Erika Sanger: Museum Education Act Needs Your Support

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Assembly’s Education CommitteeOn 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.

The Museum Education Act is in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and will be on the agenda for a vote next week in the Senate’s Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee. If your Legislative representative is on the Senate’s Cultural Affairs Committee or the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee, it would significantly help our efforts to pass the Museum Education Act if you could take a moment before the end of this week to ask them to support the Act by co-sponsoring the bill and signing on to Assembly member Titone’s budget letter.

Not sure you know your representatives? Use MANY’s member map to check.

MANY will soon be adding new advocacy tools to our website, including the data from 96 museums and an executive summary from our museum education program survey. Even if your legislator is not on the above-mentioned committees, we need you to speak out on behalf of the MEA.

The message is simple:

New York State’s museums provide community learning opportunities that share our state’s history, art, and culture.

90% of museums in New York State dedicate at least 10% of their operating budgets to education programs but limited resources are a significant obstacle to growth.

Museums would substantially increase the number of students served if funding was available to support reduced admission fees, bus transportation, web-based curricula, and teacher training.

The Museum Education Act would provide funds for these activities as well as partnerships with community-based organizations and higher education institutions.

Please be sure to tell your legislators what you do in your museums to work with your communities and your schools. It is important that we help them understand the critical role museums play as community anchors.

Thank you in advance for taking time to help us advance the Museum Education Act.

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Erika Sanger

About Erika Sanger

Erika Sanger became Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York in August of 2016. Her 30 years of experience in museums and the arts includes positions at the Albany Institute of History & Art, the International Center of Photography, The Jewish Museum, The New-York Historical Society, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, as well as the Asheville Art Museum and Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. She received a BFA from Clark University, Worcester, MA and an MA from New York University's Steinhardt School. She strives for balance by keeping her hands in clay and the floorboards together in the 200 year-old farmhouse she shares with her husband and two black labs.

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