Last week we were in Washington, D.C. for Museums Advocacy Day sponsored by the American Alliance for Museums. We learned some important things about New York’s Museums that made us proud to speak up for our sector.
Oxford Economics’ 2017 national report “Museums as Economic Engines” found that the total annual economic impact of Museums in New York State is $5.4 billion dollars – equal to that of the state’s agricultural industries and second only to California in contributions to our nation’s economy. Continue reading
On Tuesday, February 6, Sheila Healy, the Museum Association of New York’s government relations consultant, and I had the opportunity to attend the Assembly’s Education Committee meeting chaired by Assembly member Catherine Nolan.
Guest speaker MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner of Education, shared her 2018 budget priorities and fielded member questions. We then met with Museum Education Act (A.3892A/S.1676A) sponsors Assembly Member Matt Titone and Senator Betty Little. Continue reading
Erika Sanger, Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) has written to supporters to say that in the opening days of the legislative session, the Museum Education Act has already moved through the Assembly Tourism Committee into Ways and Means.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us in the Assembly and the Senate to get the bill passed this year,” Sanger told supporters. “We have a lot of hope because funding for a pilot project was included in the New York State Education Department’s budget request.” Continue reading
I recently reported on a petition initiated by the New York Academy of History in support of local and state history.
Much of the details of the letter were against recent actions of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), an organization that has undergone some changes in 2017 as reported in New York History Blog by editor John Warren and columnist/advocate Bruce Dearstyne.
My post led to a response by Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President & CEO, Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers’ Museum aka NYSHA. He sent me an email asking if I would publish it. I agreed to do so and he then sent a second draft which is published below. Continue reading
The New York State Museum’s exhibits are always outstanding. But the three special exhibits at the Museum now – on the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, New York State in World War I, and the centennial of woman suffrage in our state – are unprecedented and exceptionally strong. It is worth a trip to Albany just to see them.
The storylines and captions are superb, with clear development and explanations, enough text to tell the stories, but not so much that visitors’ interest will wane. The artifacts, photos, and documents are engaging, even dramatic. For instance, the canal exhibit features a reconstruction of a “windlass” – a large apparatus for lifting cargo from canal boats into a warehouse. It is a restoration of a 19th century windlass located by Museum staff some years ago in Mohawk, New York, dismantled, moved to Albany, and carefully restored and reassembled. Continue reading
Did you know that there is a Regents Museum Advisory Council? It reports to the Regents Cultural Education Committee. There is a story to be told about this advisory council and its meaning for the history community.
Back on January 6, 2012, Jeff Cannell, the former Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education, sent a letter to the Regents Cultural Education Committee proposing the creation of an advisory council. The Regents Rules provided for such a council and Cannell now sought to officially request that it be created: Continue reading
The Museum Association of New York (MANY) will hold their Annual Conference on April 8-10, 2018, in Rochester NY.
This year’s MANY conference will take advantage of all that Rochester to offer; programs, workshops, and new Conference Capstones will be held in cultural institutions throughout the city. Evenings will include engaging networking events and dining experiences. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art has announced Maria Vann as the new Director of Education.
Maria Vann was the former Director/Chief Curator of the Maritime Museum at Battleship Cove. Vann has worked for institutions including the Iroquois Indian Museum, New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum, and as an adjunct history professor at SUNY College at Oneonta. Continue reading
The Board of Trustees at Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute have announced that Museum of Art Director and Chief Curator Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio has been appointed President and CEO, effective in early August. D’Ambrosio succeeds Anthony Spiridigloizzi, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Continue reading
Readers may be aware of the recent wave of disparagement around this notion that there are “too many house museums.” The “too many” campaign was launched about fifteen years ago by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in part to provide protective cover as they shifted more of the responsibility for their chain of house museums onto the communities where they are located; as they sold off others and also to make a point about adaptive reuse – that every old house worth saving does not need to become a museum – obviously.
It had corrosive effects and has influenced some organizations to disengage from past commitments. It has spawned a sub-culture of consultants offering themselves as a solution to sky-is- falling scenarios that they repeat at professional conferences and in various writings and lectures. To listen to most of what’s out there on the subject you’d think that Americans were turning their backs on local history at unprecedented levels and that the future of the past was grim and foreboding. Continue reading