Museum Education Act

Memo in Support of

S.5001D (Little)/A.8199D (Titone)

The Museum Education Act


New York State has more museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and other cultural institutions than any other state, many of which are among the leading art, history, science, and natural history institutions in the world.  As many as 60 million visitors, including over 6 million school children, visit New York’s museums and institutions each year, the economic impact of which is well into the billions of dollars statewide.


The MEA is necessary to establish and implement a museum education grant program to provide state aid to museums, historical societies, nature centers, zoos, botanical gardens, arboretums, aquariums and other cultural institutions located in low-income urban, suburban or rural communities for the purpose of establishing education programs for elementary and secondary school students as well as those individuals participating in continuing education, especially those living in low-income urban, suburban or rural communities.


The MEA will strengthen the educational competitiveness of New York’s students and adult learners while strengthening the economy in the process.  The Museum Association of New York supports and advocates for the importance of educational programming in museums. Education is the mission of all New York State museums. Museums provide educational resources, programs, and insights outside of classrooms that are integral to the successful development and continuing education of children and adult learners. The Museum Education Act would provide the necessary funding to connect the educational value of museum collections and resources to under-served communities.


The MEA, advanced by the New York State Board of Regents as a 2016 legislative priority, is a competitive grant program administered by the State Commissioner of Education The MEA launches a major partnership between eligible museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and other cultural organizations and schools through aligning the resources and expertise of the New York cultural community with statewide efforts to improve student performance and access to knowledge. This innovative program would provide grant funding to help prepare students and adult learners, specifically from underserved urban, suburban, and rural areas, for success in the 21st century while ultimately making New York more competitive in the global economy. New York’s museums and other cultural organizations play a major role in helping students and adult learners acquire the hands on skills and knowledge needed for success in education. 


Through the MEA, museums and other cultural arts institutions chartered by the Board of Regents and having collections would have access to grant funding to conduct curriculum-based educational programs for students and teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve and adults enrolled in continuing education programs.  The grants are competitive in nature and can be used for the production of curricula, acquisition of specialized educational or interpretive skills, the acquisition of specialized educational technology, the preparation of specialized educational exhibition or public programming, the development and delivery of continuing education programs, the transportation of students to a museum or other eligible institutions, and other programs that support the development and delivery of curriculum-based programs in museums and other eligible institutions with collections.  The bill allocates funding by size of the budget of the applying institution to insure that institutions of the same size and capacity compete against each other. 



MANY has developed a MEA Toolbox for the museum community that includes information on the bill and why it is important for your museum, template letters to the editor about the bill, and handy sheets you can fill in regarding your institution's economic impact and who your elected leaders are. If you do not know who your Senator or Assemblymember is, please visit the website here.

Please remember, we need your help to advocate for this important piece of legislation. Please contact your local Assemblymember and Senator and ask that they co-sponsor Senate Bill 5001D/Assembly Bill 8199D. Tell them why it matters to your organization and why it is important to their region. The more co-sponsors we have, the better!


Additional Documents for Your Reference:


2015 Budget Chart

For More Information…

Please contact:

The Museum Association of New York

(518) 273-3400