Member Spotlight:


Kira Lacks Assistant Director of College Events Teachers College, Columbia University

Kira Lacks is the Assistant Director of College Events at Teachers College, Columbia University. Previously, she was the Public Programs Manager at the American Museum of Natural History. Kira has over ten years of program experience producing educational activities for the visiting public in order to highlight temporary exhibitions, enhance community access and increase visitorship. Her focus is on content development of public events with particular expertise in logistical and operational planning. 

Kira holds a B.A. in Art History and Education Studies from Brandeis University, and a M.P.S. in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute. She has served as the NYCMER Vice President, and is the current Treasurer.

Peer Groups offer NYCMER members the opportunity to gather with colleagues and explore topics of shared interest.


Peer Groups are a NYCMER membership benefit and meet throughout the year. We invite non-members to attend one peer group meeting to learn more about NYCMER. A schedule of upcoming meetings can be found on our event calendar


To find out more information about peer groups or to join their email lists, login to the member zone and select "peer groups." To suggest a new group, please complete this form.  New peer group proposals are reviewed and processed every fall.


Peer Group Descriptions and Contact Information



The Access Peer Group is a forum for museum education colleagues interested in accessibility.  The goal of the group is to be a convener for best practices, professional development, and resources. 

The Access Peer Group is currently without a coordinator. For more information on leading the Access Peer Group, please email


Adult Programs        

Join us to discuss all aspects of adult programs production from conception to evaluation.  Monthly sessions provide opportunities to talk about best practices and resource sharing among peers.  

The Adult Programs Peer Group is currently without a coordinator. For more information on leading the Adult Programs Peer Group, please email



This peer groups serves teaching artists as well as practicing artists working as educators in museums, schools, and other cultural organizations. In this group, we will address the challenges of balancing work as an artist with teaching responsibilities, share strategies for engaging students with all types of experience making art, and discuss other issues at the intersection of contemporary art and informal education. You need not be teaching directly from an art practice to share your experiences with the group. We will have diverse monthly meeting that will include: lively discussions, guest speakers, studio shares, and field trips. Come to the Artist/Educators peer group and connect with your fellow artist educators.

For more information please contact Vera Sheehan, Artist/Educators Peer Group Coordinator. 


Docents and Volunteer Supervisors 

Working with docents and volunteers can present its own challenges, uniquely different to the supervision of paid employees. This peer group seeks to bring together docent and volunteer supervisors from various museums and cultural institutions across New York City to learn from each other, share resources and ideas.

For more information please contact Laura Sloan, Docents and Volunteer Supervisors Peer Group Coordinator. 


Early Childhood                 

Join the Early Childhood Peer Group to exchange ideas about audience development, program evaluation, pedagogy, professional development, programs for early childhood, family audiences, and more.

For more information please email Laura Kujo, Early Childhood Peer Group Coordinator


English Language Learners & Cultural Diversity

The English Language Learners & Cultural Diversity Peer Group supports museum educators in better serving the huge variety of linguistic and cultural communities in the NYC area, including people learning English as a new language (ENL/ELL).

For more information email Stephanie A. Zank and Jennifer Rolenz, ELL & Cultural Diversity Peer Group Co-coordinators.



Mention the word 'Evaluation,' and chances are anxiety levels will rise and palms will sweat. But it doesn't have to be that way! The Evaluation Peer Group is intended to serve any educational professional who has been tasked with answering "Were we successful?" in program design and delivery. Join us as we explore and share best practices in evaluation -- from strategies and methods to tools and techniques. 

For more information, please email Ife Abdus-Salam or Amanda Nichols, Evaluation Peer Group co-coordinators.


Exhibitions and Interpretation

Join the E&I peer group to share ideas as we discuss a wide range of topics, such as interactive exhibit design, the latest tech, and how to tackle sensitive material in interpretation. Meetings alternate between site visits for a close look at exhibits, and casual happy hour meet-ups for networking and discussion. For professionals at all stages of their careers.

For more information, please email Victoria Lewis, Exhibitions and Interpretation Peer Group Coordinator.



Freelancers are the backbone of museum work nowadays. Join invigorating discussions in a variety of museum and share skills for mastering the hustle. Develop your professional network and build consensus on how to push the field in new direction. Because Freelancers are busy commuting all over the city, our meetings are on line as well as in person. 

For more information, please email Erin Salthouse, Freelancers Peer Group Coordinator.


Historic Sites

Historic sites offer specialized support to educators working in a wide variety of cultural institutions of all sizes including historic houses, libraries, and City, State, and Federal sites. 

In 2019, we will use our NYCMER Peer Group colleagues to delve into diverse issues including assessment, social justice, best practices for Outdoor Sites, and costumed interpretation.

For more information, please email Maggie Weber- Historic Site Peer Group Coordinator.


LGBTQ+ and Allies 


How out can we be at work? How do we approach LGBTQ+ stories in our programming? What are the best practices for handling questions from students? What steps do we take to be more inclusive and visible to our audiences? Together we aim to answer these questions and support our community. This peer group seeks to provide a safe space to share ideas and best practices, experiences, and opportunities to pilot programs around the LGBTQ+ experience and how allies could support and amplify this work.


For more information, please email Michael Stevens, LGBTQ+ and Allies Peer Group Coordinator.




One of the causes of employee dissatisfaction is related to how a person is managed. From micromanaging to macromanaging, a manager must find the balance that works best for their team in order to thrive. Join us as we start the discussion of efficient managerial practices and how to be an effective leader. Throughout the year we will tackle topics such as diversity and inclusion, managing up, down, and across, the art of giving fruitful feedback, and much more. This group is open to all museum professionals who manages staff, interns, volunteers, project, or a mixture of all four.


For more information, please email Dawnette Samuels - Managers Peer Group Coordinator.


Mentors and Internship Supervisors   

This peer group is open to all museum professionals who supervise interns, coordinate internship programs, or mentor students in any professional capacity. Interns and mentees can be teenagers, undergraduates, or graduate students. Join us for investigations and discussions on how serving as a mentor or intern supervisor can provide students with a gateway to the museum field and provide exposure to a range of jobs and projects within museums. 


For more information please email Barbara Cohen-Stratyner or Daniel Pecoraro- Internship Supervisors Peer Group Co-coordinators


Museums and International Understanding

Join this peer group to discuss how museums can be used as forums to promote international understanding and cultural diplomacy. Through group discussions and site visits, we will focus on representation, awareness, empathy, international leadership and programming in museums and exhibitions. This group is welcome to all, and provides a great platform for discussing best practices and contemporary and historical issues while staying up to date on current shows and programs around New York City and beyond. Past meetings have spanned site visits to specific exhibitions, encyclopedic museums, cultural institutions, panel discussions, and more.

For more information, please email Rebecca Armstrong- Museums and International Understanding Peer Group Coordinator. 

Museum Theatre and Costumed Storytelling 

This group is welcome to all, and provides a great platform for discussing best practices and contemporary and historical issues while staying up to date on current shows and programs around New York City and beyond. Past site visits have included the Ukrainian Museum, Museum of Chinese in America, MoMA, and more.

For more information, please email Cassie Wood-Triplett, Museum Theatre and Costumed Storytelling

Outdoor Education

This peer group will explore the unique opportunities of outdoor spaces for informal education.  While outdoor spaces offer a unique setting for educational programming there can also be obstacles that other organizations do not have to manage.  This peer group will create a space for outdoor educators to come together to discuss programs, exchange ideas, and tackle challenges.

For more information, please email Lhana Ormenyi, Outdoor Education Peer Group Coordinator.


School, Teacher, and Family

This peer group provides a space for museum professionals and teachers to share best practices and explore resources that will help us enhance our work with K-12 students and families both at our sites and off our sites.  The group meets monthly at different sites including cultural institutions, schools, and alternative learning spaces to share and exchange effective practices, pedagogies, and theories. We explore equity, diversity, and inclusion within the educational landscape and invite diverse perspectives and voices.

For more information, please email Julia Mushalko, School, Teacher and Family Peer Group Coordinator

Social Justice

Join this peer group to explore ways of incorporating social justice into our museum work. We will meet regularly to reflect on best practices and devise strategies that can challegne injustices and create opportunities for systemic change. This peer group will offer a space to reconsider various museum structures, including our individual and collective roles, programming and content, especially when building and sustaining relationships with our communities in light of current events that necessitate immediate action. 

For more information, please contact Sejin Park, Social Justice Peer Group Coordinator.


Students Peer Group is designed to support students at the undergraduate and graduate levels who are interested in exploring museum professions and are looking for opportunities to connect with other students, find opportunities for career readiness, participate in peer-to-peer learning opportunities, finding mentors, and other topics of interest to peer group members.

For more information, please email Hannah Batren and Sierra Van Ryck deGroot, Students Peer Group Co-coordinators.


But what about technology you ask? It’s a great question and one of many we’ll explore in this peer group! If you’re not sure what role technology plays in your museum, if you’re curious about how others have used technology, want to use technology, how it can support our programming or how it can increase engagement, or if you’re just curious about what’s going on with museum and this big, nebulous word “technology” then come join in the conversation! We hope to spend the year meeting, chatting, and taking trips to see what’s going on and possibly getting behind-the-scenes tours!

For more information, please email Rachel Kate Miller, Technology Peer Group Coordinator.