The New York City Museum Educators Roundtable supports workers at museums and cultural institutions across the tri-state area. Over the last eight months, NYCMER members and our industry colleagues have been severely impacted by layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, hour reductions, institutions closing, and more. While museums and cultural institutions struggle to survive, both locally and nationally, this divisive election cycle added to the uncertainty of our future as museum educators and community liaisons. We move forward by holding each other up.
At the 2020 NYCMER Conference, Keynote Speaker Chloë Bass encouraged us to mobilize our institutions as second responders, saying, “While the second responder is not necessarily required to be the person who cleans up after the first responders, I want to hold onto the sense that what follows is as urgent and essential as what happens.” As educators, we are essential at handling the cultural needs of a communal identity, fostering a safe space to relax and heal, and providing crucial, trustworthy information in a time of uncertainty. She later said, “I also believe that it’s in this period of stressful pause that we actually have the ability to question what we may have been unnecessarily and quietly accepting for a very long time.” We move forward by pushing back against what we used to accept.
While we are optimistic about federal support with the election of Joe Biden as President, there is still work to be done. The Democratic National Committee platform “supports public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for art and music education in public schools,” and Democrats in office do have a broad track record of following through on this, but with a looming deficit and so many issues on the table, we need to make sure our voices are heard. We move forward by advocating for ourselves.
Through all of this, we thank those who worked to keep our democracy running during this turbulent time, particularly those in our own NYCMER community who became poll workers and watchers. In the face of job losses and reductions, museum educators channeled their efforts to civic service, and we appreciate this.
As we move forward, we are committed to advocating for our field and our broader communities. We invite your input, and you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are with you,
The New York City Museum Educators Roundtable Board of Trustees