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Report of Regents Cultural Education Committee to The Board of Regents

Your Committee on Cultural Education had its scheduled meeting on September 17, 2018. Regent Roger Tilles and Regent Judith Johnson, Co-Chairs of the Cultural Education Committee, submitted the following written report. In attendance were committee members: Regent Tilles, Co-Chair, Regent Johnson, Co-Chair, Regent Cea, Regent Ouderkirk and Regent Mead. 

Regents, in addition to Cultural Education Committee Members, in attendance were: Chancellor Rosa, Vice Chancellor Brown, Regent Norwood, Regent Cashin, Regent Hakanson, Regent Reyes, and Regent Mittler. Also in attendance were Commissioner Elia, Executive Deputy Commissioner Berlin, Senior Deputy Commissioner for Educational Policy Jhone Ebert, and Counsel and Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs Alison Bianchi.


Co-Chair’s Remarks: Regent Tilles and Regent Johnson welcomed everyone. Regent Tilles introduced Jennifer Childress, the new Associate in Instructional Services for the Arts in the Office of Curriculum and Instruction. Jennifer’s role is to implement the new learning standards for the arts and collaborate with schools, teachers and parents across the state as well as lead the work of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Arts to establish a viable graduation pathway in the Arts for students.

Regent Tilles then introduced Deputy Commissioner Mark Schaming. Deputy Commissioner Schaming provided a brief report on Office of Cultural Education news and activities:

  • In July the Museum announced the exciting return of an 18th-century tomahawk gifted to Cornplanter, the respected Seneca leader, by President George Washington in 1792. For nearly 70 years this tomahawk was in the hands of private collectors, after being stolen from the Museum in the late 1940s. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous collector, the pipe tomahawk was returned to the State Museum’s collections earlier this summer and is now on exhibition.
  • This summer the State Museum again welcomed a group of Albany City School District teens, many from underserved communities in Albany, to work at the Museum for 5 weeks this summer. Eleven teens created and implemented their own educational programs for visitors to enjoy, especially for our youngest visitors. 
  • The Annual Archives Awards, including the Student Research Awards, will be held at noon on Wednesday, October 17 on the 4th floor of the Cultural Education Center.
  • In August the State Library awarded $24 million to 230 public libraries and library systems statewide for construction and renovation projects. These State funds will help our public libraries make much-needed renovations and technology upgrades.

Regent Tilles and Commissioner Elia updated the Cultural Education Committee on a recent cultural education showcase trip that Regent Tilles, Vice Chancellor Brown, Regent Norwood, and Commissioner Elia attended in Rochester this summer and expressed plans to make similar trips to other areas of the state this school year. Regent Tilles and Commissioner Elia discussed the great collaboration that occurs between the P-12 school system and the cultural education institutions in the Rochester area and how to encourage these partnerships to continue to grow and support students.

Lastly, Regent Tilles and Deputy Commissioner Schaming updated the Committee on the vacant State Librarian position. The position is currently posted, and the Department is accepting applications from interested candidates.

State Museum Gallery Renewal Update [CE (D) 1]

Deputy Commissioner Mark Schaming presented an update on the Museum’s gallery renewal project. This major renovation will be the first since the Museum moved to the Cultural Education Center in 1976. Across 40,000 square feet of gallery space, the renovation will result in new exhibitions about New York’s natural, human, and cultural history; incorporate interactive technology; and provide a visitor-friendly environment with a flexible wall system and clear orientation and way-finding.

Associated Agenda Item

Meeting Date: 
Monday, September 17, 2018 - 4:10pm