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Museum News

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!

Email meves@nysmuseums.org 

  • July 31, 2023 7:58 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    John Sapida is the Manager of Digital Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the recipient of the BIPOC Museum Professional in Museum Administration scholarship to attend the 2023 conference "Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement."

    This scholarship is awarded to a Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color working in museum administration who has played a leadership role in advancing the capacity and sustainability of their museum. We asked John to share his conference experience.

    ----


    Now entering my sixth year as a museum educator and professional, I’ve faced plenty of challenges and opportunities for growth and innovation. One challenge is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. As an educator in a small team that manages the Museum’s learning management system as well as online learning, it felt as though multiple heads had turned to my direction when the shutdown happened. It was a lot of pressure, but it did give me an opportunity to lead. In my search for more opportunities to lead, I found the Museum Association of New York (MANY) Conference.

    This year’s conference brought practical solutions and pedagogically sound innovations. MANY provided opportunities to network with other professionals to discuss important topics in our industry such as inclusion, accessibility, and belonging. At the same time, MANY highlighted its host city by providing access to many of the institutions nearby such as the Erie Canal Museum, Everson Museum of Art and the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST). Each session I attended welcomed an exchange of ideas between myself and my peers which made me feel like an expert in my practice while still allowing me to learn from others’ unique experiences. Reflecting on my overall experience, there were two strong threads that build access, engagement, and belonging in museums,

    The first thread is partnership. I personally believe that the strongest programs out there involve partnership and collaboration. For example, in the session, Are you still lecturing? How to engage students with primary sources using Visual Thinking Strategies, I was able to learn from colleagues at the New York State Museum about their partnerships with the NYS Department of Education and also how they align the inquiry strategies we all know and love, their collections, and their educational programs to Science, Social Studies, and English Language Arts standards. In Relationship Building for Educating Our Community, we heard from the Vestal Museum’s key partnership with the Haudenosaunee community and how this collaboration provided opportunities for sharing, teaching, learning, and amplifying underrepresented voices. Such conversations are a testament to the power of storytelling and have great potential to provide guidance for the larger museum industry. 

    The second thread is consistency. Through these sessions, it became clear that the valuable work that comes from accessible digital and onsite projects should be approached proactively, not reactively.  The session, Social Media Savvy: Thinking Big, Working Smart, brought together specialists that talk about the use of storytelling through social media and the importance of a consistent call to action and voice throughout the seeming endless of platforms museums may use to engage their audiences. Attending the session, Bringing Inclusive Digital Materials into the Classroom, introduced me to online expanded archives and repositories that provide primary and secondary resources that are ready to adapt for the classroom. This got me to start thinking about all of the science-rich digital resources that the American Museum of Natural History has on their website. Through this session, an idea for a professional development course came to fruition that I am now currently working on for the summer! 

    Looking through my notes from the weekend, I now feel a sense of urgency to put together the programming ideas inspired by the conference. The work continues! 


    –John Sapida, Manager of Digital Initiatives, AMNH

  • July 31, 2023 7:51 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Melissa Kiewet was a William G. Pomeroy Foundation scholarship recipient to attend the 2023 annual conference "Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement". Scholarship recipients were asked to share their conference experience. 

    The William G. Pomeroy Foundation sponsored ten museum professionals working in history-related fields with an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less and who had not attended a MANY conference in the past.

    Since writing this reflection, Kiewet was named the new Executive Director of the Dyckman Farmhouse Alliance. 

    ----

    When I was notified in January of 2023 that I was awarded a scholarship for the annual Museum Association of New York conference, I did not yet know that my role at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum would be changing. Shortly before the April conference, I was selected to be the museum’s Interim Director, and hopefully the permanent Director, as the former Director moved on to a new organization. The switch came as a surprise to me, but it was one that I felt I was ready to face. Coming to the conference now took on a new meaning. I went from expecting to learn from my peers about programs and development issues to networking and focusing on larger scope issues within museums. Attending a conference that focused on New York state allowed me to meet people who were potential partner organizations and whose service areas overlapped with my own. This differed from the larger regional and national conferences and it could not have been better timed.

    Going into the conference with a new mindset, there were two sessions that really stuck out to me and made me think about how I could implement things in my home institution. The Panel “Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want): An Honest Conversation about Constituent Engagement,” was a case study about a funded grant project that did not go as expected. It was an open and vulnerable discussion about admitting failure and learning from it. I had never been to a session that examined failure, most tout their successes. The panel’s choice to focus on a project that did not go as expected brought down the guard of attendees and allowed the room to be vulnerable and talk about their own failed projects that resulted in big lessons. Obviously, we do not like to fail, but it is important to remember that failing often results in a better understanding of our projects. The other lesson that this session taught me was to ensure you have your constituents buy in before writing that grant. We cannot know what our constituents want without interacting with them and getting to know their needs. We can certainly guess, but then you risk creating an unsuccessful program.

    The last session of the conference was particularly powerful.  "Change is Still Required: What's Next?" was set up in a town hall style meeting, which I found uncommon for a museum conference. The panel consisted of five contributors to the book Change is Required: Preparing for the Post-Pandemic Museum. While multiple topics were covered, it was great to hear from a diverse group of museum professionals, from emerging to senior staff. It left me thinking about how, though I have worked for a change bringer for the last five years, I might be able to institute change during my own leadership. I am filling big shoes at Dyckman. Previous leadership created an institution that not only discussed Black history, but celebrates it year round, and engages closely with the community. I know I will continue these efforts, but what other contributions could I make? In listening to this session and speaking with colleagues, I found my professional mission. The museum industry is notoriously paying its workers at rates that make it nearly impossible to live. If I am to be the change I want to see in museums, I must pay my workers and pay them above what is average for museum workers. I received my first job in NYC six years ago for $38,000. That is not a living wage, but I did it for love of the industry and the promise on the horizon for advancement. I was privileged to be able to do so. If we want diversity in museum work, we have to pay, because divested communities cannot afford to take a job that pays so little just because they have a love for the field. They need to be compensated and, at least at my museum, I want to ensure that happens.

    –Melissa Kiewet, Executive Director, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance

  • July 31, 2023 7:44 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Daisy Rodríguez is a lifelong New Yorker. As the Executive Director of Government & Community Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) she oversees all NYC and State-based government and community engagement. Rodríguez is responsible for helping seek public funding (capital and expense) support for WCS. She engages elected officials, community members, and the public on the importance of conservation of wildlife and wild places. 

    Prior to her arrival at WCS in August 2017, she was the Director of Government Affairs at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), where she was responsible for seeking public support and funding, including helping with the outreach to communities throughout the five boroughs. Previous to joining AMNH, Daisy served as Community Outreach Director for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, and as the Senator’s Constituent Liaison helped to resolve numerous constituency concerns and expanded the Senator’s profile. She also served on the Senator’s campaign during his 2004 re-election.

    She holds an MA in Urban Affairs from Hunter College of the City University of New York. She attended Manhattan College and received her B.A. with a dual major in Urban Affairs and Political Science, as well as a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies. 

    We spoke with Daisy to learn more about her career, what motivates her, and what she hopes for the next generation of museum professionals.


    Where did you begin your career?

    Technically it began with US Senator Charles E. Schumer, as a very junior staffer working in his NYC office. I was the one answering all the calls that came into the office and dispatching them to colleagues, and doing basic administrative work. This was right after 9/11 and during the Iraq War and it was not easy, but that was my introduction into politics. I think I was answering around 300 calls a day. I learned how to be respectful to everyone and had to navigate a lot of different emotions from people at a young age. From there, I went into casework, worked directly with constituents across the state on a variety of issues, managed his intern program, staffed him as needed, worked on his campaign, and just wore many hats. It was a pivotal learning experience that I’ve learned to appreciate much more now as I’ve grown in my career. 


    Can you tell us about your journey from Community Outreach Director for Senator Schumer to AMNH to the Wildlife Conservation Society?

    I always had an affinity for nature and the arts. It was always at the core of my identity. I would have never imagined working in the field I am now, much less helping to advocate for the arts or helping cultivate generations of STEM leaders. I learned early in my career that I didn’t have the drive to stay solely in that political world—I needed something else. Through the Senator’s office, I learned that “doing government affairs” is done at many organizations in one form or another, and it was a necessary skill. And I started looking at opportunities in museums across the city. It took a while but there was an opportunity at AMNH for a Government Relations Coordinator, so I went for it. It was certainly vastly different and yet familiar from my time at the Senator’s office. At AMNH I was able to develop professionally in my field while reconnecting with a love for science I thought I had lost. I never excelled in math or science in school but I had a secret love for biology and astrophysics. Because of my own frustrations with the subject and overall lack of mentorship at a young age to encourage me to pursue it, I ran away from it. And now, I work to ensure that youth don’t make the same mistake as I did. After AMNH, I found an opportunity to work at WCS. I went from the preservation of dead collections to live ones. But more so, it was an opportunity to run my own shop in both government and community affairs – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

    These cultural spaces are very much healing places. I’ve always believed that and it felt like a confirmation of that, especially during COVID. I am part of a much larger coalition of people that are advocating for culture and the arts specifically in New York City and helping to ensure that this community received the funding that it needs to thrive is important to me. 


    What other experiences in your career journey have you found most helpful in your role now?

    I credit a lot of my career growth to my personal upbringing and listening to people’s stories. 

    As a child of immigrants, I grew up quickly and needed to be my family’s advocate, mostly because I spoke English. It may have been a child’s English but nonetheless, I learned how to translate and begin to understand the complexities of real-world issues. I credit that role of being my family’s advocate to becoming involved in advocacy. Also, I always have been interested in the stories of “others” regardless of where they come from. I’ve learned that if you listen to these stories, there are always gems of advice scattered throughout them. 

    I have found this work to be challenging yet fulfilling because I see myself in visitors to our institutions and I know how it feels to be disenfranchised from the cultural world and disconnected from the scientific fields. In my work, I realized that my own personal story resonates in the narratives of why it is critical for communities of color to be represented in STEM careers. The way I speak, the community I come from, the way I connect to cultural and scientific institutions, and how I have advocated have been different and needed.  


    What are some of the things that motivate you in your current role?

    The fact that I’m filling in a real need that requires a specific skill set. That I believe in the mission of the organization and I have colleagues that believe in this too. I’m also motivated because I get to foster the next generations of not only STEM leaders but also mentor those coming into my field of work. Encouraging them to do this work better than any of us who already are here. I believe strongly in succession planning. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a community of people. And lastly, I have a great team who do amazing work and we trust each other’s leadership and vision.  


    What are some of your goals in your role as the Executive Director of Government & Community Affairs? What advice would you give to other museums and cultural institutions about communicating the value of their institutions?

    I want to do this line of work differently. I like to take a genuine approach and want those that I lobby to care about the work that we do because it does have a real global and local impact. Cultivating the next generation of STEM leaders is pivotal in these times, and ensuring they also come from communities of color is personal for me because I was that kid that didn’t think she could do science or be in these spaces. I didn’t have the mentors and my parents didn’t have the resources to know even where to go. So I like to do my line of work as genuinely as possible and with real results.

    As far as advice on how we communicate our value, I believe people outside of the institutions solidify our value and that line of engagement with the communities we serve and the ones we need to do better to serve are key. The work we do, and the collections we have are invaluable among our institutional communities but it is a different level of appreciation when we can take these collections to communities who become inspired by it and want to preserve and advocate for it.   


    Would your 18-year-old self imagine that you would be where you are today?

    My 18-year-old self would be in awe to know that most mornings I have my coffee watching the lions stretch out and roar before the park opens to the public. She would be wide-eyed to know that one day she will get to learn and see collections that encapsulate the history of the Earth, our universe, be able to experience encounters with animals from across the globe in places she has yet to visit, meet with some of the brightest minds in the scientific communities and talented artists, be able to experience the halls of world-renowned institutions and still have to sometimes translate for her family too. 

    I did not visit a museum until I was in my teens even though I literally lived blocks away from AMNH. I never went as a kid because my mom didn’t know how to enter the building. She felt like it was such an overwhelming space with no clear direction. It was easier for her to take me to the Central Park Zoo. I’ve seen so many others go through this kind of experience as well, so when I entered this space as a museum professional, it was definitely something that fueled me to want to show people that these places are accessible. I want people to have a sense of belonging that these institutions are theirs because they’re city-owned, they belong to the people of New York and you should take advantage of them. 


    Can you tell us about where you grew up? What was it like growing up there? Where did you go to school and what did you study?

    I was born and raised in NYC. I’m Caribbean and Central American, remixed with the Latino diaspora found throughout the City. My childhood was challenging but I was surrounded by love and empowered to succeed. I was heavily influenced by a variety of cultures, from language, food, music, and the arts. I loved to draw as a child and my father would also doodle on the apartment walls with me. He was a maintenance worker so he would cover up our mess with paint – no harm done. I think because of that influence, even as minor as that was, I was accepted to LaGuardia HS for Music & Art where I majored in art.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art was and remains my favorite museum. It was the first one I ever visited because my school made me do a project there. Prior to that, I never went because neither I nor my parents knew how to visit these institutions. It wasn’t always a welcoming experience, there were language barriers, and these experiences fuel me today to do this work. I then attended Manhattan College where I studied political science with a minor in Caribbean and Latin American studies. I thought law school was the next step but after a few months working at a law firm, it wasn’t for me. Instead, I ended up working for Senator Schumer. While working for Senator Schumer I was pursuing a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies at Hunter College.


    What was the first museum experience that you can remember?

    I always had an affinity for animals. Maybe because I am an only child and was a latchkey kid, all I had were my animals. From a very young age, my mom would take me to the Central Park Zoo. It was a constant destination for us, but costly for my mother. She always made the investment in that excursion because it brought me the most joy. And here I am now working at WCS who also manages the Central Park Zoo and ensuring that we provide access to communities in need. 


    Can you describe a favorite day or more memorable moment on the job?

    There are so many. I feel fortunate to even say that. One occurrence that tends to follow me that are the moments I treasure most, is when I have access to the spaces where I work before it opens to the public and after the public leaves. Whether that was walking the halls at AMNH alone or strolling through the Bronx Zoo or New York Aquarium, having that private experience in those spaces feels peaceful and gives me a deep sense of connection. It’s those personal moments of zen that I treasure. 


    Do you have any mentors or someone who has deeply influenced you? Has there been any advice that they’ve given you that you’ve held on to?

    I’ve had a lot of mentors throughout the chapters in my career. Both good and rotten but all have been life lessons. The most pivotal lessons I carry throughout my career are to 1) Take up space even in places you may feel unwanted - I deserve and am needed to be there and 2) Pay it forward - I had my opportunities because of many of those before me. 


    What advice would you give to those interested in your career in government and community affairs for a cultural organization?

    I’m a big believer in inviting people out for coffee and asking questions that can give you really good advice. I’m also a believer in getting some kind of experience in the field like the work I did with Senator Schumer. I don’t do that kind of work now, but it gave me a sense of the culture of government relations and a sense of the type of people I would work with. 

    I also believe that succession planning is vital in the non-profit world. It is so critical, especially amongst Communities of Color. We have to prepare the next generation. The time I’ve spent planting seeds everywhere that I’m starting to see all of those seeds blossom. I have former interns who are now elected officials doing amazing work. I want to see more of these successes. 

  • June 27, 2023 3:33 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    During the most recent legislative session, the New York State Assembly and Senate allocated or reallocated $10,875,000 in program funding and economic development assistance to 51 museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums in Assembly Resolution 714 and Senate Resolution 1395, 1399, 1407, and 1408. Seventeen museums were allocated or reallocated $45,725,000 from the capital assistance program in Assembly Resolution 715.

    The resolutions included reallocations from the prior year funding for those organizations that did not receive their full allocation of funding as well as those who were fully funded, i.e., both “old” and “new” money. The resolutions authorize New York State to meet any prior year funding obligation in full. If you have any questions about what you see below or on the more detailed list here, please contact your legislative representatives. 

    MANY would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our state legislative representatives whose generous support will enable our arts, history, science, and cultural institutions to continue to serve their communities, attract tourists, and secure the historic structures they call home. The summer is an excellent time to be in touch with your legislative representatives and invite them to come see what you do. Not sure who represents you? Click here to find your Assemblymember and here for your NY State Senator. 

    The list of organizations that received funding is below. If your organization was allocated or reallocated funding, and you don’t see your organization’s name below, please let us know and accept our apologies in advance for the oversight. 


    Recipients of Program and Economic Development Assistance

    Adirondack Historical Association

    American Museum of the Moving Image

    American Museum of LGBT History & Culture

    Amigos del Museo del Barrio

    Bronx Museum of the Arts

    Brooklyn Botanical Garden

    Brooklyn Children’s Museum

    Brooklyn Historical Society

    Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens Society

    Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society

    Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

    Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences

    Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

    Burchfield Penny

    Herschell Carousel Factory Museum

    Cultural Museum of African Art

    Museum of Science and Technology

    Everson Museum of Art

    Frederick Remington Art Museum

    Garden City Historical Society

    Goshen Public Library & Historic Society

    Historic Hudson Valley

    Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County

    Hudson River Museum of Westchester

    Historic Huguenot Street 

    Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

    Irish American Heritage Museum

    Long Island Children’s Museum

    Louis Armstrong House Museum

    Lower East Side Tenement Museum

    Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum

    Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts

    Cradle of Aviation Museum

    National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

    New York Hall of Science

    New York Historical Society

    New York Zoological Society

    Northport Historical Society

    Old Stone House of Brooklyn

    Queens County Farm Museum

    Roosevelt Island Historical Society

    Safe Haven Museum

    Schenectady Museum Association

    Seneca Park Zoo

    Staten Island Zoological Society

    Studio Museum in Harlem

    Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center

    Western New York Railway Historical Society

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    Wildlife Conservation Society

    Zoological Society of Buffalo



    Recipients of Capital Assistance 

    Bronx Children’s Museum

    Children’s Museum of Manhattan

    Cultural Museum of African Art

    El Museo del Barrio

    Everson Museum of Art

    Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

    The Jewish Museum

    American Museum of Natural History

    New York Botanical Gardens

    Onondaga Historical Association

    Planting Fields Foundation

    Queens Botanical Garden Society

    Queens Museum of Art

    Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation

    Underground Railroad Education Center

    Universal Hip Hop Museum

    Wildlife Conservation Society

  • June 27, 2023 3:16 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Mobile museums make museums accessible to audiences and communities that can not reach a museum’s physical location. Their inherent flexibility and adaptability help create innovative and inclusive approaches to museum engagement. The examples in this article illustrate the ways in which three museums have and will continue to reach audiences beyond their walls. 

    Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and Museum Tour Bus

    Last November, the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and Museum (LIMHOF) opened the doors to its permanent home in Stony Brook after spending the last few years on wheels. The museum transformed a 38-foot long, 400-square-foot Winnebago, into a tour bus to share Long Island’s music heritage including artists like Pat Benatar, Run DMC, and Billy Joel. 

    “We established the organization almost 20 years ago and had our first induction ceremony in 2006,” said Ernie Canadeo, Chairman of the LIMHOF. “We had some offers for a location for the hall of fame and museum along the way as we worked to establish our permanent home but none of them were the right fit. In 2015 we were offered this 38-foot Winnebago from the county historical society that wasn’t using it any longer so we transformed it into a mobile museum and traveled around Long Island.”

    The floor of the tour bus is covered with album covers featuring Long Island artists like Eddie Money and Public Enemy. One wall has four 65-inch vertical TV monitors that play performances filmed at previous LIMHOF events. Along the opposite wall is the “On the Record” exhibition that includes a video jukebox that displays various album covers with looping  30-second song clips from LIMHOF inductees like Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” and Salt-N-Pepa’s “Whatta Man.”

    Inside the Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame Tour Bus

    The tour bus provided a way for the public to view some of the thousands of collection items that had been in storage for years like Harry Chapin’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Billy Joel’s harmonica while the museum searched for a permanent space. 

    Board Member Kevin O’Callaghan designed the mobile LIMHOF and went on to design the museum’s permanent 8,800 square foot home. O’Callahan was the designer of the iconic “popcorn” trophy for the MTV Movie Awards and has been a design educator at the School of Visual Arts since 1985. 

    The museum tracked attendance and audience demographics of the mobile museum which helped identify its core audience and plan exhibitions for its permanent location.

    “We identified our core audience as people who ranged from their mid-fifties who grew up in the sixties and seventies. That’s why our first exhibition in our permanent home focuses on Long Island’s club scene from the 1960s to the 1980s,” said Canadeo. “Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene: 1960s - 1980s” exhibition is about the nostalgia of a club crawl through the nightclubs on Long Island. 

    The tour bus also helped the museum grow its audience by traveling to festivals, schools, libraries, and community events. 

    The museum is now focusing on sustaining its new permanent location but the tour bus museum remains intact. “Our goal is to keep the bus and continue to bring it around Long Island. It’s part of the next phase for the museum which is to focus on how Long Island became the hotbed of creativity and how diverse the music scene was and continues to be. We’re thinking of creating pop-up museums from the East End into Brooklyn.”


    “Cure Porch on Wheels” Historic Saranac Lake

    Historic Saranac Lake wanted to better serve the residents of Saranac Lake and reach more people in the Adirondack region. In 2019, the museum opened the “Cure Porch on Wheels,” a mobile museum space that hosts arts and cultural activities. 

    The museum was inspired by a presentation at a regional conference in 2010 of another mobile porch created by artist Bryony Graham at Salem Art Works. The “Cure Porch on Wheels” design draws on the American cultural tradition of a front porch as well as early 1900s Saranac Lake which welcomed thousands of tuberculosis patients to come for the “fresh air cure.” Patients would spend most of their time outside on cure porches for the restorative effects of fresh air. “Porches are so much part of our history of tuberculosis curing and fresh air. It’s a huge part of our architecture in our community,” said Amy Catania, Historic Saranac Lake Executive Director.

    In 2009,Historic Saranac Lake rehabilitated The Saranac Laboratory and opened it as a museum. The Saranac Laboratory was built in 1894 and was the first lab in the United States to research tuberculosis. Today, the lab and museum have permanent exhibitions on scientific research and patient care as well as temporary local history exhibitions. “The museum is located in the old tuberculosis factory and we talk a lot about people spending time on cure porches, but we don’t physically have one in this space,” said Catania. “The “Cure Porch on Wheels” was us creating a space for visitors to sit on one of these porches and experience the fresh air.”

    Since opening to the public, the “Cure Porch on Wheels” has hosted numerous programs for Historic Saranac Lake, including a “Live from the Porch!” music series, the Art of the Cure exhibition about the Trudeau Sanatorium and its therapy programs for tuberculosis patients who went on to become artists, writers, and craftspeople, and “The Story Phone” project that uses a reconfigured antique wall phone as a recording booth to capture local stories.

    Catania was interested in building a mobile space that could be shared with other organizations in the region. “I saw it as a space that artists could use or a school for projects. I had this vision of it being a community space.” Since its creation, the “Cure Porch on Wheels” has served as a warming hut for outdoor winter activities and as a studio for plein air painters in addition to its own programming. It’s heated for year-round use, wheelchair accessible, has electrical outlets, and is powered by solar panels.

    The Cure Porch on Wheels at the Winter Carnival, February 2023.

    “Since the beginning, this mobile museum has been about wanting to connect with people without the expectation that they necessarily come to us. If there’s something really neat and traditional happening somewhere that we want to know more about, we bring the porch,” said Catania. Each February, there is an ice fishing contest in Saranac Lake that attracts hundreds of people. Historic Saranac Lake brought the “Cure Porch on Wheels.” “Our program coordinator interviewed people involved with the competition about this event, ice fishing in the region, and more. We were able to collect some oral histories about this tradition in our community and meet people that likely would not come to the museum. This was an ideal use of our mobile museum. It’s super visible, draws attention, and engages with our community.”

    Historic Saranac Lake also brought “Cure Porch on Wheels” to the winter carnival and installed an exhibition of historic images of ice palaces. “It’s participatory too where people can share their thoughts about the current winter carnival or reflect on past ones,” said Catania. Museum staff also distributed museum passes. “It’s sort of a stepping stone to get people to the museum but generally just traveling around and having people notice us and talking about us helps raise awareness for our organization and helps us reach out to the community.”

    Historic Saranac Lake offers detailed plans as well as a general “how we did it” section on its website for other organizations interested in creating a mobile space. “There’s a porch design page on our website that can tell you what kind of trailer to buy, what size frame you’ll need as well as the insurance you’ll need.”

    Currently, Historic Saranac Lake is restoring the former home and medical office of Dr. E. L. Trudeau which will explore the history of the Saranac Lake region and Trudeau’s work in tuberculosis treatment. The project will create a museum campus in an effort to drive arts and culture tourism to the North Country. 

    “I want to take a step back and really talk to the other regional organizations and brainstorm how this mobile space could be of use to them,” said Catania. “It’s important to us that we build ownership in the community and that we’re not competing with each other. We’re asking how can we physically share this mobile space better. Right now it’s parked at the museum but it’s a mobile space and we want it out and about in our community.”


    Lewis Latimer House Mobile Lab

    The Lewis Latimer House Museum in Queens will temporarily close to the public this November as the museum reinstalls a new exhibition and completes restoration work. While the museum is closed, a new mobile museum will open thanks to a collaboration with BioBus, an organization that repurposes school buses to connect students with hands-on science education. “The idea for this collaboration started at a networking event,” said Ran Yan, Lewis Latimer House Museum Executive Director. “I thought that while the museum is closed, we should collaborate and make a mobile museum where we can continue to provide educational tours and programs.” The Lewis Latimer Mobile Lab extends the museum’s Tinker Lab to bring hands-on STEAM activities on the road. 

    Lewis Latimer was an African-American inventor, electrical pioneer, and the son of two formerly enslaved Virginians who were self-liberated. Latimer taught himself mechanical drawing while in the Union Navy and became a chief draftsman, patent expert, and inventor. He played a critical role in the development of the telephone, significantly improved the production of carbon filament, and made important contributions to the commercialization of the incandescent light bulb.

    The mobile lab is divided into two parts. One section is focused on observation and discussion with some hands-on activities. The other is STEM projects. “We designed a scavenger hunt based on the museum’s collections and we’ve brought a couple of items from our teaching collection as well as images of different artifacts from the museum onto the bus” said Yan. There is also a video about Lewis Latimer and the museum. In February, the mobile lab traveled to the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens for an initial programming test. “After that, we refined the curriculum because we were adapting what we usually offer in the museum to the bus, which is a very different space.” 


    4th graders from PS22 outside the Lewis Latimer Mobile Lab

    In May, the mobile lab conducted seven days of programming at three different schools in Queens. “Since this is the beginning phase, we approached schools that we already had relationships with and were able to secure those programming days.” Following the May programs, the museum continued to evaluate and assess the mobile lab. Now, the museum has opened a booking process starting in September, planning around the museum’s block party celebrating the 175th birthday of Lewis Latimer where the mobile lab will be front and center.

    “The mobile lab has great potential of becoming a tool for the museum to reach more people and tell more people about Lewis Latimer,” said Yan. “It’ll never replace the experience of actually visiting the museum, stepping inside this historic landmark, but I think the mobile lab is similar to virtual programs. It doesn’t replace the in-person experience but it’s complementary to that experience. It’s a good way to introduce people to the museum and activities we have. This historic house is small and has limited space so having this mobile lab helps with our physical limitations. It’s also flexible to drive it anywhere and deliver programs. It’s part of our strategy to attract people and engage with them while introducing this history and dynamic legacy of Lewis Latimer.”


    Learn more about the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and Museum: https://www.limusichalloffame.org/museum/ 

    Learn more about Historic Saranac Lake:https://www.historicsaranaclake.org/ 

    Learn more about the Lewis Latimer House Museum: https://www.lewislatimerhouse.org/ 

  • June 27, 2023 8:04 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Supporters,

    When I was 36 years old, my mother bought me a three inch-tall Gumby. For those without much gray hair, Gumby was a claymation TV show character who had a horse named Pokey. The Gumby Show was one of my childhood favorites, especially once we were able to afford a color television and I could see that Gumby was green and Pokey was orange. Eddie Murphy dressed as Gumby in costume on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s (I don’t remember many of those episodes) and Gumby had his own 1995 feature film.  

    Gumby’s essential trait is that he is flexible. My mother’s gift was sent at a time when I needed to learn that flexibility is important to success. I was working at an organization that had just hired their third director in four years and I was suffering from a severe case of priority whiplash. The director who hired me concentrated on audience and community, the second on major donors, and the third on facilities. Projects in which staff had invested years of work were tossed; budgets were cut, then increased; technology was always behind the last update. Leadership did not make time to share their process, and much of the staff did not understand the “why” behind the changes. When I was at the end of a frayed rope, or my mother was tired of my complaints, she sent me a Gumby. 

    A few years ago, I was talking to a colleague who had served in the Marines about organizational change. I enjoyed hearing their perspective about teamwork and project management. As we wrapped up the conversation they said “Semper Gumby” and my heart skipped a beat. They shared that the Marines adopted “Semper Gumby” as an unofficial motto to teach the importance of flexibility. My mom and the Marines were on the same wavelength.

    I believe flexibility is a lesson best learned with an open mind. MANY’s Museum Institute at Great Camp Sagamore is a unique, immersive, and transformative experience where museum professionals learn to build leadership skills and open their minds to change. Over the course of four days in this beautiful, isolated environment, all you will be asked to do is think deeply and participate in learning. You will exchange ideas over breakfast, discuss strategies under the stars, and reflect on shared experiences without the buzz of phones, traffic, or daily life to interrupt your thoughts.

    We are really excited about our Museum Institute at Great Camp Sagamore this year and the different ways our presenters are planning to help attendees learn leadership skills - including flexibility. Someone interested in applying asked us to extend the deadline. So with flexibility in mind, the new deadline for applications to the Re-Thinking Leadership, the 2023 Museum Institute at Great Camp Sagamore is 5 PM on July 5. If you are a mid-career museum professional, I hope you will apply to join us this year. 


    Thank you and Semper Gumby! 

    Erika Sanger, Executive Director


  • June 05, 2023 9:30 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is pleased to announce an open call for five positions on its Board of Directors for the Board Class of 2024-2026 and invites applications for those interested in serving.

    Candidates should be museum professionals who work in New York museums, museum service industries, or for related academic programs; leaders in their museum discipline and in their commitment to advancing the field; and can demonstrate a relationship with the Museum Association of New York.

    The Board Nominating/ Governance Committee has set a priority for people with the following skills:

    • Fundraising and Membership

    • Human Resource Management

    • Facilities

    • Finance 

    The Committee is seeking nominations for museum professionals in the following regions: 

    • Southern Tier

    • Mid-Hudson

    • New York City (two seats)

    • Western NY

    MANY Board members assume certain roles and responsibilities including a financial commitment to the organization. Members of the Board of Directors are responsible for the custody, control, and direction of MANY under NY and federal statutes and regulations and organizational bylaws.

    Click here to read the document outlining those roles and responsibilities. We encourage applicants to discuss the roles and responsibilities with their immediate supervisor or board chair to ensure they have institutional support for their application and potential Board service.

    Members of the Board of Directors work with colleagues to address the challenges and opportunities for museums in the state. MANY is committed to continuing to diversify its Board by geographic region, museum discipline and budget size, differing abilities, skills, race, gender, sexual identity, ethnicity, and age and welcomes applications from people who bring a range of skills and expertise to sustain a dynamic, innovative, and responsive organization.

    MANY staff and Board meet at various locations around the state at least five times a year with one mandatory meeting during the annual conference. Board terms are three years long and are renewable for a second three years. The length of service may change if nominated to serve in an officer capacity. 

    Members of the Board of Directors: 

    • Embrace MANY’s mission and advocate for the field and the organization.

    • Promote diversity in programming, membership, staffing, and board representation.

    • Contribute financially to the organization and/or secure donations.

    • Join MANY as Organizational Members. 

    Applicants must be: 

    • Passionate about MANY’s mission.

    • Comfortable in leadership positions.

    • Known for innovation and creativity.

    • Constructive problem solvers.

    • Happy to share expertise with peers.

    • Familiar with MANY programs.

    To apply to serve on MANY’s Board of Directors, complete and submit the application by clicking here.

    Applications must be submitted by 5 PM on June 30, 2023. 

    Applications will be reviewed by the Committee and selected candidates should expect to participate in an informational discussion with Committee members as part of the application review. The Committee will bring nominations for a full board vote at the September 13, 2023 meeting of the Board of Directors. Applicants will be notified soon after.

    Nominees approved by the board will be put to a vote by the membership in accordance with MANY by-laws.

  • May 31, 2023 11:22 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters,

    When we read responses to annual conference surveys we find at least one lamentation about how someone could not attend one session or another because one session conflicted with another in the schedule. It is truly impossible for anyone who attends a MANY conference to attend every session. The conference is purposefully structured with concurrent sessions to appeal to a range of people at different stages of their careers who are employed by different size museums of different disciplines. We strive to create an environment in which people can talk to each other and think deeply about new ways to work together to advance the field. The conference cannot happen without people who are courageous in their choice to speak out, vulnerable in the face of challenge, and willing to share the spotlight and the microphone with others. 

    When I started working in museums, I was often the youngest person in a meeting, surrounded by colleagues with lifetimes of experience to whom I deferred whether or not I agreed with their statements or choices. About 25 years ago - a time when I would have described myself as a mid-career professional - I was walking to a meeting of the organization’s board of trustees with the Executive Director who took the opportunity to remind me that my role at the meeting was only to listen. On the return walk, I told the Executive Director that a factual error had been made by a trustee about the origins and value of an endowment and asked how we could amend the minutes. I was then harshly criticized for not speaking up with the correct information during the meeting. It was a confusing time for me as I learned to navigate the turbulence created when multigenerational wealth, marginalized culture, and political influence are combined with governance and authority. It took me years to stop self-censoring, regain confidence, and trust that I had a platform from which I could speak out without fear. 

    When we were planning the 2023 conference, we believed that participants would find the things that bring us together outweigh our differences. What I couldn’t imagine was that there were so many people willing to share how they refused to abandon the work of creating a greater good, of trying to tell a complete story without fear of retribution, and how collaborating across institutions leads to lasting connections with communities and colleagues. I am humbled by the generosity of presenters and the willingness of our participants to listen with open minds and open hearts. I remain in awe of the amalgamation of hard work, passion, talent, and experience that creates a MANY conference. 

    I cannot extend enough gratitude to the twenty-five people on MANY’s board of directors who lend their voices, resources, and experiences to form the foundation upon which we create our annual conference. Next week the MANY Governance/Nominating committee will open a call for museum professionals to apply for the five seats on the board of directors that will open in 2024. A new “class” of board members is an exciting opportunity for MANY to grow in new directions. I look forward to seeing how five new board members with strong, courageous, and vulnerable voices can shape MANY’s commitment to create a better future for the museum field. 


    With thanks for your support, 

    Erika Sanger

  • May 31, 2023 11:12 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    By Ross D. Levi, Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director, NYS Division of Tourism / I LOVE NY

    Ross Levi speaking at the Museum Association of New York 2023 annual conference in Syracuse, New York. Photo by Daylight Blue Media.

    It was great to be with so many members of New York’s museum community earlier this spring at the MANY Annual Conference in Syracuse. Museums continue to be such a vital part of the state’s tourism ecosystem, and I LOVE NY works hard through our programs, initiatives, and enhancements to inspire travel domestically and internationally to our museums and other cultural attractions. 

    For the past several years, we’ve worked to bounce back from the global pandemic’s impact and move forward promoting our great state. New York State welcomed 220 million visitors in 2021 who contributed more than $52 billion in direct spending. That’s nearly an $18 billion increase in visitor spending over the prior year, and a recovery to about 71% of 2019 levels. Across New York, tourism is improving from the record lows during COVID shutdowns of 2020, even if it has not yet rebounded to pre-pandemic record highs. 

    New York State tourism generated close to $7.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2021, saving each household an average of $1,010 in taxes. This number is down only a couple hundred dollars from 2019's record highs and shows just how important the tourism industry is to New Yorkers. Tourism remains the state’s third-largest private sector employer, supporting 850,041 jobs in 2022 – literally 1 in 10 of all jobs in New York. 

    As the official destination marketing organization for New York State, the Division of Tourism at Empire State Development works to keep that momentum going. Under the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul and with the support of our legislative partners, we promote travel to New York State through marketing, product development and program initiatives under the iconic I LOVE NY logo. Our program is multi-faceted with several departments working in sync to create the global awareness of everything our great state has to offer. 

    The evidence shows that I LOVE NY’s consumer marketing approach has been successful in the past. So, even while emerging from COVID, we did not need to drastically revamp our strategy, and instead continue to aggressively spread the word about New York as an amazing travel destination. We started our seasonal campaigns sooner and ran multiple executions to reach a wider audience and feature more great examples of New York State tourism attractions. We created assets and content that make it easier for travelers to research and plan a getaway, from our paid advertising to our digital program, public relations, experiential events and tourism segments. 

    We execute paid seasonal advertising through TV, radio, print, digital and out-of-home, featuring destinations, attractions, and experiences across the state for the summer, fall and winter travel seasons.  

    Our digital footprint is one of the strongest in the nation among destination marketing organizations. Our website - iloveny.com - is the hub for all aspects of planning a New York State vacation and has seen 60% year-over-year traffic growth driven by advertising and organic search, bolstered by robust original editorial content. We have a combined presence of over two million followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. Content features top destinations, hidden gems and activity compilations statewide. 

    We continue to pitch destinations and host press trips with travel media to keep New York State top of mind. We hosted over 30 individual press trips since May 2022 and engaged journalists with authentic human-interest angles - BIPOC, LGBTQ and female storytellers who are creating news and amplifying the New York story. I LOVE NY media events held multiple times a year showcase seasonal attractions and activities. Last year, we hosted over 100 travel journalists at our events. We continue to see coverage in top outlets such as US News & World Report, Thrillist, CNN Travel, and Conde Nast Traveler

    This summer’s new 2023 I LOVE NY experiential marketing tour will build on last year's successful campaign, highlighting New York State destinations at festivals and special events. The tour ran from June to September covering 45 activation days at over 12 events across the state. We collected over 10,000 unique leads across 40 zip codes – even averaging four countries per event.

    Ross Levi speaking during the I LOVE NY 2022 Summer Media Night at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

    I LOVE NY Black Travel Initiative

    Our segment tourism programs are pillars within the I LOVE NY program. New this year, the I LOVE NY Black travel initiative was announced by Governor Hochul this past February. The goal is to grow New York State tourism and encourage visitation, recognizing that Black travelers represent more than 13% of the domestic leisure travel market and spend over $109 billion annually. In a survey of Black travelers, 64% reported that the availability of Black culture and heritage attractions is important when making a destination choice. Another survey reported that diversity in marketing is a top factor when choosing a travel destination, with 54% of U.S. Black travelers more likely to visit a destination with Black representation in advertising. 

    The Black tourism initiative is the latest in our segment tourism programs. It’s been nine years since we launched the I LOVE NY LGBTQ program. Last year, we participated in Pride events in Buffalo, Albany, Rochester, Harlem, New York City, Fire Island and Syracuse, supported by a marketing campaign encouraging visitation to those LGBTQ events across the state.

    Governor Hochul's announcement of the I LOVE NY Black Travel program at the Alvin Alley Theater, NYC.

    Accessible NY

    New York was also one of the first states in the nation with an accessible tourism program. We launched Accessible NY in July 2020 to promote destinations that offer accessibility features covering a range of needs including mobility, cognitive, hearing and visual. We were able to assemble listings from over 145 attractions that identify potential areas of accessibility that travelers are looking for when making travel plans, which are now featured on iloveny.com. 

    Path Through History

    Path Through History is New York’s heritage tourism program with 14 distinct themes that come alive at attractions all across New York State. Twice a year, those attractions host special events from reenactments to artistic performances during Path Through History Weekends, confirmed this year for June 17-19 and October 7-9. Museums, historical attractions and sites can submit Path Through History events for consideration on the iloveny.com website. 

    Lockport Lock in Lockport, NY a Path Through History Location

    International Travel Trade Program

    I LOVE NY’s international travel trade program is responsible for sales efforts, marketing, and public relations efforts, encouraging global travelers to spend more time exploring the extensive range of visitor experiences across New York’s 11 travel regions. We have signed three new agencies to serve as our I LOVE NY offices in Australia, United Kingdom, and Germany, and retained our Canadian representation. We attend major international travel show and continue to promote the state with international tour operators and the travel trade.

    Domestic Travel 

    We have recently added the domestic travel trade as an I LOVE NY focus, doing sales outreach, attending trade shows and hosting familiarization tours for tour operators and event producers in the meetings, conferences, exhibition, group travel and amateur sport spaces.

    Market New York Grant Program

    We know at I LOVE NY that in order to keep New York tourism strong, we need a strong tourism industry. For example, we work to support our local and regional tourism partners with grant opportunities. Market New York supports regionally themed marketing projects that promote tourism destinations, attractions, and special events, as well as tourism facility capital improvement projects. It has an annual cycle where in recent years $15 million in matching funds has been available to not-for-profit corporations, municipalities, tourism promotional agencies, public benefit corporations and for-profit companies. In 2022, nearly 70 projects were awarded matching grants for tourism marketing and capital projects.

    The new round of Market New York is now open, and I encourage the museum community to apply for funding for projects like marketing campaigns, creating or bringing a new exhibition to the state or even new construction or renovation needs. Information on Market New York is available at esd.ny.gov, and there is also an informational webinar on June 14. Anyone interested can register here.

    COVID-19 Relief Programs

    We have also managed two COVID-19 Relief Programs which are soon coming to an end. The first, Return-to-Work, supports employment growth by providing financial assistance to businesses in the tourism industry that added new jobs. The second, Meet in New York, helps underwrite discounts on meeting space provided by convention centers and event venues, and on blocks of hotel rooms offered in conection with events. The last date for applications for both programs is June 30, 2023, though qualifying special events can take place as late as Decemeber 2025. Go to esd.ny.gov for more information and see if your organization qualifies.

    Educational Programming

    We also work to support the state’s tourism industry through educational programming. This year we hosted webinars on preparing for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse and tourism connected to the Underground Railroad in New York State, as well as an all-day workshop on the state of international tourism. We plan on hosting additional educational programs in the upcoming months. If you’d like to be added to our industry list to hear about these opportunities, please email info@iloveny.com.

    Workforce Development

    We also recognize how important workforce development is to the health of our industry. I LOVE NY partnered with the New York State Department of Labor to host another year of free, tourism specific virtual job fairs, the most recent preparing for the upcoming summer season. Businesses and non-profit institutions have expressed their positive feedback for this opportunity to reach potential employees. If you’d like to participate in a future job fair, please contact info@iloveny.com.

    Finally, we also serve our role as the state’s tourism office by developing public policy that helps make New York State more hospitable for tourism. We stay connected to a myriad of  sister state agencies to coordinate messaging and programming, including the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York State Council for the Arts, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Agriculture and Markets, Olympic Regional Development Authority and Canal Corporation.

    I LOVE NY is very appreciative of what our state’s unparalleled museum community does to provide engaging, memory-making experiences for travelers. We seek to support you in bringing more people to experience all you have to offer, and welcome your assistance in helping us help you. 

    • Please keep us informed of your latest developments so we can amplify them through our promotional channels by staying in touch with your county Tourism Promotion Agency (TPA). 

    • Work with the TPA to make sure you have an updated listing in the iloveny.com database, including current photos. This allows us to include you in our website, mobile app, travel guide and other collateral.

    • Let us know about your accessible information by filling out our accessibility survey. Email ilnyaccessible@esd.ny.gov for more information.

    • Keep us informed of your PR efforts by sending releases and imagery to thebeat@esd.ny.gov, which will highlight your news in our online press room and other I LOVE NY digital assets. 

    • Connect with your Regional Economic Development Council so they know the importance of museums in keeping communities strong, including the economic benefit they bring by attracting travelers. 

    • Engage with I LOVE NY social media posts. 

    • Host a Path Through History Weekend event or even become a Path Through History attraction.

    • Apply for the Market New York and other applicable funding programs. 

    • Attend I LOVE NY educational webinars or host a free virtual booth at I LOVE NY job fairs. 

    • Lastly, cross-pollinate and promote across regions. Connect with hotels, restaurants and other attractions to further spread the word about what awaits visitors to your area.


    We look forward to continuing our partnership with MANY and our state’s museum community to expand our mutual success and help museum lovers find more of what they love here in New York State.


  • May 09, 2023 9:35 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


    Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters,

    I am pleased to share the news that the 2023/24 New York State Budget included $1M in funding for The Museum Study Act. The department of economic development, in conjunction with other departments and entities, will conduct a comprehensive study of public and private museums and report their findings and recommendations.

    The study will identify and gather data about all museums in the state including size, hours of operation, visitor statistics, funding sources and amounts, and the subjects of their collections. The resulting report will help illustrate economic and social impacts, quantify needs, and recommend systems to ensure equitable distribution of state funds. It will help communities, legislative representatives, and individual supporters learn about the missions, audiences, and funding needs of our state's museums.

    “From world famous institutions like the Metropolitan Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Baseball Hall of Fame to treasured history collections and local cultural hubs, museums have long been synonymous with New York State. Despite the fame and significant economic impact, our museum sector has actually had no real “home” in the New York State government,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “In this year’s state budget, legislation I sponsored with Senator Jeremy Cooney was included to study and document how the state currently does and does not fund our some 1,500 museums and provide a pathway to ensuring these beloved institutions in every corner of the state have the support and stability to flourish long into the future. I want to thank the Museum Association of New York, the Speaker and my Assembly colleagues for their support of this important study.”

    Too many of our museums operate in a culture of scarcity, struggling to pay bills and wondering each year how they will keep their doors open. Museums need support to ensure the protection of their collections, to strengthen their roles as community education partners chartered by New York State’s Education Department, and to grow their role as economic engines generating $5.37B to the state's economy.

    “New York State is the proud home of world class museums, both large and small. More importantly, they are part of the fabric of our communities across the entire state,” said NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney. “As important as museums are to New York, these institutions lack an established funding structure in state government. I am proud this year’s budget included allocated funding for a multi-agency team to conduct a study of public and private museums to ensure the protection of collections and an equitable funding structure in the future.”

    MANY is deeply grateful for the efforts and support of bill author and sponsor, Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Senate bill sponsor Senator Jeremy A. Cooney, all of our legislators that supported the nearly unanimous passage of the bill in 2022, and Governor Hochul for including this critical investment in the 2023-24 NYS budget.

    Please take a moment out of your busy schedules to thank your Assemblymember and NYS Senator for their support of The Museum Study Act.

    I promise to keep you informed as we learn more about the study planning and implementation.


    With thanks for your support and your advocacy,


    Erika Sanger

    Executive Director, Museum Association of New York

    Click here to see the bill language

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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