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Dear Members of our Museum Community,

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

In this newsletter, we spoke with Dr. Sarah Litvin, the Director of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History about how several history museums and historic sites came together to form the History Alliance of Kingston in order to share local history and resources with each other and their community.

When the Fenton History Center realized that they had gaps in their LGBTQ+ collection, the Center committed to building a community archive and started by crowdsourcing objects to include in their Protest and Pride: The LGBTQ+ Community in Chautauqua County exhibition.

In this month's Letter from Erika, MANY Executive Director Erika Sanger shares some top line data from the State of NYS Museums survey with some optimism in our initial findings.

On May 7, Rob Fields, Former President & Executive Director of Weeksville Heritage Center will share how he spearheaded a crowdsourcing campaign that raised over $700,000 to help save Weeksville.

On May 14, Hannah Fox, the Director of Projects and Programmes for Derby Museums in the UK will join us from the new Museum of Making at the Derby Silk Mill, opening May 21. Hannah will share the journey they've been on to embed co-production and human-centered design methodologies into a major museum renovation. Click here to learn more and to register for all of our upcoming virtual programs. 

Lastly, incase you missed it, we are pleased to present our 2020 Annual Report

Thank you for your support,

Megan Eves

Marketing & Communications Associate


The History Alliance of Kingston

Shortly after New York’s cultural organizations closed to the public due to the pandemic, Dr. Sarah Litvin, the Director of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, reached out to Sarah Wassberg Johnson at the Hudson River Maritime Museum to discuss how local museums might help each other promote digital programs and resources or even create new digital projects. Several history museums and historic sites in the Kingston area came together to form the History Alliance of Kingston, a collaborative group that shares local history through events and activities that reflect and promote a deeper understanding of the diverse social and cultural history of the Hudson Valley.

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Building a Community Exhibition and Archive: The Fenton History Center

Upon receiving a request for historical LGBTQ+ artifacts from a local Pride group, the Fenton History Center discovered that they did not have much in their collection. The Center then committed to build a community archive by crowdsourcing materials for the exhibition Protest and Pride: The LGBTQ+ Community in Chautauqua County. The exhibition, which opened on March 31, 2021, features stories and artifacts that document the lives of the LGBTQ+ community in Chautauqua County.

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Map of 2021 State of NYS Museums Respondents

Letter from Erika:

The Big Picture

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

When I looked out my window this morning, I saw maple leaves unfurling, sunlight on the river, and men fishing from small boats floating south on the falling tide. After living with uncertainty for so long, I have stopped trying to see beyond what is in front me while keeping the pursuit of a more inclusive, sustainable museum sector tied to my optimism for our future. 

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2020 Annual Report

In a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, our days were filled with adversity, tragedy, and grief. The existential crises we faced, the struggle for social justice, and challenges to our democracy commanded our attention. Through it all, the creativity and determination of our colleagues gave us strength and hope. Your continuing support and engagement helped us ensure that that our network not only remained strong but grew beyond the physical boundaries of our state and our nation. Our members, industry partners, legislative allies, federal and state funding agencies, and private foundations stepped up to help museums cope with the challenge of how to remain financially viable and reach audiences when the doors of our buildings were forced to close. 

On the pages of this report, you will see how, with your help, MANY faced and surmounted the difficulties of working at the intersection of multiple challenges. 

We remain grateful for your support and partnership and are eager to explore the ways we can work together to build a stronger, more sustainable, and relevant museum community – a community where everyone’s voices are held up together.

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Member News

Historic Huguenot Street Awarded $349,999 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to Digitize Archival Collections

Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is proud to announce the museum and historic site has been awarded a $349,999 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Humanities Collections and References Resources program to preserve and digitize significant historical documents from its own archival collections, as well as portions from the Town of New Paltz, the Reformed Church of New Paltz, and the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at Elting Memorial Library. The project encompasses thousands of early-American documents ranging from the mid-1600s to 1830.

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Roberson Museum and Science Center Exhibition Haudenosaunee: People of the Longhouse features culture and history of Six Nations

Roberson Museum and Science Center is pleased to announce the re-opening of Haudenosaunee: People of the Longhouse on April 30. This exhibition has been reworked in collaboration with experts, faithkeepers, and staff members to display the history and culture of The People of the Longhouse.

“It is Roberson’s honor and privilege to highlight the Haudenosaunee Nation; a culture that continues to thrive in our region,” said Michael Grasso, Executive Director. “Roberson Museum is built adjacent to a significant pre-colonial archaeological site and we have a duty to educate the community about this vibrant history and begin acknowledging the past and the land we occupy.”

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Museum Chartering 101: Mergers, Consolidations, and Dissolutions with Lauren Lyons, Chartering Coordinator, New York State Museum

DHPSNY Webinar: Thursday, May 20 at 1 PM

In order to combine resources or services, museums or historical societies might decide to merge or consolidate their charters. Or, due to various causes, an institution may decide to dissolve their charter altogether. Merging, consolidating, and dissolving charters are all actions that require an application process through the Board of Regents. Join Lauren Lyons, Chartering Coordinator at the New York State Museum, to learn more about the differences between consolidating and merging, what these application processes look like, and what the best options are for different circumstances.

Museum Chartering 101: Mergers, Consolidations, and Dissolutions is the second webinar in a series designed to help institutions better understand the processes involved in New York's chartering program.

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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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Museums in the News

April 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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