September 2, 2016
Dear Members, Colleagues, and Museum Advocates,
Yesterday at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, I had the privilege of listening to Dr. Kirk Johnson, Director of the National Museum of Natural History speak about museums in the 21st Century. Dr. Johnson, a paleontologist by training, touched on relevant topics including the changing demographics of our audiences, access to and maintenance of collections we hold in the public trust, and sustaining our work beyond our galleries.
At one point he said, “A world without museums is a world without dinosaurs.” As I thought about that statement, I’m not sure I heard much of what Dr. Johnson said for several minutes. Growing up in New York City, my world would not have polar bears but for the Central Park Zoo and I wouldn’t have known the scent of cherry blossoms but for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The depth and range of the art of the ancient world would have been absent without the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
New York’s museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquaria are transformative public spaces where shared experiences build families, schools, and communities. Dr. Johnson spoke of a future where museums can combine the physical and the digital to shape our work with visitors and our collections. I am honored to be in the role of Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York as we look to our future together.
We have an exciting schedule of fall programs where our members will share their expertise. I will be travelling around the state for Board Workshops, Uncommon Approaches to Cultural Education, and Meet Ups in Syracuse, Corning, Hempstead, Buffalo, Amherst, New York City, and Albany. Please join us, introduce yourself to me and tell me about your work. MANY is committed to providing outstanding programs and services to our members and the next generation of professionals. Passage of the Museum Education Act is a priority, as is our continuing advocacy for museums, our funders, and the industries that support us. Watch for news about our annual conference, new member benefits, the 2017 salary survey, and Meet Ups in your region.