Directs the department of economic development, in conjunction with other departments and entities, to conduct a comprehensive study of public and private museums, including taking a census of public and private museums in the state, and to report the findings and recommendations of such study.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A9710
TITLE OF BILL:
An act in relation to conducting a study of public and private museums
in New York state
PURPOSE OF THE BILL:
From world class art museums to iconic halls of fame to beloved local
historical societies, museums are inextricably linked to New York
State's identity, economy and history. Yet museums in New York State
lack a true "home" and a clear and viable funding structure. In order to
ensure the protection of collections and the sustainability of, and the
equitable distribution of funds, this bill directs the Department of
Economic Development, in conjunction with the Empire State Development
Corporation, the Department of Education, the Office of Parks, Recre-
ation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conser-
vation, the Department of State, and the New York State Council on the
Arts to conduct a study of public and private museums in New York State.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
§ 1- Directs the Department of Economic Development, in conjunction with
the Empire State Development Corporation, the Department of Education,
the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Depart-
ment of Environmental Conservation, the Department of State, and the New
York State Council on the Arts to conduct a study of public and private
museums in New York State to:
- Take a census of public and private museums in the State, including
information on the size, hours of operation, visitor statistics, funding
sources and amounts, and the subjects of the museums' collections.
- Identify the benefits, shortfalls, and consequences of the different
sources of support museums receive publicly and privately.
- Provide information and recommendations to the legislature about the
adequacy of public and private sources of the funding for museums in the
State and to serve current and future funding needs, recommend systems
of support to best ensure equitable distributions of such funds regard-
less of discipline, budget size, or location; and the continued accessi-
bility and availability of museums promoting a general interest in
cultural and historical topics, fine arts, physical and natural
sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and determine the
feasibility of a single reporting system with active oversight.
§ 2- Provides that a report of the findings, recommendations, and any
proposed legislation necessary to implement such recommendations shall
be filed with the Governor, Temporary President of the Senate, and the
Speaker of the Assembly within one year of the effective date of this
§ 3- Effective date.
Although New York's museums contribute greatly to our state's economy
and identity - and are vital to telling our stories and protecting our
artifacts for generations there is no real "home" for museums in New
York State. In the 1950's the State Education Department started char-
tering museums, but prior to that, the Legislature and Department of
State issued museum charters. Unlike other areas the State Education
Department (SED) oversees - libraries, archives and broadcasting - SED
provides no financial assistance to museums to help them comply with
state regulations and secure their charters. Museums are legally
required to report annually to the State Education Department's Cultural
Education Chartering Office and the Charities Bureau of the Attorney
General's Office, further adding to the fractured oversight of museums.
Most people assume the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) funds
all museums in New York State. However, NYSCA only funds 10% of the
museums in the state and funding is largely to organizations who can
interpret their collections through the lens of the arts. In fact, no
fewer than a half dozen different State agencies - including the Depart-
ment of Economic Development, Empire State Development Corporation,
State Education Department, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic
Preservation, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Department
of State - as well as NYSCA - provide funding for New York's museums.
These compartmentalized funding streams and guidelines omit science and
tech centers, most history museums, children's museums, natural history
museums, and most historical societies.
New York's museums - from world famous to local history - are economic
drivers, community anchors, and tourist destinations in every county of
our state. They are repositories for New York State's history, culture,
arts, and sciences. They tell the story of the state's evolving ethnic
and racial diversity. In 2017, the American Alliance of Museums and
Oxford Economics determined the total financial impact that museums have
on the economy in New York State to be $5.37 billion, providing over
61,000 jobs, $3.9 billion in income through wages and other revenue to
the state's residents and over $482 million in state and local taxes.
Unfortunately, the lack of a home and clear funding streams has led to
the closing of much-loved museums and, in some cases, the complete loss
or severe damage of historical collections. Most recently, 100 years of
architectural collections were severely damaged by water and mold while
being housed by the Rochester Historical Society in a storage facility.
The study proposed in this legislation would not only inform policymak-
ing but also form the basis to improve public awareness of the many
museums throughout the State. It is not the intention of this legis-
lation to take anything, particularly oversight or funding, away from
agencies traditionally associated with museums, i.e. New York State
Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the State Education Department (SED).
However, a holistic evaluation of the ways in which the state currently
supports museums in order to create a mechanism for governance and over-
sight and an equitable and clear funding system that serves art museums
as well as history museums, historic sites, historical societies, ethnic
and cultural museums, sports museums, mathematics, engineering and tech-
nology museums, physical science and natural science museums, children's
museums, nature centers and zoos, botanical gardens, and aquaria, is
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect immediately.