Episode 195: How Museums are Adapting to the Global Pandemic, with Erika Sanger

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Sanger is the leading ambassador and advocate for museums in New York. She produces programs that promote best practices and deepen connections with members and constituents. She seeks new programs and funding opportunities for museums and the organization; maintains and develops relationships with stakeholders including museum professionals, industry partners, state and federal funding agencies, private foundations, local, state, regional, and federal government officials, and leaders of peer institutions and arts organizations. Created a state-wide partnership with Smithsonian Institutions Museum on Main Street Program. Doubled organizational membership and income. Instrumental in legislative initiatives to secure new state funding sources for museums.

Destination on the Left is joined again by Erika Sanger, Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York State! She made her first appearance on Episode #25, where we talked about the role of museums in New York State’s tourism and economic development. But a lot has changed since then. On our podcast, Erika discusses the different ways museums continue to innovate and change to meet visitor needs during the pandemic. From online and virtual programming to redefining the physical spaces, this part of our industry is doing everything possible to adapt.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Erika’s role as the Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York State
  • How the changes Erika’s organization has made over the last several years prepared them to pivot during the pandemic
  • How Erika has helped and supported other members of her industry throughout the pandemic
  • Which parts of the museum have taken the largest hit from the pandemic, and how that will impact them moving forward
  • The silver linings to the global pandemic and its impact on museums
  • How museums have leveraged different platforms to create a profound virtual experience for visitors to enjoy at home
The Museum Association of New York State

Erika Sanger is the Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York State. She made her first appearance on Episode #25, where we talked about the role of museums in New York State’s tourism and economic development. But a lot has changed since then. On our podcast, Erika discusses the different ways museums continue to innovate and change to meet visitor needs during the pandemic. From online and virtual programming to redefining the physical spaces, this part of our industry is doing everything possible to adapt.

Stretched Thin, But Still Fighting

It has been nearly six months since the global pandemic shut down our world economy, closed borders, and brought the travel industry to a complete standstill. We are doing everything in our power to keep up, and the levels of creativity and collaboration in the travel industry are evolving at an unprecedented rate. As the world slowly re-opens under limited circumstances, associations like the Museum Association of New York State are leading the charge, helping the struggling industry stay afloat and build momentum.

The Post-COVID Museum Experience

All of this change and adaptation begs the question, what will the post-COVID museum experience and landscape actually look like? With such a massive economic hit, many of the client-facing positions of the industry have been eliminated. We have lost so many future leaders of their respective fields, and the only thing museums can do is hope for more support and continue to be resilient. Increased social media presence, data collection, and a general pivot to virtual was the ultimate savior of museums at this time. They are creating the virtual mirror of the museum experience as we know it, and it has seen great success.

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