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Two Rockwell Staff Participate in IMLS Grant Funded Program

The Rockwell Museum is proud to announce that two staff members have been selected to participate in The Museum Association of New York’s (MANY) “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility” program. This IMLS Cares Act grant project is designed to help museums impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic share their collections and reach audiences who cannot physically visit their museums.

Janelle Steiner and Kate Swanson

Janelle Steiner, who joined our staff as events coordinator in early 2020, and Kate Swanson, interpretation and public engagement educator, represent The Rockwell alongside 200 other Museum colleagues from 98 institutions across the state.

In this two-year program, museums will identify an event or project to deliver virtually to their audiences, focusing on developing programs from stories found in their collections that reveal cultural and racial diversity in their communities.

Both Janelle and Kate have been integral in launching many virtual Rockwell programs in the past year, with Kate often at the helm as program host, and Janelle running logistics behind the scenes. Both are eager to expand their expertise in programming and storytelling as the Museum strives to reach audiences digitally, increase accessibility, and share Rockwell content through the pandemic and beyond.

map of new york state and grant participating museums
Map of participating museums in New York State

“We are honored to be awarded IMLS CARES act funding and excited to be able to make an impact on the work of our colleagues and their museums across New York State,” said Erika Sanger, MANY Executive Director. “We are living in an age of transition, experiencing a radical shift in our ways of learning and communicating. The group selected captures the diversity of our shared history in NY and our nation. The stories embodied in the museums’ collections and the storytelling talents of their interpretive staff are the heart of the project.”

Organizations participating in the Building Capacity program received an iPad Pro to assist with facilitation of remote and mobile programming, along with training on the new hardware. Additionally, a cornerstone of this program is a bevy of professional development opportunities. MANY has provided Zoom and Adobe licenses and training for all participating museums, even partnering with a professor of graphic design from a New York university to facilitate comprehensive training. MANY is partnering with participating museums to offer workshops on storytelling and program creation.

At The Rockwell, we are looking forward to the continued collaboration with MANY and all the participating organizations involved with this unique program. Stay tuned for more updates on our staff’s progress on virtual programming!

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. The agency’s mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter 

About MANY

The Museum Association of New York inspires, connects, and strengthens New York’s cultural community statewide by advocating, educating, collaborating, and supporting professional standards and organizational development. MANY ensures that New York State museums operate at their full potential as economic drivers and essential components of their communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [CAGML-246991-OMLS-20].