Skip to Main Content

MANY Announces Change in Leadership with Departure of Executive Director Erika Sanger

Feb 29, 2024

Sheila McDaniel Appointed Interim Director

After eight years in the role of executive director and two prior years as a member of the board of directors Erika Sanger departs the Museum Association of New York with strong leadership in place to carry the organization forward. Sanger’s focus on building organizational structure, securing fiscal responsibility, strengthening membership services, and expanding programming has grown the organization immeasurably. 

After the April 6-9, 2024 annual conference she will take the role of Executive Director of Opera House Arts, a performing arts and cultural center in Stonington, Maine. In this new role, she will focus her talents and energies on advancing the work of this community-centered arts organization that offers a year-round schedule of professional theater, music, film, dance, educational programs, community events, and more in a National Register Historic Theater.

“We celebrate Erika’s decision to take the next step to live and work in a place close to her heart, but will miss her vision, decisiveness, integrity, and dependability; ability to teach and mentor; and her communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills that met the needs of the organization when it was in crisis, doubled the organization’s membership, and helped MANY exceed goals established in two strategic plans,” said MANY Board President Georgette Grier-Key.

“I will continue to hope that museum professionals grow pride in their work and communicate their value authentically,” said Sanger. “I hope museums give themselves time to experiment, reach beyond comfort zones, set new standards for financial sustainability, and grow support for endangered historic structures that welcome visitors and house collections. I hope museums will listen to feedback courageously and design engagement strategies that deepen connections with their communities. I know that with digital tools and training, museum professionals will tell stories in ways unimaginable a decade ago. I know MANY will be there for years to come to help museums achieve their vision for the future.”

In the past three years, Sanger has raised nearly $2.5 million for programs, direct services to the field, and regrant partnerships that have directly impacted the work of 450 museums and their staff. She also prepared and organized the organization’s sixty years of files that were acquired in 2023 by the Special Collections Library of the State University at Albany, making MANY’s history accessible for generations to come. 

In 2022, she was awarded an Advocacy Leadership Award from the American Alliance of Museums for her exemplary leadership in advocacy for the museum field. In January of 2024, Sanger was selected as one of City & State’s Fifty Over 50 honorees. 

Under Sanger’s tenure and with the help of bill sponsors Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Jeremy Cooney, “The Museum Study Act” passed the New York State Legislature almost unanimously in 2022. In 2023, Governor Hochul included $1 million for the study in the state budget. The study will be conducted in 2024 by Empire State Development’s I LOVE NY division.

“With strong leadership on the MANY board and dedicated staff who excel at their jobs and exceed expectations, MANY is ready to continue its unprecedented growth and its exceptional service to the field,” said Sanger.

MANY’s board of directors has appointed Independent Museum Professional Sheila McDaniel as Interim Director. Sheila has served on MANY’s board of directors from 2018-2020, as Administrator of the National Gallery of Art, and as Deputy Director of Finance and Operations at The Studio Museum in Harlem. “Sheila’s experience in these leadership roles will be a strong bridge as she works with MANY staff to sustain programs and operations during the search for MANY’s next Executive Director,” said Grier-Key.

MANY’s board of directors will be making an announcement soon about the search process for the organization’s next Executive Director. 

We hope you join us in celebrating Erika’s accomplishments at MANY’s 2024 annual conference in Albany April 6-9 and wish her the best in her next role.

About the Museum Association of New York

The Museum Association of New York is the only statewide museum service organization with more than 750 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Visit and follow MANY on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @nysmuseums