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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. 

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.

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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