NYS Museums Advocacy Report From Erika Sanger

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NY Museum Professionals in the Washington, DC office of New York Senator Charles SchumerLast 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.

This week we need you to take action by reaching out to your legislators in Albany in support of the Museum Education Act. With 33,000 people directly employed by Museums in New York, our significant economic impact, and new data about our service to the education field we are well positioned, but the MEA won’t get passed because we think it is the right thing to do.

It will get passed when you activate your networks, speak up, and tell your legislators how we impact learning in New York State. MANY’s January 2018 Survey of Education Programs in New York State Museums brought to light important information that we would like you to share with your representatives in Albany. The report is available on our website. Our findings include:

  • Of the museum’s we surveyed, 99% of New York museums and 100% of those with annual budgets under $100,000 serve school children at their museums.
  • 75% of New York museums serve school children at another site in their communities.
  • 65% of museums of all budget sizes and 100% of museums with budget sizes between $2,500,000-$5,000,000 develop learning materials for teachers to use in their classrooms; 35% make those materials available on their websites.
  • 100% of those museums with annual budgets between $25,000-$49,999 and 89% of those museums with annual budgets between $1,000,000 and $2,500,000 partner with community service organizations.

We need the support of every legislator to create a funding stream that will allow us to serve our mandate as organizations chartered by the New York State Department of Education.

Museums could substantially increase the number of students and adult learners we serve 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.

Personalize and localize the message to your representatives. Let them know the difference that museum funding could make in their communities. Not sure who your representatives are? You can use the MANY member map to help find them.

I know that museum professionals can act with passion, urgency, and shared purpose.

Tell your legislators that you want the Museum Education Act, S.1676-A sponsored by State Senator Betty Little and A. 3892 sponsored by Assembly Member Matthew J. Titone with pilot funding of $5 Million included in the one-house bills that will come to the floor on March 14th. Our strength together can make this happen for all of our museums.

MANY’s Annual Conference is set for April 8-10 in Rochester. Learn more here.

Photo: NY Museum Professionals in the Washington, DC office of New York Senator Charles Schumer.

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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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