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Call for Proposals

Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation

April 9 - 12, 2022 | Corning, NY

“Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.”

– Excerpted from Law 28 of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy

The Seventh Generation is a core value among the Indigenous nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples. The principle, which is rooted in the preservation of Indigenous culture, underscores the importance of the human continuum. It advocates for informed, long-term decision-making that recognizes and draws from the past while laying the groundwork for the future.

Consider this concept in Corning, NY, on the ancestral lands of the Seneca where you will meet and connect with colleagues in beautiful, unique museum spaces including The Rockwell Museum and Corning Museum of Glass. Conference plans include Saturday Workshops, Conference Capstones, special events, and more than a dozen sessions that will advance your professional practice and develop leadership skills.

Conference sessions will offer an opportunity to ideate and share practical approaches to address our changing museum landscape. Sunday keynote speaker Vedet Coleman-Robinson, Executive Director, Association of African American Museums will inspire us to open our museums to the voices of our communities which have lacked representation in the fabric, space and time of American history. Closing keynote speaker W. Richard West Jr. (Former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Autry Museum of the American West and Founding Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian), will address the challenges and successes of adapting, evolving, and responding to the present day while keeping our eyes on the generations that follow us.

Museum professionals are grappling with the history of inequity in our nation, coping with the ways the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our lives, and revisiting the very definition of museum. What paths forward will we forge? How can museums work individually and collectively to positively impact the seventh generation?

In the coming years, museum professionals will need to expand their knowledge of technology and architecture, demographics and economics, capacity building and financial management to ensure their museums will survive into the future. We are seeking proposals that suggest ways we can combine shared experiences to achieve success within the broadest possible definition.

Ten generations after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, museums tell the story of American democracy, both shaping and re-shaping our history. How can we commemorate America250 and use this opportunity to tell the stories of all New Yorkers? We are seeking proposals to help us understand how museums can be places of listening, learning, and sharing everyone’s history.

Some of NY’s museums have been collecting institutions for more than 200 years. It is impossible for us to know if museum founders thought about how their collections would be contextualized seven generations after their acquisition. Present and future generations must ask if those original acquisitions remain relevant to audiences and if decisions made today will stand the same test of time. We are seeking proposals that share how the acquisition, deacquisition, and interpretation of collections have evolved over time and they may change even more radically in the future.

Images from the 2019 "Access & Identity" annual conference in Cooperstown, NY. Photos by Gerard Gaskin.

Submitting a Proposal: Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation

Our call for proposals to New York’s museum professionals are for sessions that address the theme, that are engaging and interactive, and offer multiple perspectives.

In addition to sessions that meet the Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation theme, we are looking for sessions about how museums:

    • Change systems to address diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and justice
    • Build financial stability
    • Create digital access to collections and born-digital content
    • Partner to share collections and resources
    • Revisit foundational policies and procedures to adapt to change
    • Break down barriers and convey that museums are for everyone
    • Strengthen community engagement
    • Employ and expand the use of technology
    • Support staff leadership
    • Reconstruct interpretation
    • Expand board engagement and resource development
    • Respond to pandemic-related challenges

EMPS and Students

We are also calling for proposals from emerging museum professionals and students for our “10x10” sessions.

We invite EMPs and students to share your vision for the museum field of the future through 10 PowerPoint slides in 10 minutes.

Organizations in the Southern Tier

Proposals from organizations in the Southern Tier can include Saturday Workshops and Tuesday Capstone Programs. Workshop and Capstone Programs should offer attendees a closer look at museum practices, exemplary projects, hands-on learning opportunities, and offer perspectives from the leadership of organizations hosting the program.

Important Dates

January 5, 2022 –Session Proposals Due to MANY

End of January, 2022 –Lead Presenters notified of proposal status

February 7, 2022 –Registration Opens

April 9 - 12, 2022 –Annual Conference in Corning, NY

Conference session proposal submission portal is now closed.

To view the proposal submission form in advance, click here to access it as a PDF

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of MANY board members and museum professionals from the Corning area.

Have a question?

Email conference@nysmuseums.org or call 518-273-3400

2018 "Visioning Change" Annual Conference in Rochester at the George Eastman Museum. Photo by Erich Camping.

2019 pre-conference workshop with DHPSNY at the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

Photo by Gerard Gaskin.

The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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