Log in

My Profile

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!


  • 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 - - 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 

    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 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, 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 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

    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

    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 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 for more information.

    • Keep us informed of your PR efforts by sending releases and imagery to, 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

  • May 02, 2023 1:15 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Museum Association of New York awarded $499,988 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and $120,000 from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation  to support a state-wide humanities discussion program series

    [Troy, NY]—The Museum Association of New York (MANY) is pleased to announce a new initiative to help museums in New York State amplify the role that our state and people have played in the development of American democracy as we approach the Semiquincentennial. 

    In the latest grant funding for humanities projects, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded MANY $499,988 to support “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy,” produced in partnership with Humanities New York (HNY). The series will use the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street Exhibition Voices and Votes: Democracy in America as a launching point to support the work of twelve museums and their communities to explore, reflect on, and tell the story of their role in the evolution of American Democracy and envision the future of our nation.

    “These 258 newly funded projects demonstrate the vitality of the humanities across our nation,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “NEH is proud to support exemplary education, preservation, media, research, and infrastructure projects that expand resources for Americans, support humanities programs and opportunities for underserved students and communities, and deepen our understanding of our history, culture, and society.”

    “The lives of New Yorkers are richer because of our commitment to education, humanities, the arts, and preserving the history and culture of our state,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This $499,988 in federal NEH funding will keep this proud tradition alive and help ensure our communities can continue learning from New York’s many wonderful educational and research institutions. I will always fight to support these essential community institutions and to make educational and cultural opportunities more accessible for all.”

    “Our state’s museums are integral parts of our communities, serving as educational, historical, and cultural resources for residents in every part of our state,” said Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20). “With that in mind, I’m thrilled to celebrate this significant infusion of federal funding that will allow the Museum Association of New York (MANY) to create museum spaces where visitors can explore the context and controversies behind our democratic system. This investment will allow MANY to install a Smithsonian exhibition at twelve museums across New York State that will help communities facilitate thought-provoking discussions about the roots and responsibilities of our democracy. Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve been a strong supporter of museums in our region and beyond. I’m proud to lend my support to this worthy and timely project.”

    Adapted from American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Voices and Votes includes historical and contemporary photographs; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material. 

    MANY is New York State’s representative of the MoMS program, an outreach program of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service that brings traveling exhibitions, educational resources, and programming across America to communities through local museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues.

    “We’re excited to collaborate once again with the Museum Association of New York, to share the wealth of the Smithsonian’s research on democracy in America,” said Carol Harsh, Director of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. “As one of the original thirteen colonies, New York was at the heart of the American experiment to create a government of, by, and for the people. The support from the NEH will expand the reach of Voices and Votes and help communities amplify their own local history.” 

    The exhibition will open at Preservation Long Island in March 2024 then travel to Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, National Women’s Hall of Fame and Museum, Robert H. Jackson Center,  the Munson in Utica, Alice Austen House, Long Island Museum, Onondaga Historical Association and Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center, Genesee Country Village and Museum, Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, Chemung County Historical Society, and concludes at the Underground Railroad Education Center in Albany in January 2026.

    Each museum will display the Smithsonian exhibition and produce an exhibition drawn from their own collection that relates to their community’s role in the development and advancement of democracy in America. Smithsonian resources available to the twelve museums will include digital learning curricula and communication tools. MANY staff will organize the exhibition travel, and help each museum plan, implement, and evaluate the exhibitions and interpretive programs.  

    The William G. Pomeroy Foundation will add $120,000 to the NEH’s award for this 30-month-long project that will support public events, community exhibitions, free public lectures, workshops for teachers, and community for discussion programs at the twelve museums. “As we look forward to the U.S. Semiquincentennial in 2026, the Smithsonian’s Voices and Votes exhibition is an exciting and relevant opportunity to engage people in the history of democracy in America,” said Deryn Pomeroy, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Pomeroy Foundation. “We are thrilled to provide a grant to MANY in support of bringing the exhibit to twelve host sites throughout New York State. This initiative will further enhance the ways in which these outstanding organizations serve their audiences and communities with meaningful conversations related to history, democracy, and our nation’s 250th anniversary.”

    The project will help the museums build their capacity to engage with their communities with access to consulting and advising scholars, a project fellow dedicated to program support, New York State Museum education and curatorial staff, AASLH’s Vital Resources program, training by HNY staff in leading Community Conversations, and a subscription to the OurStoryBridge virtual platform to collect and share oral histories about voting and democracy in their communities. 

    HNY is an instrumental project partner who will share their expertise in developing and leading community conversations and their deep connections to humanities scholarship and audience development. “The New Agora invites New Yorkers to revive and redefine democratic practice in the twenty-first century,” said Joseph Murphy, Director of Grant-Making at Humanities New York. “Humanities New York is proud to join The Museum Association of New York in revitalizing the experiment in self-government, offering all New Yorkers a space in which to exercise the habits of democracy and reflect—in critical and respectful ways—upon our past, present and future. We wanted to support this opportunity to strengthen the public humanities across our state.”

    Teacher training workshops will be organized by New York State Museum Senior Historian and Curator of Political and Military History Aaron Noble, Senior Historian and Curator of Social History Ashley Hopkins-Benton, Museum Instructors James Jenkins and Kathleen Morehouse, and Director of Education Kathryn Weller. Workshops will connect exhibition content to New York State Learning Standards and create a teacher training program that encourages hands-on and inquiry-based classroom learning. 

    “Museums have a crucial role in society’s civic education,” said Aaron Noble, Senior Historian and Curator of Political and Military History at the New York State Museum. “The New York State Museum looks forward to collaborating with the Museum Association of New York and cultural organizations across the state on this exciting initiative to highlight museums as critical gathering spaces for civic engagement and conversations about American democracy.”

    "OurStoryBridge is honored to contribute to MANY's upcoming project for the Semiquincentennial,” said Jery Y. Huntley, Founder and President of OurStoryBridge Inc. “Our methodology is a great fit to help share America's personal narratives on democracy online and to reach wide and diverse audiences. Thank you MANY for all that you are doing! So proud to be a part of this!" 

    Each site will host the Voices and Votes exhibition for six weeks. To learn more about A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy and the Voices and Votes MoMS exhibition, visit

    For exhibition images, visit

    For host site images, visit 

    Project Participants and Host Sites

    (in exhibition tour order)

    Preservation Long Island

    Preservation Long Island works with Long Islanders to preserve the cultural heritage of the region. They were founded in 1948 in response to intense post-World War II development with a mission to preserve individual historic buildings and artifacts through the creation of house museums. Today, Preservation Long Island advances the importance of historic preservation in the region through advocacy, education, and stewardship. 

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be on view March 24 to May 3, 2024 at Preservation Long Island's Headquarters, an 1842 re-purposed church in Cold Spring Harbor that now serves as their office, library, and exhibition gallery. 

    Sackets Harbor Battlefield, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

    Following the outbreak of war between the United States and Great Britain in June 1812, Sackets Harbor became the center of American naval and military activity for the upper St. Lawrence Valley and Lake Ontario. Today the Sackets Harbor Battlefield is interpreted to the public with exhibitions, guided and self-guided tours, and a restored 1850's Navy Yard and Commandant's House. During the summer months, guides dressed in military clothing of 1813 reenact the camp life of the common soldier.

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be installed May 17 to June 28, 2024 in an 1817 limestone structure that originally functioned as the Union Hotel. 

    National Women's Hall of Fame

    The National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s first and oldest nonprofit organization and museum dedicated to honoring and celebrating the achievements of distinguished American women. In August 2020, the National Women’s Hall of Fame moved into the historic Seneca Knitting Mill which operated from 1844 until 1999. Their comprehensive programming and beautiful museum on the banks of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal uses the stories of its 302 Inductees to inspire and engage all who visit.   

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented from July 12 to August 23, 2024 on the newly renovated second floor of the Hall. 

    Robert H. Jackson Center

    The Center advances the legacy of Justice Robert H. Jackson through live presentations, exhibitions, multimedia, research, and scholarship that demonstrates the relevance and applicability of Justice Jackson’s ideas to present and future generations. Their programs are based on Jackson’s views on international law, constitutional law, and human and civil rights with special emphasis on educating youth on issues of justice and the rule of law.

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented from September 6 to October 18 as part of their annual Constitution Day programming.


    Founded in 1919, Munson’s Museum of Art features a renowned permanent collection, rotating exhibitions, and education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. Munson believes in the power of the arts and serves their entire community with essential experiences that inspire personal and cultural transformation. Munson will partner with the Oneida County History Center to produce their local exhibition. 

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be installed November 11 to December 13, 2024 in the 1960 Philip Johnson-designed Museum of Art building.

    Alice Austen House Museum

    The Alice Austen House keeps the bold spirit of the early American photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952) alive by presenting changing exhibitions of her pioneering historic photographs, providing education programs for students, and offering a range of cultural programs for the public. The museum is a New York City and National Landmark, on the Register of Historic Places and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s distinctive group of Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios. In 2017, they were designated a National site of LGBTQ History.

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be installed December 27, 2024 to February 7, 2025 in newly renovated galleries within the Victorian Gothic Cottage that served as Austen’s home. 

    The Long Island Museum

    The Long Island Museum cares for significant regional art and historic collections and maintains one of the most important museum collections of historic horse-drawn vehicles in the nation. A leading cultural institution and the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the region, the Museum is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages through the heritage of Long Island and its diverse communities. Historic buildings from the Stony Brook community were gathered by the museum’s founders onto the site to create the foundation for its current multi-structure complex. 

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented in the Visitor Center/History Museum’s Cowles Gallery from February 21 to April 4, 2025.

    Onondaga Historical Association / Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center

    The Onondaga Historical Association’s archives and collections give perspective on significant social, political, and religious movements in Central New York. The historical association operates a history museum in the urban center of Syracuse and a Haudenosaunee Cultural Center, the Skä-ñonh: Great Law of Peace Center, in Liverpool. The Center is focused on telling the story of the native peoples of Central New York through the lens of the Onondaga Nation, the keepers of the Central Fire. The Onondagas, or People of the Hills, are the spiritual and political center of the Haudenosaunee, where American democracy began.

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented at the Skä-ñonh: Great Law of Peace Center from April 18 to May 30, 2025.

    Genesee Country Village and Museum

    Opened to the public in 1976, America’s Bicentennial, Genesee Country Village and Museum is the largest living history museum in New York State and the third largest in the United States, covering 600 acres with 68 historic buildings and more than 20,000 artifacts telling the story of New York State and 19th-century America. The museum's interpretation includes the contributions of women, religious groups, and the Black and Indigenous communities. Since 1999, the museum has partnered with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to host Citizenship and Naturalization ceremonies. 

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented at the John L. Wehle Gallery from June 3 to July 25, 2025. 

    Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission

    The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission is the gateway to resident and visitor experiences about Buffalo’s rich African American history. The Commission illuminates its vibrant neighborhoods, shops, restaurants, people, and institutions, as well as its significant impact on local, national, and international history and brings attention to the resilience of Black communities across our nation. From the Buffalo Anti-Slavery Movement and the Niagara Movement to the Civil Rights Movement and the Jazz Age— leaders in the Corridor understood the importance of democracy and the need for African Americans and women to have the power to vote. 

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented at The Michigan Street Baptist Church, the oldest church built by African Americans in Buffalo from August 8 to September 19, 2025.  

    Chemung County Historical Society

    Founded in 1923, the Chemung County Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the history of the Chemung Valley region. First chartered by New York State in 1947, today CCHS operates two cultural repositories, the Chemung Valley History Museum and the Booth Library. They are the largest general history museum in the Southern Tier telling the history of Elmira and Chemung County with interactive exhibits, educational programming, and lectures for visitors of all ages. Their collections include records that document voting, elections, and politics. They are also the repository for the records of the local NAACP. 

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented at the Chemung Valley History Museum from October 3 to November 14, 2025. 

    Underground Railroad Education Center

    Inspired by the reclamation of the voices of the Underground Railroad activists written out of American history, the Underground Railroad Education Center (UREC) seeks to empower multi-age, diverse audiences through education, dialogue, and program experiences to learn about the work of historic justice activists and explore their relationship with us today. Located in the history Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, a headquarters for Underground Railroad activity in the Caption Region in the mid-1850s, UREC places the work of the Black abolitionists in their national and international context and relates their work to today's justice efforts.

    The Voices and Votes exhibition will be presented in the newly built Interpretive Center of Underground Railroad Education Center from November 28, 2025 to January 9, 2026. 

    # # #

    About the Museum Association of New York

    The Museum Association of New York is the only statewide museum service organization with more than 700 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Visit www.nysmuseums.organd follow MANY on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @nysmuseums 

    About the National Endowment for the Humanities

    Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

    About the William G. Pomeroy Foundation

    The William G. Pomeroy Foundation® is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and working to improve the probability of finding appropriate donor matches or other life-saving treatments for blood cancer patients. Established by Trustee Bill Pomeroy in 2005 to bring together his two greatest passions, the Pomeroy Foundation is a private, philanthropic organization located in Syracuse, N.Y. As the nation’s leading funder of historic roadside markers, the Pomeroy Foundation has awarded more than 2,100 grants for markers and bronze plaques in 48 states and Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Pomeroy Foundation, visit

    About Humanities New York

    Using dialogue, reflection, and critical thinking, Humanities New York applies the humanities to strengthen democratic society. Established in 1975 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities New York is a private 501(c)(3) organization that may receive federal, state, and private funding. To learn more about Humanities New York, visit
  • March 28, 2023 12:25 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

    In 2022, MANY adopted a new strategic plan, revised its by-laws and personnel policy, and changed the board of directors’ terms to align with the organization’s fiscal year. In April, Brian Lee Whisenhunt became President of the Board of Directors and Dr. Georgette Grier-Key and Bruce Whitmarsh Co-Vice Presidents as part of an organizational shift to support future leadership transitions. 

    We welcomed six new members of the Board of Directors:

    Beth Ann Balalos, Access and Inclusion Program Director, Long Island Children’s Museum

    Samantha Hall Saladino, Executive Director, Fulton County Historical Society

    Dr. Callie Johnson, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Buffalo AKG Art Museum

    Nick Martinez, Assistant Director of Youth Initiatives, American Museum of Natural History

    Victoria Reisman, Curator, Bureau of Historic Sites, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 

    Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director, Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages

    In January, we reorganized our staff structure and in March hired Amelia Whitworth, a highly experienced business administrator who has streamlined processes and enhanced tracking and reporting capacity. Our social media continues to grow under the expertise of Megan Eves, Assistant Director for Programs and Communications. The number of followers across four platforms grew to 25,812, a 20% increase over 2021 and a remarkable 72% growth since the end of 2018. The American Alliance of Museums awarded Executive Director Erika Sanger the 2022 Advocacy Leadership Award for her work on behalf of museums in New York and across the nation.  

    The annual conference “Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation” was held in Corning April 9–12. It was the first time many museum professionals gathered in-person since March 2020 and the organization’s first full conference since 2019. Despite the challenges producing this event, it was sold out with Covid-restricted attendance of 300 people.

    Virtual programs continue to allow us to expand our service to the field. NY museum professionals comprise 40-60% of the audience for virtual programs and 80% of attendees were not MANY members. From January to August, we partnered with Museum Hue to produce “Museums Support Democracy” a 7-part webinar series attended by 869 people from 48 states and 8 countries. The series was produced with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Humanities NY. 

    From October to December, we produced a 6-part webinar series “Meet MANY Online” that featured six of the highest-rated presentations from the 2022 annual conference. The series was attended by 722 people from 45 states and 8 countries.

    The regranting partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts allowed MANY to reach 102 museums with a total of $500,981 in grants. We are grateful for the Pomeroy Foundation’s continued support for the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History that allowed MANY to grant 20 museums $5,000 each towards education programs. 

    MANY also served 96 museums and their 179 staff members through the IMLS Cares Act funded project “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility” with hundreds of hours of training and program support. 

    The Museum Study Act passed the New York State legislature unanimously (minus one) in 2022 with overwhelming support from several state agencies. The Governor’s veto noted that the legislature would need to appropriate funds for it to be signed. Actions to that end are already in motion. 

    We closed 2022 with 733 members, a 6% increase. This growth and the generosity of our donors and industry partners helped us to achieve a net income of $22,112.59.  With the support of our board of directors that now more closely reflects the diversity of those who call New York home and thousands of museum professionals who rely on our services and programs, MANY is stronger today than anyone could have imagined. 

    With thanks for helping to make 2022 such a success,

    Erika Sanger

    Executive Director

    Museum Association of New York

    Brian Lee Whisenhunt

    President, Board of Directors

    Museum Association of New York

    Executive Director, The Rockwell Museum

    Click here to download the 2022 annual report.

  • March 15, 2023 9:45 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    The Museum Association of New York [MANY] is proud to announce that 25 museum professionals from across New York State will attend the 2023 annual conference “Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement” in Syracuse, NY, April 15-18 with full scholarship support. Scholarships include conference registration, travel, workshop or special event registration, and complimentary individual MANY membership for one year. Most scholarships include hotel accommodation.

    Awardees were selected through a competitive application process. Applications were reviewed by a panel that included members of MANY’s board of directors. We look forward to welcoming these exceptional professionals to Syracuse and with the support of our donors, expanding MANY’s service to the field with the growth of our scholarship program. 

    2023 Scholarship Awards

    BIPOC Museum Professional in Museum Administration

    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.

    Sophie Lo, Deputy Director, Museum at Eldridge Street

    John Sapida, Manager of Digital Initiatives, American Museum of Natural History

    Cassetti Scholarship

    Awarded to a museum professional who has demonstrated creative leadership and has affected significant, positive change in the ways in which their museum engages with audiences.

    Ran Yan, Executive Director, Lewis Latimer House

    William G. Pomeroy Foundation Scholarship

    Sponsored by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for museum professionals working in a history-related NYS museum with an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less and who have not attended a MANY annual conference in the past.

    Carol Anne Barsody, Operations Manager, The Three Bears Historic Complex, Ovid

    Carlene Bermann, Interim Executive Director/Collections Manager, St. Lawrence County Historical Association

    Jennifer Corby, Executive Director, The Phelps Mansion Museum

    Jamie Dangler, President, Homeville Board of Trustees, Homeville Museum

    Zachary Greenfield, Archives & Collections Coordinator, Chenango County Historical Society

    Nicole Herwig, Executive Director, Chapman Museum

    Melissa Kiewiet, Interim Director, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance

    Emily Malley, Assistant Director, Tinker Homestead & Farm Museum at Tinker Nature Park

    Cole Mullin, Office Manager, Lewis County Historical Society

    Joanne Weir, Vice President/Curator, Nanticoke Valley Historical Society

    Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation for museum professionals employed by museums and historical societies on Long Island with an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less and who have not attended a MANY annual conference in the past.

    Courtney Chambers, Director, Sea Cliff Village Museum

    Jonathan Cope, Assistant to the Executive Director, Montauk Historical Society

    Ariana Garcia-Cassani, Assistant of Communications and Development, Montauk Historical Society

    Mari Irizarry, Director, Three Village Historical Society

    Lindsey Steward-Goldberg, Education Coordinator, Three Village Historical Society

    Ayelet Pearl, Community Engagement Coordinator, Voelker Orth Museum

    Central NY Community Foundation Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Central NY Community Foundation for museum professionals working in Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego, Cortland or Madison Counties.

    Emma Dailey, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Seward House Museum

    Kate Grindstaff, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Seward House Museum

    Derrick Pratt, Director of Education & Public Programming, Erie Canal Museum

    Karyn Radcliffe, Collections Manager, Cayuga Museum of History and Art

    Museum Professional in a Facilities Position Scholarship

    Sponsored by Fireline Corporation, this scholarship is awarded to a museum professional working in a facilities position at a NYS museum. 

    Colin Brady, Director of Operations, Poster House

    Syracuse University Alumni Museum Professional Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Graduate Program in Museum Studies, School of Design, Syracuse University, this scholarship is awarded to a museum professional who is a graduate of Syracuse University and working at a NYS museum. 

    Emma Rathe, Manager of Programs and Exhibition Production, George Eastman Museum

    Following the conference, scholarship recipients will share their conference experience which may be selected to be included in MANY's This Month in NYS Museums e-newsletter.

    The 2023 annual conference will be hosted in Syracuse, NY from April 15 to 18. To learn more, please visit:

    # # #

    About the Museum Association of New York

    The Museum Association of New York is the only statewide museum service organization with more than 750 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Visit and follow MANY on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @nysmuseums 

  • February 22, 2023 8:43 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Eleanor Roosevelt voting in 1936, less than twenty years after the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. FDR Library Photo

    Dear Friends, Members, and Colleagues,

    I don’t remember who was on the ballot the first time I voted, but I remember the challenge of finding my polling place - a community meeting room in the basement of an apartment building - on a rainy night in New York City. The room was lit with flickering fluorescent bulbs and the floor was covered with gray linoleum tile. It took the poll volunteer who sat on a metal folding chair behind a metal folding table a long time to find me in a very large register. I signed my name and waited behind a stanchion until a booth with a curtain opened up and someone walked out. Only then was I allowed to cross the room and enter the booth. I remember pushing all the little levers and then pulling the big lever that recorded my vote and opened the curtain. 

    Those machines are long gone. Now I vote using a black marker on a printed form scanned into an electronic reader. My polling place is the back room of a volunteer fire station located at the second of two traffic lights in my hamlet. My vote feels very meaningful in this purple district and I have been known to be among the first at the polling site. My faith in our nation’s democracy is tied to my commitment to vote. 

    MANY wants to help museums draw connections from their communities to the history of Democracy in America and build their capacity to commemorate the Semiquincentennial by hosting Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, an exhibition produced by the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service program, Museum on Main Street. The exhibition includes historical and contemporary photographs, archival and contemporary video, engaging multimedia interactives, games, and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest materials. It is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith. It also includes a section where visitors can record stories about their first voting experience. 

    I believe this project has the potential to change the way we all tell the story of New York’s contribution to American Democracy. With this exhibition on view, New York’s museums can become places where people can participate in discussions about the history and future of our nation. Museums selected to host Voices and Votes will also produce a small, responsive exhibition drawn from their collections. It could tell the story of how someone in their community created positive change for our nation or re-contextualize an important event. Exhibitions may be installed in the museum together or separately in a partner space like a library or school.  

    2019 was the first time New York State participated in the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program. MANY traveled the Water/Ways exhibition almost 800 miles to six museums where 24,000 people saw the exhibition and learned about New York’s relationship with water. Participating museums saw a 40-60% increase in the number of visitors, equally divided between community members and tourists. 

    Participation is by application due March 17. You can learn more about how to apply on our website. We do ask for a financial commitment to help us travel the exhibition professionally, but we are committed to raising funds to help offset expenses. We have also applied to the NEH for a Humanities Discussion grant titled “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy.” The project is connected to the NEH’s “A More Perfect Union” initiative and based on the concept of an ancient Greek Agora - both an assembly of people and the physical setting in which they gathered. 

    Between now and March 17, Megan Eves and I will be attending a national planning meeting with the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street program and visiting A Great Leap of Faith exhibition at the National Museum of American History. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about Voices and Votes, the proposed Humanities Discussion programs, and the museum selection process, but in exchange, I may ask you to tell me about the first or last time you voted.

    With thanks, e

  • February 22, 2023 8:41 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    In 2022, the Louis Armstrong House Museum was awarded $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create Mapping Jazz and Hip-Hop in Queens, an interactive digital project that explores the history of jazz and hip-hop. The project will use a multi-platform digital experience including a museum exhibition and a web/mobile interactive to examine how Queens’  prolific jazz community significantly influenced the rise of hip-hop.  The platforms will facilitate individual visitors’ experiences as they explore the neighborhoods that cultivated jazz and hip-hop for over a hundred years. 


    The project follows the massive digitization in 2018 of the museum’s entire archives supported by a grant from the Robert F. Smith and the Fund II Foundation. Smith, who is on the Louis Armstrong House Museum’s board of trustees, approached the museum in 2015 about creating a digital archive that would offer an online glimpse ino Louis Armstong’s daily life and continue Armstong’s mission to preserve African American history. The museum applied for a grant in 2016 through the Fund II Foundation and was awarded a total of $3 million. $2.7 million was allocated to digitization efforts and $300,000 supported the hiring of two full-time museum fellows from historically Black universities to help with digitization. The fellows worked alongside Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections and Sarah Rose, Manager of Research Collections.

    “It was a huge process but now our entire collection is publicly accessible to anyone 24 hours a day, ” said Regina Bain, Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The museum’s collection is comprised of eleven different collections totaling more than 60,000 items, making it the largest archive of any jazz musician. 

    “The biggest collection is the Louis Armstrong Collection, which is comprised of all of the things that were in the house when Louis lived in the house including past recordings, and pictures -  all of those things have been digitized,” said Bain.

    The Louis Armstrong Collection also contains Louis and his wife Lucille’s personal collection of 1,600 recordings, 650 home-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, 86 scrapbooks, 5,000 photographs, 270 sets of band parts, 12 linear feet of papers, letters and manuscripts, 5 trumpets, 14 mouthpieces, and 120 awards and plaques. When Louis Armstrong passed away in 1971, Lucille continued to live in the home and worked to ensure that it would become a National and New York City Historic Landmark, with the goal that the home and its archives would become a museum. When Lucille died in 1983, the home and its contents went to the City of New York which designated the City University of New York, Queens College to oversee the process. The archives became accessible to the public in the 1990s and the house opened as a museum in 2003. 

    Storytelling Legacy

    “This grant really helped us through the pandemic because we had all of these digital assets and could build out digital storytelling through virtual exhibitions,” said Bain. “It really gave us a facility. We have archiving experience and now we have digital archiving experience. We have digital storytelling experience.”

    Following the digitization of the archives, the museum began to think about how digital storytelling applies to one of the organization's core mission –sharing archival materials that document Armstrong’s life and legacy with the community.

    “Community was important to Louis and Lucille Armstrong,” said Bain. “They lived in this community of Corona, Queens for thirty years and they loved their neighbors. They invited kids over to sit on the stoop and play the horns…watch TV and eat ice cream. What does it mean for us as an institution to live in those values, to live in that legacy, and care enough to be curious to share our resources with the community. One of the resources that we have is our archive and ability to archive.”

    Armstrong is widely considered to be responsible for shaping jazz into the music it would become in the 1930s. “Louis Armstong was a jazz musician but he was also a pop musician. He was a Black cultural icon in many different genres,” said Bain. “Usually when we talk about the story of jazz in New York it’s focused on Harlem, but there’s a story about jazz and Queens that I think needs to be told.” 

    Digital and Community

    The story about jazz and Queens began to be told through the Flushing Jazz Trail Map created by Ephemera Press and commissioned by Flushing Town Hall. The map shows places of interest and the homes of jazz legends including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and Louis Armstrong. “When I started at the Louis Armstrong House Museum two years ago, I saw this map on the wall at Flushing Town Hall and I was inspired,” said Bain. “I reached out to the Town Hall and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts and we started dreaming about what this could be.” The conversation between Bain, the Flushing Town Hall, and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts evolved into a conversation about hip-hop. “We started to think about familiar genealogical storytelling connections between jazz and hip-hop in Queens and wouldn’t that be an amazing story to tell.” Stories like hip-hop artist Nas whose father was a jazz cornetist in Queens. “We looked at Louis and Lucille’s story and values of community, looking at the resources and expertise that we have as an organization and putting them together into a new idea that celebrates Black music in the borough of Queens.”

    The museum is working with its community, musicians, and academics to develop what this digital storytelling will look like. “Through this series of conversations where we’ve landed so far is that there is going to be a website, an app, and a physical installation throughout the borough of Queens.” The museum is working with jazz and hip-hop historians, artists, and practitioners to help document the oral history of jazz and hip-hop to include within an interactive digital map. “So many of these folks who have been really important have already been doing the work of historians, especially musician and historian TL Cross,” said Bain. Cross has been sharing his research on hip-hop on his Instagram feed with the “Cross in a Minute” series including a video  which hip-hop artists have sampled piano from Aretha Franklin, one of the most sampled musicians in hip-hop history. In addition to the Flushing Town Hall and Kupferberg Center for the Arts, other partners include Indiana University, Yale University, Duke University, Queens College, Trinity University, University of Bristol, New York University, and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

    Next phase

    “We’re still in the discovery phase of this project…exploring the genealogy of connection, including neighborhoods, familial and friendship ties, as well as listening and sampling patterns,” said Bain. “We plan on applying for the next two phases of funding from the NEH for prototyping and production. But we will also need additional funding since the NEH only supports about 50% of the total project cost.”

    The museum is in the process of creating materials to share with its donors and stakeholders that includes long-term goals and community impact including stories from older musicians in the borough. “We’re conducting these interviews now and creating videos that can be shared with the community and potential donors.” The next phase will include convening teams of digital experience creators to develop storylines and determine appropriate platform designs and strategies for interactive engagement. “There will also be a multimedia exhibit at the new visitor center where people can gather to discuss the days of jazz and hip-hop. It’ll include a live performance venue with flexible seating and spaces for workshops. We want to bring the community together to listen to music and have these discussions. 2023 marks our 20th year open to the public and we’re excited for what’s next.”

    The museum also recently launched “Armstrong Now” an artist-in-residence program that contextualizes Louis Armstrong’s contributions within historical and 21st-century arrangements of Black making, thinking, and vitality. The residency provides emerging artists with a platform to create new work inspired by the collection. “Each artist receives a $10,000 stipend to research the archives and create new works,” said Bain.

    “I think it’s critically important that we have multiple modalities for connecting with our communities and these digital modalities can act on their own,” said Bain. “There will be people who will never step in our museum physically, but they engage with the story of Louis Armstrong. They will engage with this story of jazz and hip-hop in Queens. They live across the country or the world and they may never make it to New York but they are able to engage with our mission and with our stories. That’s the legacy that we promote at the Louis Armstrong House Museum through these digital means. It’s important that we invest in engaging in this type of work as museums.”

    Learn more about the Louis Armstrong House Museum: 

  • February 21, 2023 7:29 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

    Nickcoles Martinez is an educator, producer, podcaster, and activist, with over a decade of experience working at the intersections of museum education, youth, and workforce development, mentoring, and science. His passion is to engage and support BIPOC students to pursue interests and careers in science and develop strategies for the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in traditionally non-inclusive spaces. 

    He began his museum career as an undergraduate intern at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in the Museum Education and Employment Program, designing and leading tours of museum halls for visiting school and camp groups. After graduation, he returned to AMNH as an internship supervisor, helping to support the new cohort of college interns, and was later hired to teach genetics, human evolution, and neuroscience in the Hall of Human Origins Teaching Lab, first as a Lab Facilitator and then in a full-time role as the Coordinator of the Lab.

    Martinez is currently the Assistant Director of Youth Initiatives and manages middle and high school programs, internship experiences, and alumni engagement. He also leads recruitment, community-building, and partnership efforts to increase diversity and promote equity and inclusivity across Youth Programs at the AMNH. 

    Photo by Matt Shanley

    Where did you begin your museum career? 

    I applied for my first position at the American Museum of Natural History in 2009 for an internship in the Anthropology Collection. I was an anthropology major at SUNY Stony Brook and was thinking about what I wanted to do with this degree, especially after switching majors from pre-med. I ultimately didn’t get it. This internship was highly competitive because it was one of the few paid internships. I found another internship at AMNH called the Museum Education and Employment Program (MEEP). It’s an internship program specifically designed for college students where you learn about being facilitators and gain tour guiding experience including how to create your own unique tour. It was my first experience working at a museum. I led anthropology focused tours in the Hall of Human Origins and Hall of Primates. 

    Can you tell us about your journey from an intern at AMNH to the Assistant Director of Youth Initiatives?

    My internship at AMNH was during the summer of 2010 between my junior and senior year of college. After I graduated, I knew that the museum liked to bring back former interns to be supervisors and help guide the next group of interns. I applied for that position and began working at AMNH again the summer after I graduated. The position ended in August but I realized that this was what I wanted to do career-wise. I continued to volunteer at AMNH in the Hall of Human Origins and in the Human Evolution Teaching Lab on weekends. I worked with some of the scientists who were also the facilitators, leading discussions with visitors that would come into the lab to learn about human evolution. At the same time, I started working at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, specifically with their high school internship program. I worked with a small group of students that were doing educational projects at the museum for a few months before I was hired at AMNH as a facilitator who would lead the discussions with visitors on the weekends, and come into the teaching lab. Eventually, I was hired to be the lab coordinator.

    My museum journey was as an intern, volunteer, part-time employee, and then full-time employee. My goal was always to find a full-time position at AMNH. It was different from the sort of science research that I originally saw myself doing, but I realized that I enjoyed working with people and engaging them in conversations and helping them understand large science concepts. It was a cool experience and it was what led me down this path to continue to work in education in this capacity. 

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

    I joined the Citywide Council on High Schools (CCHS) which is a group of volunteer parents that advocate on behalf of all public NYC high school students. CCHS serves as an advisory board providing input to the Chancellor and commentary to the Panel on Educational Policy regarding the needs of public school students. The main interest and goal is to improve the educational system in NYC. I was appointed by the public advocate’s office and I joined while I was doing my Masters at Baruch College. I was part of CCHS for almost two years.

    At this point, I started to shift my thinking about what my career was going to look like, what I wanted to focus on, and I was learning how to manage organizations,  institutions, and projects on a large scale. My masters degree is in nonprofit management. I wanted to understand what these larger organizations needed. What were the policies that I needed to understand to advance my career and take more of a leadership role. By joining CCHS, I got an inside look into how passionate parents are about education for their young people, because I’m not a parent. I got to understand how challenging and bureaucratic systems can be, how they’re designed, and what changes need to be made in order to have a real impact on the educational system in NYC. 

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

    I think one of my main motivations is to help support young people who are like me. I didn’t grow up visiting museums that often. I was interested in science, but museums weren’t on my radar. I would go to the botanical gardens or the zoo occasionally but I don’t remember visiting a museum like AMNH in elementary, middle school, or even high school. Having representation in spaces like AMNH is really important to me. I want to develop the partnerships and relationships that get young people of color into spaces like this and to design experiences that will be really relevant and resonate with them. Experiences that validate both their cultural identity and their scientific and natural interests.

    What are other goals at AMNH for you and for your team?

    A lot of it is about rebuilding from the pandemic because there were a lot of staff and programmatic changes. We’re finding how to build things in new ways that connect with young people, bring in their natural passion for advocacy, and their desire for action. One of my goals is to design these new experiences that are focused on policy and equity issues and to make sure that every experience that we design touches on the interplay of science, society, and culture.. We’re not just talking about the science for science's sake, yes bats and understanding skeletal morphology is great, but how does that matter and why does that matter to someone’s everyday life and their lived experiences? We want to make sure those connections are clear for young people. 

    Rebuilding community has also been tough for a lot of our young people because virtual learning has been tough. Re-building and re-establishing that community from before the pandemic is important. It’s hard because you can’t go back to what you were doing in the pre-pandemic world. We’re making sure that we give space to educators as we navigate back to in-person learning. We’re being flexible and more empathetic in our work. There is much more cultural competence in the way we engage with young people. We didn’t have that focus at the  intersection of science and society before, but young people are really engaged around issues of social justice and equity and issues of inequality. We want to make sure that we are tapping into those things whenever we design a curriculum. We’re thinking about whether we can include young people’s voices and how we can build that space for us to test out ideas before we’re implementing them in the classroom and get feedback from young people along the way. It’s an opportunity to be better and to be more intersectional.

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

    No, I wouldn’t have imagined it mainly because I was so introverted. I didn’t imagine myself giving tours in a museum or engaging with people in conversation. When I was younger I really kept to myself. I read books, played chess and video games, and would be in my own little bubble. I thought that I was going to be a pathologist because that was something that was interesting to me. Once I got to college I started to become more interested in why people do what they do and understanding behavior. That was the anthropology connection that allowed me to understand behavior while also allowing me to go into a hard science where I got to think about evolution, anatomy, and skeletal morphology. It was the perfect mesh of all of the things I was interested in. Then finding an opportunity to push myself out of my introverted nature when I had to do tours and work on the floor of a museum was life changing. It put me down a completely different path. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

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

    I’m from New YorK City. I grew up in BedSty in Brooklyn in the 1990s and it was a completely different place than it is right now. It was a largely impoverished neighborhood and I grew up in public housing. I grew up with a single mom but I had my grandmother and my aunt. I was raised by three really important and influential women in my life. That sort of guided the way I saw the world. We didn’t have a lot but they always made sure that I had the stuff that I needed. 

    In middle school I started playing chess, which was important for my development. Later I went to Brooklyn Tech, which is a specialized high school. 

    I was always curious and motivated. I always had a desire to learn more. Whenever anyone told me anything, I questioned it because I wanted to understand why. I continued that curiosity today in my work. How do we take all of those “why questions” and make them visible for young people?

    What was the first museum experience that you can remember?

    I remember coming to AMNH when I was 19. My girlfriend’s brother was in a program that would give him vouchers to visit museums that you could give to family members. We went on a date to AMNH. We went to a lot of museums during this time period and it got me used to going to museums like The Met or the Guggenheim or the Whitney and others that I didn’t remember going to as a kid. 

    Can you describe a favorite day on the job?

    One of my favorite days is when we host our alumni parties. It’s an opportunity for alumni to come back to the museum to reconnect and re-engage with each other. The last one was in the Hall of Ocean Life with about 300 alumni. It’s great to see other alumni because I am an alum but also because helping to design the event and creating the experience. These moments are special. 

    We’ve also had team game night where we had a lot of young people come and play video games in the Hall of the Universe. Also our Teen SciFi Cafe which are interactive science discussions where students can meet researchers and scientists to learn about different career paths and all the different ways to become involved with science.

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

    At the beginning of my museum career it was one of my supervisor Samara Rubenstein. She was one of my first supervisors who guided me and helped me understand how to work in an institution like AMNH because I was fresh out of undergrad and I didn’t know what to do every day. 

    Another mentor is Preeti Gupta, Senior Director of Children and Youth Programs at AMNH. She’s had a similar background to me working as a young person at a museum and then moved her way up. I look to her for guidance. One thing she told me early on was not to be a martyr. She said that because I was only someone who took on extra work and tried to do everything myself and that it’s helpful because you burn out. Not being a martyr is something that I try to remember even though it’s hard for me because I’ve always been a person who tried to do everything. It’s important for me to understand that there are times where I need to collaborate or let a project go and let someone else take over. I can’t do everything and I have to be willing to relinquish some of that control. 

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. 

265 River Street
Troy, NY 12180 USA

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software