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How are museums growing institutional resources? How are museums working with their communities? How are museums using their exhibitions and collections in new ways? Explore original articles by MANY staff about NYS museums. 

What's happening at your museum? Submit your museum news and we might feature you in our next This Month in NYS Museums newsletter!


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  • November 29, 2023 9:01 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Moon rise and sunrise at Great Camp Sagmore in the Adirondacks 

    Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

    My heart is full with all you have done to support the Museum Association of New York, our programs, our staff, and the museum professionals who share their experience and expertise to keep us informed, connected, and relevant. I am grateful to our partners, sponsors, donors, and our board members who help make our work possible. I am writing now to ask that you make a donation to support our work in the coming year so that we can continue to offer opportunities for us to gather and learn from each other. 

    MANY is stronger today than ever before. Together, we have redefined what it means to be a museum association. We created new ways to support museums and broadened our conversations to shape a shared vision for the future of museums in New York. With over 25,000 followers on social media, we lead the museum association community in leveraging digital media to share model programs and amplify voices that might get lost amongst the algorithms. Our advocacy work in Albany is building awareness for the needs of museums across the state. I am excited to share the news that the work on the survey for The Museum Study has begun. The resulting data and report will help paint a picture that will show the full range and impact of New York’s museums.

    MANY is committed to representing and including all museums and museum professionals in our programs. With our annual conference and roundtable discussions in every region of our state, in 2023 almost 700 museum professionals were able to gather in person, strengthen connections, and learn together about innovative ways to reach audiences and stakeholders. Over 1,700 people from more than 800 organizations in 45 states and 17 countries joined us for webinars. All the educators, historians, curators, fundraisers, administrators, visitor service staff, executive directors, facility managers, board members, and volunteers we met with this year know they are not only working to inspire their visitors today and tomorrow, but building their museums to serve generations to come.

    If you have attended a webinar, joined us for a discussion, called the office for assistance, or used our website to find resources, we know you value the work we do. I hope you can help us now by clicking here to make a donation in any amount to sustain our work into 2024 and create opportunities for us to help you for years to come.

    With thanks, 

    Erika Sanger

  • November 29, 2023 8:59 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    This past summer, the Heckscher Museum of Art launched Heckscher@Home, an art lending program in partnership with the Town of Huntington's Cultural Affairs Department. With this short-term loan initiative, the museum hopes to strengthen its shared stewardship with the Town of Huntington and connect community members with its collection while sharing behind-the-scenes work including conservation and management. 

    The museum first opened to the public in 1920 with a donation of 185 artworks from August Heckscher’s private collection. Most of the early works in Hecksher’s collection were by  Eastern European Artists, but he also collected many Long Island-based and  Hudson River School artists. “From the beginning, the museum has had a diverse collection. We’re not really regionally focused, but as we have been reviewing and growing our collection through donations and acquisitions, we think our niche is American Modernism,” said Executive Director Heather Arnet. Twenty-five years ago, dozens of modern American works of art were donated to the museum from the private collection of artists Arthur Dove and Helen Torr who lived in nearby Centerport. “Their donation included dozens of modern paintings by American artists like Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keefe. This twentieth-century modernist movement is important for our collection. They are artists of national and international importance whose paths intersected on Long Island and that is the niche of our collection,” said Arnet. Today, the museum has nearly 3,000 works in its collection thanks to an acquisition fund. “We are intentionally expanding and diversifying the collection to represent more artists of diverse lived experiences and a focus on women and BIPOC artists.” 

    There are actually two acquisition funds. There is a Town acquisition fund and a nonprofit acquisition fund, but both are stewarded by the nonprofit museum. It’s part of a unique partnership between the Town of Huntington and the museum. “The Heckschers built the museum and gave it to the Town to be enjoyed by the people of Huntington,” said Arnet. The Heckschers created the Heckscher Trust in 1920 for the building, collection, and park. By the 1950s the Trust could no longer maintain the building, collection, or park. “At that point, there was an agreement drafted between the Trust and the Town where the Trust gave the building, collection, and park to the Town in exchange for the Town agreeing to take care of all of these things in perpetuity. Shortly thereafter a nonprofit museum was created to manage the museum, collection, and acquisition fund.”

    The Town of Huntington was interested in pursuing more collaboration between the Town and the museum. “The museum wanted to find innovative ways to connect community members to art,” said Arnet. “We wanted to find a way to strengthen our relationship with the Town and our shared stewardship. There are a lot of different types of partnerships in museums but we have a shared relationship with a public entity and we’re always trying to figure out how to strengthen this partnership outside maintenance.” 

    The public-loan program idea started when one of the museum trustees mentioned a similar program in the Netherlands. “There are other examples of this type of art-lending program stateside happening at several college campuses like at Oberlin College. Seeing these examples inspired our museum board to give it a try,” said Arnet.

    For the first year, as part of a pilot program, the museum wanted to identify one group to lend art from the collection. “The idea to work with local veterans in this pilot year came from Town Supervisor Ed Smyth,” said Arnet. “When we began talking about the program, we concluded that it would make sense to focus and identify one constituency for the first year of this program. Smyth quickly recommended working with veterans here in Huntington.”

    Chief Curator Carlie Wertzelbacher and Museum Registrar Carolyn Blea identified prints by Jeffrey Lundstedt that would be among the works of art included in the program. Lundstedt was from Huntingtown, and class president of Walt Whitman High School his graduating year. He was drafted and died in the Vietnam War. “We felt that these prints were a great connection and a natural fit to be included,” said Arnet. “We’ve had his prints in our collection since he passed. There was an exhibition shortly after he passed but they have not been exhibited since then. Working with the Town of Huntington’s Curatorial Affairs Department we’re sharing how the collections team cares for artworks in storage so that now, 50 years later, these artworks can be prepared and loaned to the public.” 

    The museum’s curatorial staff identified several prints that were in good condition and could easily be loaned. The identified artworks were created by people from Huntington and have not been on exhibition in recent years. “We felt like these particular pieces could safely be loaned to people in ways that we felt comfortable through a partnership with the town,” said Arnet.  

    Other artworks included in the program are by artists Fannie Hillsmith, Jean Sariano, and Dimmitri Berea. Each artwork that is part of the loan program is loaned for six months. The loan is accompanied by a statement about its t history and a care sheet. The Town provides the insurance for each artwork, with no cost to any of the participants. 

    “We wanted to develop this initiative together from the beginning with the shared goal of providing a unique service to the community,” said Arnet. “This project has helped us educate the Town on what we do here at the museum. There are a lot of new faces at the council building and through this partnership, we’ve been able to answer questions about the museum like ‘why isn’t the entire collection on view?’ or about collections storage. It’s a really good example of how this project has helped with that sort of learning journey.”

    Want to learn more about how to get a program like this started in your community? Contact Heather Arnet at the Heckscher Museum of Art.

  • November 28, 2023 5:07 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In their latest round of funding for FY2024, the New York State Council on the Arts (NSYCA) awarded more than $4 million in 129 grants to 120 museums in nine Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions. In total, NYSCA awarded more than $46 million to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations and 500 individual artists. 

    NYSCA is still accepting applications for $37 Million in grants for the Capital Projects Fund through January 11, 2024. NYSCA's Capital Projects Fund supports arts and cultural nonprofits seeking State funding for investments in capital improvements to allow organizations to sustain and expand cultural programming for diverse audiences, promote accessibility and environmental sustainability, preserve and create jobs, and ultimately contribute to the growth of New York's dynamic arts and tourism sectors. Visit the NYSCA website for details.

    NYS Museums Awarded NYSCA FY2024 Funding

    Listed Alphabetically by REDC

    Capital Region

    $558,500 to 14 museums

    • Albany County Historical Association, $49,500
    • Albany Institute of History & Art, $40,000
    • Columbia County Historical Society, $30,000
    • FASNY Museum of Firefighting, $40,000
    • Historic Cherry Hill, $49,500
    • Historical Society of Saratoga Springs ,$40,000
    • Museum Association of New York, $49,500
    • Rensselaer County Historical Society (Hart Cluett Museum), $30,000
    • Saratoga County Historical Society, $30,000
    • Schenectady County Historical Society, $30,000
    • Shaker Heritage Society, $60,000
    • The Children’s Museum at Saratoga, $40,000
    • The Hyde Collection, $40,000
    • Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc, $30,000

    Central NY

    $179,500 to 6 museums

    • Canal Society of New York State, $30,000
    • Cayuga Museum of History and Art, $59,500
    • Erie Canal Museum, $10,000
    • Oswego County Historical Society ,$10,000
    • Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center ,$30,000
    • Seward House Museum, $40,000

    Finger Lakes

    $155,000 to 6 museums

    • Genesee Country Museum, $10,000
    • Geneva Historical Society, $30,000
    • George Eastman Museum, $40,000
    • Ontario County Historical Society, $25,000
    • Rochester Museum & Science Center, $10,000
    • Susan B. Anthony House, $40,000

    Long Island

    $354,000 to 12 museums

    • East Hampton Historical Society, $49,500
    • Friends of Raynham Hall, $40,000
    • Heckscher Museum of Art, $49,500
    • Hofstra University Museum of Art, $15,000
    • Long Island Museum, $30,000
    • Long Island Music Hall of Fame, $25,000
    • Nassau County Museum of Art, $25,000
    • Sagtikos Manor Historical Society, $10,000
    • Southampton History Museum, $30,000
    • Southold Historical Museum, $30,000
    • Suffolk County Historical Society, $40,000
    • The Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor, $10,000


    $400,000 to 13 museums

    • The Museum at Bethel Woods, $40,000
    • Boscobel, $30,000
    • D&H Canal Historical Society, $30,000
    • Edward Hopper Landmark Preservation Foundation, $30,000
    • Hammond Museum, $30,000
    • Historic Hudson Valley, $40,000
    • Huguenot Historical Society, $30,000
    • Katonah Museum of Art, $40,000
    • Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, $25,000
    • Neuberger Museum of Arts, $40,000
    • Percy Grainger Society, $15,000
    • The Haverstraw Brick Museum, $20,000
    • Westchester Children’s Museum, $30,000

    New York City

    $1,473,500 to 43 museums

    • American Folk Art Museum, $40,000
    • American Museum of Natural History, $40,000
    • Amigos del Museo del Barrio, Inc., $40,000
    • Asia Society, $40,000
    • Climate Museum, $49,500
    • Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance, $40,000
    • Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., $50,000
    • Friends of Alice Austen House, Inc., $40,000
    • Friends of the New York Transit Museum, $40,000
    • Fund for the City of New York, $20,000
    • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, $30,000
    • Historic House Trust of New York City, Inc., $40,000
    • International Center of Photography, $25,000
    • International Print Center New York, $40,000
    • Intrepid Museum Foundation, $40,000
    • King Manor Association of L.I., Inc., $49,500
    • Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, $10,000
    • Morris-Jumel Mansion Inc., $40,000
    • Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, $40,000
    • Museum of Jewish Heritage, $40,000
    • Museum of Music & Entertainment in New York City, $20,000
    • National Lighthouse Museum, $30,000
    • National September 11 Memorial and Museum, $30,000
    • New York Hall of Science, $40,000
    • Old Merchants House of NY, Inc., $25,000
    • Old Stone House of Brooklyn, $20,000
    • Pace University Art Gallery, $20,000
    • Poets House, Inc., $40,000
    • Rubin Museum of Art, $40,000
    • Seaport Museum New York, $25,000
    • Skyscraper Museum, $40,000
    • Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, $25,000
    • Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, $30,000
    • Staten Island Historical Society, $25,000
    • The Bronx County Historical Society, $10,000
    • The Frick Collection, $30,000
    • The Green-Wood Historic Fund, $50,000
    • The Hispanic Society of America, $40,000
    • The New York Botanical Garden, $40,000
    • The Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford Stuyvesant History, $59,500
    • Ukrainian Museum, $25,000
    • Washington Street Historical Society, $20,000
    • Wave Hill, $35,000

    North County

    $289,00 to 7 museums

    • Essex County Historical Society, $40,000
    • Fort Ticonderoga Association, $40,000
    • Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks, $49,500
    • St. Lawrence County Historical Association, $30,000
    • The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks (Adirondack Experience), $40,000
    • Village of Potsdam Public Museum, $40,000

    Southern Tier

    $299,000 to 9 museums

    • Artnot Art Museum, $40,000
    • Chemung County Historical Society, $40,000
    • Chenango County Historical Society, $49,500
    • Corning Museum of Glass, $40,000
    • Corning Painted Post Historical Society, $30,000
    • Roberson Museum and Science Center, $30,000
    • Sciencenter Discovery Museum, $10,000
    • The History Center in Tompkins County, $49,500
    • The Rockwell Museum, $10,000

    Western New York

    $354,500 to 10 museums

    • Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, $40,000
    • Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (Buffalo AKG Art Museum), $40,000
    • Buffalo Maritime Center, $30,000
    • Buffalo Society of Natural Science (Buffalo Museum of Science), $40,000
    • Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier, $40,000
    • Explore & More Children’s Museum, $30,000
    • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, $49,500
    • Niagara County Historical Society, $25,000
    • Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, $30,000

  • November 28, 2023 4:22 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    29 museums from across New York State received a total of $8,564,033 from Round 13 of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

    Capital Region

    Historic Cherry Hill

    $ 100,000.00

    Historic Cherry Hill (HCH), a cultural attraction and historic site in the South End of Albany, will construct a parking area and update existing paved surfaces to make the site more attractive, accessible, welcoming, and walkable. Updates will improve visitor experiences and accommodate attendance growth.

    The Albany Institute of History & Art

    $ 51,000.00

    The Albany Institute of History & Art will use grantee funds towards the marketing of Two Worlds: The Dutch and Mohican Commemoration Project, the Albany Institute of History & Art’s upcoming commemoration of 400 years of Dutch culture in the region, including the founding of Fort Orange, the first permanent Dutch settlement that developed into the city of Albany.

    Museum Association of New York

    $ 135,500.00

    Museum Association of New York will use tourism funding to produce an interactive website and execute a comprehensive and targeted marketing campaign to attract over 50,000 visitors to 12 museums across NYS, promoting a special Smithsonian Institute exhibition “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.”

    Albany County Historical Association (Ten Broeck Mansion)

    $ 119,952.00

    The Albany County Historical Association will acquire, plan, and restore critical contributing elements to the Ten Broeck Mansion historic landscape. Acquisition involves the permanent protection of part of the 1764 Ten Broeck Mansion land plot, including a burial lot and orchard, preserving a viewshed of the historic grounds. Planning and archaeological surveys allow the installation of accessible walkways, stabilization, interpretive signage and Phase 1 of the historic orchard restoration.

    Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.

    $ 1,107,457.00

    The Interpretive Center is a new net zero energy building that includes reuse of salvaged materials, geothermal HVAC, and solar. The Center will incorporate CORE Living Building Challenge Standards whose sustainability goals include energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, sustainable materials, and universal access. The building will be a model of carbon-neutral performance in addition to being the go-to place for educational opportunities related to African American history.

    Central NY

    Discovery Center of Science and Technology (The Museum of Science and Technology, MOST)

    $ 300,000.00

    Discovery Center of Science and Technology will build out currently unused space to support the MOST's mission. The new space will create more classrooms for the MOST's day camps and programs, STEM Library, and education offices.

    Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnett Park

    $ 432,000.00

    Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnett Park will use grant funds to construct a Botanical Garden and replace the existing Sound/Visual System with a state-of-the-art enhanced system. This project will enhance the zoo as a destination and key attraction for visitors to the CNY region of NY.

    Finger Lakes

    The Strong Museum

    $ 131,250.00

    The Strong Museum will use the grant funds to support a portion of the costs to market and promote a Canadian focused marketing initiative to significantly increase tourism from the Toronto region to the museum and surrounding Finger Lakes region.

    Genesee Country Museum

    $ 71,450.00

    Genesee Country Museum will use funding to host and promote special events, including unique solar eclipse related events, at this tourism attraction promoting visitation to the Genesee Valley and Finger Lakes region, and increasing spending per visitor

    Rochester Museum & Science Center

    $ 263,157.00

    Rochester Museum & Science Center will use capital grant funds to construct a Treehouse Village in the iconic Red pine forest at the Cumming Nature Center (CNC). The Treehouse Village will be a one-of-a-kind space for educational programming and events and will grow the CNC as a year-round recreational and tourist destination.

    George Eastman Museum

    $ 500,000.00

    The George Eastman Museum, a National Historic Landmark, will address necessary and urgent repairs to the Rock Garden’s Grape Arbor so that it may be safely enjoyed. Significant accessibility improvements will provide a welcoming experience for all visitors and community members. Restoration work will ensure that this key structure in the original Rock Garden design is sustained for future generations.

    1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum

    $ 481,592.00

    The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum will restore the nationally significant 1816 Meetinghouse for use as an interpretive center and community gathering place. Highlighting the national importance of movements for equal rights in the Finger Lakes region, the restored Meetinghouse will enhance the quality of life for residents and promote regional economic development through heritage tourism.

    Long Island

    The Whaling Museum & Education Center at Cold Spring Harbor

    $ 150,000.00

    The Whaling Museum will use a portion of the funds for the expansion of the new Conservation Pavilion, which will house New York State's first Sperm Whale skeleton; the opening of the historic 1894 Wright House to public visitation; and the renovation of the existing gallery space and gift shop.

    Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

    $ 125,000.00

    The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame will use tourism marketing funding to host and promote a year-long exhibition featuring the life and music of world-renowned music artist Billy Joel with the debut of the "Billy Joel-My Life" exhibit.

    Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum

    $ 500,000.00

    The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will stabilize and restore its shuttered, deteriorating boathouse, and adapt it for educational and recreational use. The project will preserve an important piece of history for future generations to enjoy. The stabilized boathouse will attract heritage tourism, benefit local businesses, and stimulate economic growth. It will serve as an educational resource, with programs and events that promote maritime history and cultural learning.



    $ 250,000.00

    Boscobel is a nonprofit museum established sixty years ago and is now an esteemed Historic House Museum containing one of the finest collections of decorative arts from the Federal period. Boscobel Restoration, Inc. has a larger campus-wide capital improvement plan they will be undertaking intending to secure Boscobel as a thriving cultural site and community resource, focused on serving a wider audience through programming that explores nature, design, and history. This phase of the project will increase public access and safety; become a hub for regional visitors; and improve traffic congestion by streamlining vehicles entering and departing the site. To improve climate resiliency and mitigate flooding, Boscobel will convert a significant portion of its site to a native planting meadow in addition to installing a new maintenance barn with photovoltaic panels.

    Dia Beacon

    $ 1,397,000.00

    Dia Art Foundation will use tourism capital funding to support a portion of the costs to develop a landscape design project that will convert the museum’s large south lawn space into a public outdoor area with walkable connections to the Beacon Train Station and the regional trail network.

    Storm King Art Center

    $ 141,750.00

    Storm King Art Center will use the funds to support marketing efforts promoting both the opening of the Capital Project and our 2025 Season, the first full season to make use of the Capital Project

    Hudson River Museum

    $ 50,000.00

    Hudson River Museum will use grant funds to develop and promote solar eclipse related programming to increase visitation to this attraction and to the overall Mid-Hudson region.

    Mohawk Valley

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

    $ 232,500.00

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will be launching a marketing initiative focused on Japanese baseball, coinciding with Ichiro Suzuki’s first year of being eligible for election into the Hall of Fame. Known simply as Ichiro by baseball fans around the world, his Induction would be a first for a Japanese player.

    Greater Oneonta Historical Society

    $ 82,500.00

    The Greater Oneonta Historical Society (GOHS) is a non-profit organization that works toward a mission of promoting Greater Oneonta’s past by collecting and preserving authentic objects and documents, disseminating knowledge, and providing stimulating educational experiences through dynamic programs and exhibitions. The Historical Society will replace the brickwork on the Oneonta History Center building located in Downtown Oneonta to adequately secure and protect the building’s exterior and structure, and to keep the center open and accessible.

    New York City

    National September 11 Memorial and Museum

    $ 216,925.00

    The National September 11 Memorial and Museum will be used to support a portion of the costs to host a commemorative public art installation on the night of September 11, an iconic symbol that both honors those killed and celebrates the unbreakable spirit of New York.

    American Museum of the Moving Image

    $ 150,000.00

    MoMI will present Welcoming the World through Film and Media at MoMI, a year-long marketing campaign to increase regional, national, and international audiences. This marketing will drive visitors to Queens for exhibitions, festivals, film screenings, and promotional events, bringing economic benefits to MoMI and the region.

    North Country

    The Fort Ticonderoga Association

    $ 660,000.00

    The Fort Ticonderoga Association will create a marketing plan to promote and market northern New York historic sites, including Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga, and other New York State Historic Sites as part of the national 250th commemorative period

    Historic Saranac Lake

    $ 115,000.00

    Historic Saranac Lake will perform repairs to the historic slate roof at the Saranac Laboratory Museum in Saranac Lake, New York. The repairs will protect and stabilize this architecturally and historically important building that is a center for downtown revitalization.

    Southern Tier

    Tanglewood Nature Center

    $ 600,000.00

    Tanglewood Community Nature Center, Inc. will use the capital tourism grant funds to support a portion of the costs to construct a Canopy Walkway in the heart of the Southern Tier REDC and Finger Lakes Tourism Region, providing residents and tourists with a new perspective of the natural environment, bringing people eye-level with the tree canopy and its many inhabitants.

    Western New York

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House

    $ 50,000.00

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House will use grant funding to increase marketing efforts to boost off-season visitation to this exceptional historic site and the Western NY region during the off-season months.

    Old Fort Niagara Association

    $ 50,000.00

    Old Fort Niagara Association will be used to support a marketing campaign focused on raising awareness of Old Fort Niagara, a significant historical attraction in Western NY, keeping the Fort top-of-mind for locals and tourists.

    The Aquarium of Niagara

    $ 100,000.00

    The Aquarium of Niagara will use grant funds to amplify the Aquarium of Niagara’s planned marketing efforts to celebrate the opening of Great Lakes 360. This campaign will drive local, regional, and international visitation towards the Aquarium’s largest expansion, connecting guests with wildlife found in the Great Lakes region.

    The application for Empire State Development Grant funds remains open, and applications are being reviewed on an on-going basis until funds are exhausted. Applicants with strong, shovel-ready projects that align with the state and region's economic development priorities can apply through the Consolidated Funding Application.

    Learn more: 

  • October 26, 2023 9:58 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Haverstraw Brick Museum is rebuilding its facilities in a $3 million renovation project to create a state-of-the-art museum. The renovation will increase the museum’s capacity to offer educational and public programming and restore the original 19th-century structure. It will add space for the museum’s collection, archives, staff offices, a terrace roof garden, and an ADA-compliant back entrance.  They will also create the “Center for Innovation,” a space dedicated to examining historical and contemporary fine art and architectural tradecrafts that use clay as a creative and construction medium. 

    “The original concept for the expansion and renovation began as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awarded by Governor Hochul in 2022 to Haverstraw in partnership with the Village of Ossining,” said Rachel Whitlow, Executive Director of the Haverstraw Brick Museum. “Haverstraw and Ossining are sister villages located across the Hudson River from each other. The idea was that both waterfronts and main streets would berevitalized together. The museum was awarded $1.5 million from this grant.” 

    Founded in 1995, the Haverstraw Brick Museum preserves the history of the brick industry of North Rockland County. The museum is located on Main Street and is within walking distance to the Village Hall, schools, and the community center. “There is three miles of unused riverfront,” said Whitlow. “The remaining riverfront property is included in the Downtown Revitalization project with a hotel, restaurant, and housing development , connecting Main Street with the riverfront. Because the museum is located on Main Street, we are part of this revitalization.” 

    In 1815, brick-making was one of the Hudson River Valley’s most profitable and largest industries with brickyards stretching as far north as Albany. By the 1880s, there were over 40 brickyards in the Haverstraw area with brick-making the dominant profession. With easy access to New York City via the Hudson River, and to the west via the Erie Canal, over 300 million bricks from 41 brickyards were shipped out of Haverstraw each year. Building construction in New York City was using one billion bricks annually from the Rockland County area. 

    “Bricks from this small village created the infrastructure for two thirds of New York City,” said Whitlow. “New York City is home to some of the largest infrastructure construction and residential buildings in the world. It’s the Lincoln and the Brooklyn Battery tunnels, and neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Harlem. Most of Harlem was built with bricks from Haverstraw.” 

    With new programming and this expansion, the museum plans on sharing more of the stories of the brick workers as well. “The Village of Haverstraw is one of the oldest continuously integrated Sanctuary Towns that provided an opportunity for foreign immigrants and African Americans who came North in the  The Great Migration to work and live. Their combined labors contributed to building one of the greatest cities in the world.” During the Great Migration in the early 20th century, Black Southerners were recruited by brickyard owners, who would pay for their travel expenses. 60% of the workforce in the brickyards of Haverstraw were Black. “This is significant information that we want to share, especially with people who live in New York City. It will be a main focus on the first floor of the new museum.” 

    The Building

    “Our project theme is ‘learn the past, discover the future.’ The museum design  incorporates this perspective with the front of the building restored to the 1800s and the rear incorporating more contemporary brick designs.”

    The collections storage and kilns for the museum’s Center for Ceramic Innovation will be located in the basement. 

    The first floor is designed around a large central space exhibition space dedicated to Haverstraw’s history from 1616 to the 1940s. It will focus on brickyard history, immigration and migration, steam-driven innovations, geology, and earth science, and will host community programs.

    The second floor’s  Center for Innovation is designed for hands-on learning and includes the Center for Ceramic Innovation, a 3D printing lab, classroom space, and artists in resident exhibition spaces. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded $40,000 to the museum to create this maker space for ceramic art and new brick construction. “Our goal is to draw visitors and tourists from all over the world as the brick industry once did,” said Whitlow. “Through the Center, we will offer after-school programs, residency programs for visiting artists and architects, and hands-on learning for our local students and community center. “ It’s going to be our place to experiment and play.”

    The third floor is dedicated to the museum’s research library, paper and photo archives, staff offices,and meeting rooms. “Our archives go back to the 1700s and only about 1% are on display now. We hope to create a public research library for our paper and photographic archives.”

    The roof design includes sculptures, native plants, a butterfly garden, and “New Brick” living sculptures from the collection. “The fourth floor will be our place of discovery and our environmental teaching center will focus on telling the story of the impact of the Hudson River as an economic driver and as an estuary. Most of the brickyards along the Hudson River are now underwater. Years of use had a tremendous impact on the environment and the shoreline of the Hudson. ” Haverstraw hopes to join other New York climate-smart communities by focusing on renewable energy throughout DRI building initiatives. 

    The museum previously underwent a $45,000 renovation in 2019 that included building repairs as well as an exhibition reinstallation. The museum currently operates in a 2,000-square-foot space. “Sometimes being small can be an advantage because you can pivot quickly,” said Whitlow. It also allowed the museum to focus on strategic partnerships with the Croton Aqueduct for exhibitions and programming. The museum gets about 4,000 visitors annually, many of them from school groups. “The strongest part of our programming is our STEAM education. The idea of play is part of our philosophy that innovation comes from exploration. How do we give students today the ability to do that?” 

    Whitlow anticipates it will take six years to complete  the project. “Being in the heart of downtown makes us a resource for the local community and that aligns with our mission that includes providing a unique perspective into America’s cultural heritage.We are excited for this project to attract more visitors to the museum and to Haverstraw.” 

    Learn more about the Haverstraw Brick Museum: 

  • October 26, 2023 8:58 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In 2021, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) was awarded a $178,668 Museums for America grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the Lifelong Learning category to expand its Interpretive Master Plan with the goal to become a more inclusive, living museum. The expansion project titled, Inclusive Master Plan, helped the Garden include a broader cross-section of perspectives and achieve its goals to become a more welcoming, urban museum. The project formalizes inclusive practices such as providing staff professional development, amplifying community voices, and expanding storytelling about the Garden’s history and collections through its staff and volunteers while strengthening the Garden’s ability to serve the public. 

    The first interpretive plan created in 2006 (also funded by the IMLS) focused on interactive interpretation and was heavily visitor-driven. “It was the first interpretive plan that the Garden had and it coincided with the Garden’s strategic planning process,” said Kate Fermoile, BBG’s Director of Interpretation and Exhibitions. “It was from this strategic planning process that the Garden established an interpretation department and hired its first Director of Interpretation, Sonal Bhatt.” Bhatt, now Vice President of Education and Interpretation, leads this new project with Fermoile. “[Bhatt] oversaw the first interpretive plan and its subsequent update in 2008. We updated the plan internally when I joined BBG to reflect more of the educational practices we were interested in, including more informal learning, more educational pop-ups, and conversations with visitors.” The first interpretive plan coincided with the Garden’s “Campaign for the Next Century” which added four new acres of garden space, new amenities, and permanent exhibitions. This Campaign invested more than $3 million in new interpretive signage and rotating exhibitions that focused on the intersection of art, science, and plants. The plan also created dialogue-based interpretation to support the Garden’s new “living classrooms.” 

    “I felt like we achieved almost all of the goals in the original interpretive plan,” said Fermoile. “And now, with this next interpretation or expansion, the Garden is looking from the perspective of where the world is in the 2020’s and BBG wants to be a community garden, not just a place for the community - but of the community. We need an interpretive plan to reflect that and to tell the stories that we know haven't been told.” 

    A visitor demographic survey conducted by BBG in 2015 found that 34% of its visitors are People of Color compared to an American Community Survey’s 2019 census data, cited by BBG in its IMLS grant application, 77% of Brooklyn Community District 9, 65% of Brooklyn, and 57% of New York City are People of Color. BBG wants this new interpretive plan to expand its representation of diverse experiences, to increase the opportunity for visitors to find relevance and connection to the Garden and its mission, and “to connect people to the world of plants, promote environmental stewardship, and engagement in science.” BBG also cited a 2017 Culture Track report by La Placa Cohen which suggests that one of the main reasons people choose not to visit a cultural institution is that they feel it is “not for them.” The same sentiment has been echoed in BBG surveys. 

    Fermoile hopes that this work will strengthen BBG’s ability to serve the public by using a co-creation model starting with BBG staff and volunteers. “We submitted this IMLS grant two years ago, in the midst of the pandemic, so what we were thinking about doing at the time ended up not being feasible in 2021 when we embarked on the project.” BBG originally planned on bringing in groups of community members and organizations for roundtable discussions and conversations. “But it was really hard to do in 2021 when so many people were still working remotely.” Instead, after a few internal conversations, BBG decided that it could start with the staff. “The Garden staff are also the community. They live and work in Brooklyn. We have 150 full-time and part-time staff and volunteers. We decided to turn our attention inward to start with the BBG community, thinking about a co-creation model where we would work with not just the heads of the Interpretation Department, or just a few people deciding on what stories we were telling, but to develop a model where we’re all co-creating together, telling stories that are important to all of us.” This co-creation model utilizes community feedback and shared perspectives from across the BBG staff and volunteers to create new public offerings from new viewpoints while still remaining focused on the Garden’s mission and shared goals. 

    The Garden hired Makalé Cullen, an ethnobotanist consultant with a background in folklore to work with people to gather and tell stories together. “Makalé put together a number of listening sessions with the staff and volunteers who are involved with our children’s programs, “Community Greening” (urban greening through education, conservation, and creative partnerships), and with teenagers who visit the Garden on a regular basis. In these sessions, she talked with the teenagers about the stories that interested them and asked if they would like to tell these stories themselves or if they would like to tell other stories that aren’t being told at BBG.” 

    The Inclusive Master Plan includes creating and developing an “Inclusive Community Engagement Guide” for staff and community constituents that will include a listening tool kit that includes recommended facilitation techniques, survey methods, conversation prompts, and additional criteria to ensure that inclusion and equity are prioritized in the process of co-creating multi-dimensional stories that will impact BBG’s approach to program development and exhibitions in the future. “We’re currently in the process of editing down a draft of this co-creation guide into something that the entire staff at BBG could use as part of the work they’re doing,” said Fermoile. 

    BBG is already piloting a number of stories that came from the staff listening sessions. “Something that we heard repeatedly in these sessions was that people wanted to see their culture reflected in the stories that we’re telling in the Garden. Brooklyn is a super diverse place and the Garden is 52 acres in the middle of this borough and borders Caribbean neighborhoods. BBG has Caribbean trees and plants and people would like to see themselves and their plants and stories told, not from a colonial perspective, but from their own perspective.” 

    Shelley Worrell of I Am CaribBEING and Meera Jagroop and Chelsea Forgenie of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Michael Stewart. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    Fermoile brought in Chelsea Forgenie, BBG’s School Workshops Coordinator and Meera Jagroop, Director of Youth Programs (who are Caribbean Americans) to co-curate “Trees of Little Caribbean,” an exhibition that celebrates trees and treelike plants cherished by the Caribbean people that spark stories of rebellion, resilience, spirituality, and joy. The exhibition, located in the Steinhardt Conservatory, teaches people about native Caribbean trees like papaya, guava, soursop, and allspice as well as non-native plants, like the banana, that were brought from across the globe under colonization. “BBG partnered with Shelley Worrell, Co-founder of I AM CaribBEING, a cultural venue in Brooklyn that illuminates the Caribbean experience and communities throughout New York City that use our permanent collection to tell these stories,” said Fermoile. “It’s been a huge success for the creation of these partnerships, both with BBG staff and different cultural organizations in our community, and we’ve also seen a shift in visitorship since this exhibition opened in February. It’s hard to tell with quantiative statistics, but anecdotally through programming, we know this has increased the visitorship of people from the neighborhood. We’ve heard from our education staff that students are delighted to hear about plants and stories from their culture. It was a huge success to work with internal curators who do not typically do that kind in their day-to-day work. The exhibition is a whole different perspective and different voice.”

    Signage for the Trees of Little Caribbean exhibit. Photo by Michael Stewart.

    In addition to creating a broader cross-section of perspectives through exhibitions and programming, BBG received additional funding from a private donor to hire a researcher to investigate the history of the land and organization. “I came to this position after being the Vice President for Exhibits and Education at the Brooklyn Historical Society and Tenement Museum as the Education Director, so I’m a history person and now I’m a history person who loves to talk about plants,” said Fermoile. “When I first started working here, I was amazed that when we would give tours and discuss how the garden, the 52 acres, was part of the terminal moraine Wisconsin glacier that created this space, and then we would jump to the early 19th century when people were using this space as an ash dump, and then it became a garden. They skipped a lot of important history about the people who first worked this land. There was so much we didn't know and we’re able to tell now. This additional funding allowed us to hire a historian to research primary sources and helped us uncover this history so we can include it in the stories that we’re telling and collecting.”

    The Garden is also working with the Lenape Center, an organization founded in 2009 led by Lenape elders with a mission of continuing Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland through community, culture, and art. “We’ve been working with them to develop a living land acknowledgment and to help weave their stories into the stories we’re telling here.”

    BBG plans on introducing a draft of their Inclusive Community Engagement Guide at an all-staff retreat next February. They will continue to work with the interpretive committee that changes year to year based on different themes, and will hire an evaluator to assess the impact of the past two exhibitions developed using this co-creation model.

    “I always learn so much from working with a team of people who are smart and creative and have great stories to tell,” said Fermoile. “Working with my colleagues this past year has been a joy and I've learned a lot. Our programs are richer and I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

    Learn more about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden here: 

  • October 25, 2023 8:11 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters, 

    I was reminded last week that in the Capital Region’s hardiness zones, tulip bulbs are planted in October and November – about eight weeks before a hard frost. They then need another 120 days of freezing temperatures before blooming in April. I can’t grow tulips. The deer that share our yard think they are fall snack offerings, so I forget that at this time of year so many friends have their hands in the soil and their minds on spring blossoms. 

    The MANY staff will soon shift our work from travel around the state to planning our 2024 annual conference. This year our timeline mimics the tulips gathering energy below ground, with about 160 days before the 2024 conference in Albany. Although it may look quiet behind the door to our office, we are busy gathering everyone’s ideas to shape the conference. The Call for Proposals went out last week and the Nominations for Awards of Distinction was sent on Monday. In about a month, we will challenge our Capital Region planning team to create workshops, tours, and special events that will help Albany shine amongst the tulips that will bloom around us in April.

    MANY’s annual conference helps museum professionals build a network to share perspectives, tools, and skills that develop excellence across the field. Our goal is to nurture a community of practice, advance institutional change, and create an inclusive and expansive New York team of collaborators that learn together. We welcome proposals that share new perspectives on issues we all face, encourage open and thoughtful conversations, model collaboration, and illuminate the complex conditions under which we sustain, thrive, and support the history, art, and culture of New York State.

    If you have questions about the theme or how to submit a proposal, please send an email to

    With hope that you will join us in Albany to share your ideas about how we can build a better future for New York’s museums,

    Erika Sanger

    Executive Director

    P.S. We know there is a small global event happening on Monday, April 8 called a total solar eclipse. The city of Albany is in the 96.6% “totality” zone. The conference schedule will include time - and glasses - to view the eclipse. 

  • October 04, 2023 3:31 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Data fielded August 1 - 18, 2023

    116 New York State museums responded to the Museum Association of New York's survey from all ten REDC regions, with representation from museums of multiple disciplines and budget sizes.

    MANY compared this data to the American Alliance of Museum's 2023 National Snapshot of United States Museums, fielded in March and April 2023 by Wilkening Consulting with 340 museum responses.

    While NYS museums are trending at the same rate as nationally reported data in some areas, in other areas they are lagging behind.

    • 43% of responding NYS museums have yet to recover to pre-pandemic attendance numbers, averaging a 66% attendance rate compared to pre-pandemic.
    • 28% reported a decrease in staff size, an additional 16% loss in staff since 2019
    • 36% of NYS museums are actively recruiting for positions
    • 17% reported a decrease in their museum's operating budget, while 33% reported an increase. 50% reported that their museum's operating budget remained relatively the same as it was pre-pandemic which is 13% higher than the national data. 
    • More than half of responding museums received some type of federal pandemic relief funding.

    Click here to read and download the full report.

  • September 28, 2023 9:04 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Fort Ticonderoga, New York. Photo by Roy Johnson/Alamy

    More than fifty organizations, museums, and historic sites from across New York. Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Canada have joined together to create the 250th Northern Department, an initiative led by Fort Ticonderoga as part of its plans for the national 250th commemoration of the American War for Independence. This initiative will promote and market regional historic sites during the commemorative period from 2024 to 2027 through print and digital content. “Fort Ticonderoga was in a great position to take the lead, as a private nonprofit, a major destination, and historically the hub of the Northern Department[1] ” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. The Fort will build, fund, develop, and serve as the lead organizer for this multi-state and US-Canada partnership. 

    Built by the French between 1755 and 1757 Fort Ticonderoga, played strategic roles in the Seven Years’ War and other conflicts between Great Britain and France during 18th century, and again during the American War for Independence. To interpret this history, Fort Ticonderoga takes a year-by-year approach. “One of our biggest challenges is being strategic with our interpretation because there is so much history and so many stories to share,” said Hill. The concept was created by Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Vice President of Public History. “The whole concept of a year-by-year interpretation has allowed us to do what many museums do with rotating exhibitions.” This strategy allows the Fort to tell different stories year to year and attract repeat audiences. 

    Planning for the year that is selected begins 1 to 3 years in advance.  It starts with the collections management team to make sure collection objects are ready and accessible for the Fort’s Graduate Fellows to research and prepare for visitors. “The fellows research, develop tours, develop what historic trades will be happening at the fort and the material culture which is a large part of our front facing programs. It includes our teacher institute and other education-related work as well as our preservation work. This approach really does touch every aspect of what we do and because Fort Ticonderoga has such a complicated and rich history, there really is no other way to approach it in our opinion. This has been masterful for both our staff to be focused and strategic as well as proving this content to our visitors.”

    Map of Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

    To maximize the 250th, Fort Ticonderoga is applying this same method of interpretation and calling it “Real Time Revolution.” In 2024, historical interpretation will center on 1774 and the British guard from the 26th Regiment of Foot under Captain William Delaplace who was stationed there. They will focus on peacetime garrison life for soldiers and families contrasted with growing political dissent. “We’re going to dive into this time period and understand the context of who was here, the women and the children, and carry that story forward in time.”

    “Real Time Revolution” will end in 2027, interpreting the year 1777, portraying soldiers from different regions and nations from around the Atlantic as Ticonderoga historically changed hands between armies. 

    Ahead of 2024, Fort Ticonderoga decided to partner with organizations from throughout the Northern Department including NYS Parks, Vermont State Parks, Saratoga National Park, and Parks Canada. “We’re excited about the opportunity to raise awareness for the 250th,, but also for cultural tourism that will increase in economic impact,” said Hill. “Taking the initiative is a wonderful position for us to be in because, in a way, it empowers us to determine our own fate and get our own resources to develop programs.”

    Hill said that they are in the early stages of acquiring additional funding, both private and public. For now, funding for the 250th Northern Department is being built into Fort Ticonderoga’s operational budget. “We’ve been communicating with leadership and building support by looking at the American Battlefield Protection Program from the National Park Service and  other avenues to build support and receive funding. We’re looking at all sources of potential support to be able to make the 250th Northern Department possible and to amplify not only what we do, but create a lasting legacy,” said Hill.

    In 2022, Fort Ticonderoga was awarded a $237,630 Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America grant to focus on interpretive components, exhibition design, and digital resources. “This grant will help us highlight the interpretive themes that we’ve developed around the 250th.” Those five key themes are Power of Place; Subjects, Citizens, Service; Revolutionary Possibilities; Manufacturing Independence; and Shaping Nations, Forging Identities. 

    Organizations participating in the 250th Northern Department anticipate hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region during the commemorative period. “The next step is engaging people and inspiring them to learn more about local history because our local history is of an international scope. We wanted to take action and make it happen so that we’re ready for this commemoration.” Hill hopes that with the creation of the Northern Department and Fort Ticonderoga creating content centered around the new interpretive themes, these sites will broaden their audiences and make a lasting impact on people’s memories through connections to our nation’s stories. “It’s the diverse stories of our nation that we’re really excited about,” said Hill. “This is a landmark initiative that will help define Fort Ticonderoga for generations.”

    Learn more about the 250th Northern Department:


    [1] The Northern Department (also known as the New York Department) was one of six regional departments of the Continental Army of the American Revolution organized for command and administrative purposes. The Northern Department was those parts of New York north of New York City. It was first called the New York Department, but after the Highlands Department was created on November 12, 1776, it was always referred to as the Northern Department. This department was the only one to remain after the war. The last elements of the Continental Army were kept to guard the western frontier outposts.

  • September 26, 2023 10:27 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Photo ID:Trojan Greens Officer's Coatee, Troy, New York, wool, brass, silver, 1809-1815, Collection of Fort Ticonderoga

    Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends, 

    The strength of our combined voices is our superpower. When we come together to speak out on an issue, we can be loud and we can be heard. Sometimes advocating for New York’s history, art, and cultural organizations is the most gratifying part of my job. Other times, it is the most challenging work I do. Sue Storm bends light to become invisible, Superman steels himself with his cape, and Wonder Woman’s bracelets deflect projectiles. On days when I feel like there are huge obstacles separating our state’s history, art, and cultural organizations from those who can help, I close my eyes, and in my imagination, I put on the coat pictured above, tuck all of you in my pockets, take a deep breath, and start again. One of the biggest challenges I have faced in the past year is raising awareness of the critical need for a Semiquincentennial Commission in New York. I am asking you to add your voice now before New York’s contributions to our nation’s history are left behind in the 2026 commemorations. 

    Some of us have gathered resources to move ahead without a NY250 commission. 

    In MANY’s September newsletter, you can read about Fort Ticonderoga’s 250th Northern Department which will promote and market regional historic sites during the commemorative period from 2024-2027. The Office of New York State History created a Field Guide that aligns with themes established by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in their Making History at 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is investing in the preservation of historic sites with the help of the National Park Service’s Semiquincentennial Grant Program. In partnership with Humanities NY and the Smithsonian Institution, and the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, MANY will launch Voices and Votes: A New Agora for New York in March of 2024. But without a NY250 Commission, most of New York’s history will remain untold. 

    I know that advocacy work does not come easily to some people. But with this letter, I am asking you to gather whatever you need -- a coat, a cape, or bracelets -- to find a few minutes and the place within you to speak up for New York’s history. Please write to Governor Hochul and ask her to complete the appointments to seat the NY250 commission. Tell those representing you in the New York State Assembly and Senate why the Semiquincentennial is important to you and your community. New York needs to support our history, art, and cultural organizations to produce commemorative activities that can tell an inclusive story of our state’s essential role in the Revolutionary War and all of the struggles for civil rights and justice that followed. 

    With thanks in advance for sharing your superpower,

    Erika Sanger, Executive Director

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