Facing up to budgetary challenges at the Biological Survey, New York State Museum

TitleFacing up to budgetary challenges at the Biological Survey, New York State Museum
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsMiller, NG

Collection and research activities in biology at the New York State Museum (NYSM) are centered in the Biological Survey. Its operating funds are set by the governor, the state legislature, and the state education department. Additional funding is provided from grants and the New York State Museum Institute. Operating budgets and staff size between 1973 and 1994 were rather constant or rose somewhat during the first three-fourths of this period, then increased dramatically as a result of special appropriations by the legislature. In recent fiscal years, there were major cuts in the NYSM's operating budget, and the Biological and Geological Surveys were especially targeted for “downsizing.” The museum embarked on a campaign to have the proposed cuts more broadly assigned or the funding restored. The methods used included testimonials to legislators by survey clients and visits by museum staff to explain the benefits of the surveys. The Museum Visiting Committee and the Business and Industry Advisory Council were formed to further ensure support of the surveys. This advocacy emphasized the importance of a clear focus on actual and potential client needs in research and other programs of the surveys, constantly advertising what we do, and broadly-based collaborative projects that make good use of expertise existing in the state. The Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) was created by legislation in 1993 and placed within the NYSM.