Museum Program: The Resilience Playbook

The Resilience Playbook offers a 7-month series of synchronous and asynchronous learning sessions for a cohort of 8 New York State museums. Live sessions will be held monthly for seven months. Each museum will commit 2 staff/board members to work with the Resilience Team: Anne W. Ackerson, Gail Anderson, and Dina A. Bailey to explore strategies and guiding principles of five primary goals relating to diversity, equity and inclusion; community value and impactful role; retooling financial strategies and building agile leadership. Using The Playbook’s rubric, participants will engage in organizational self-assessment, readings, discussion, and group problem solving, culminating in a plan of action specific to each museum.

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Free Online Series Hosted by the Connecticut League of History Organizations this June

The Connecticut League of History Organizations is presenting a series of free online lectures, Keynotes of Change. This series will spotlight four different areas of underrepresented history (Indigenous, Latino, African-American, and LGBTQ) with expert speakers from across the Northeast and beyond. 

June 2– Indigenizing Historical Narratives (Chris Newell, Abbe Museum)

June 9– Latinos: The Not so New Kids on the Block (Juan David Coronado, Central Connecticut State University)

June 16– Northern Slavery and the Preservation of Memory (Kyera Singleton, Royall House and Slave Quarters)

June 23– Interrogating the Silence: Sharing the LGBTQ Past with Visitors (Susan Ferentinos, author of Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites)

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Museum Learning Hub: Managing Digitization Projects

Many museums, archives, and cultural institutions already have or are working towards creating digital collections. This module provides the tools, resources, best practices, and descriptive standards needed for building a robust digital collection program. It will also provide instruction on structuring digital collection projects correctly, covering common decision points in digital project planning, project implementation, and long-term maintenance of digitized records. 

All webinars are free.

Session 1: Get Inspired!

June 8 at 2pm

Technical Workshop 1: Digitization: Strategy and Purpose

June 15 at 2pm

Technical Workshop 2: How to Build a Digitization Project

June 22 at 2pm 

Tech Workshop 3: Imaging Standards and Logistics in Digitization Projects

June 29 at 2pm

Read more

Documentary Heritage & Preservations Services for New York is now accepting applications for 4 Planning & Assessment Services

Documentary Heritage & Preservations Services for New York (DHPSNY) is currently accepting applications for four Planning & Assessment Services, designed to support New York organizations in improving and advancing program efforts while forming strategies for future growth and development:

Archival Needs Assessments: an excellent way to examine your archival program holistically through an external lens.

Preservation Surveys: a general evaluation of your institution's preservation needs, pinpointing areas of concern and recommendations for improvement.

Strategic Planning Assistance: helps organizations think proactively about their future and shape a three-year plan to serve as a road map for future decision-making under a trained facilitator.

Condition Surveys: a valuable tool for institutions that have received a Preservation Survey (through DHPSNY or another program) and are looking to evaluate the conditions of collection materials on a more granular level.

Visit to learn more about each DHPSNY service and determine which is right for your organization's needs.

If you're unsure which service to apply for or whether your institution is ready, DHPSNY staff is available to answer your questions at or 215-545-0613 ext. 338.

Summer 2021 Application Deadline: Friday, July 16

Museums in the News

May 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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