Director Thoughts

October 2012

Sally Roesch Wagner

Sally Roesch Wagner

At the end of September, I presented at the legendary Sagamore Institute for museum professionals. It’s an honor, one of an amazing number that have been coming our way this year given that our restored museum has been open only a little over a year.  Take a look at some of our highlights:

  • One of four museums world-wide chosen for an International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience grant
  • One of three museums internationally chosen for a Girl Ambassador program
  • Awarded a $100,000 exhibit grant by the Ludwick Family Foundation
  • One of “The 100” who Inspire Girls to Achieve and Lead! by the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways
  • Sue Boland received an Individual Achievement Award of Merit for her outstanding volunteer work for her Gage Center
  • I’m one of the 40 history/cultural museum leaders from across the country to be profiled in Leadership Matters (Alta Mira Press, 2013) by Anne W. Ackerson, Director and Joan Baldwin, Program Coordinator of the Museum Association of New York

We suddenly find ourselves thrust on the national – and now international – stage as a museum doing innovative work.  Why is this new museum in a small, upstate New York village receiving this attention?  Here is what people have told us:

  • Courage. We had the “guts” to take on reproductive choice, an issue so contentious nobody else would touch it.
  • Relevance. From treaty rights to equal pay; from trafficking to separation of church and state, we engage our visitors in thinking for themselves about the freedoms that Gage cared about – and we do today.
  • Community involvement. What other museum invites you to sit down and have a cup of tea, play the piano, photograph, write on the walls AND plan the exhibits?
  • Dialogue. We are creating a safe space where the civic discourse we badly need about those issues that divide us so deeply can be explored respectfully.

Like every adolescent, we are experiencing growing pains, with our short legs of staff and resources not yet matching our long arms reaching out into the world!  I know our legs will grow to meet the challenge because we have YOU who have supported, trusted, nourished and grown us into this exhilarating place in which we find ourselves.  And YOU will grow us into adulthood.

Thank you for all you do,


Matilda Joslyn Gage Footer