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About the Office of Cultural Education

The State Library, State Museum, State Archives, Summer School of the Arts and the Public Broadcasting Program comprise the Office of Cultural Education (OCE). These institutions are responsible for increasing the knowledge and information resources of State and local government, businesses, and individuals. The Office supports research, operates programs, and develops collections that serve the long-term interests of the institutions and residents of New York. The Office of Cultural Education provides services directly to individuals and government at the New York State Library, the State Archives and State Museum. OCE also distributes aid to libraries and library systems, local governments, and public broadcasting stations, and provides instructional television services through the Public Broadcasting Program .

New York State Library

Founded in 1818, the Library provides information services for the government and people of New York State through its direct services and interlibrary loan program. In the Cultural Education Center, the Library has a collection of over 20 million items. The Library's particular strengths are in law, medicine, social sciences, education, history, certain pure sciences and technology, and New York State documents as well as a significant manuscript and rare book collection. The Library's online catalog Excelsior provides online access to its entire collection.

The Division of Library Development works in partnership with 73 library systems to bring library services to the millions of people who use New York’s academic, public, school and special libraries. Library Development also administers State and Federal grant programs that provide aid for library services. 

The Library also operates the Talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL), which provides reading material (books in Braille and recorded media) to over 54,000 eligible readers, who are visually impaired, physically disabled or learning disabled.

New York State Museum

The State Museum, with approximately 120,000 sq. ft. in exhibit gallery space, is the single largest tourist attraction for the Capital Region, welcoming almost 1 million visitors yearly. The Museum's direct service to the public include a permanent and temporary exhibit program, a full slate of 200 public programs a year, a variety of educational programs for school-aged children, and direct access to collections for researchers and other interested parties.

Since its establishment in 1836 as the New York State Geological and Natural history Survey, the State Museum collections and staff research have provided the basis for its services to the public. On behalf of the people of New York State, the Museum cares for over 12.5 million specimens and artifacts. Museum holdings comprise natural history specimens in geology, paleontology, zoology, and botany; historical, ethnographic, and archaeological artifacts incorporating wood, textiles, leather, bone, metal, ceramics, glass, stone, and mixed media; visual arts collections on canvas, paper, and film; and paper-based, photographic, and electronic collections documentation.

New York State Archives

The State Archives was created by law in 1971, and began full operation in 1978. The Archives identifies, accessions, and preserves those records of New York State government that have permanent value, in terms of history, government accountability and research. The Archives houses paper, parchment, photographic and electronic records, now totaling more than 75,000 cubic feet. Last year, its staff responded to more than 60,000 research requests from government, business and the general public. Holdings of the Archives include records from all three branches of State Government and document virtually every aspect and era of New York history.

The State Archives also operates the New York State Records Center, which provides State government agencies with secure, cost-effective storage and retrieval services for more than 233,000 cubic feet of inactive paper and electronic records.

New York State Summer School of the Arts

The Summer of 2024 marks the return of In-Residency summer programs with New York State Summer School of the Arts. This program, with its three component summer residential Schools, are administered by the New York State Education Department.  Recognized as one of the finest programs of its kind in the nation, over 15,000 high school age students have become part of this unique summer experience.   Alumni of the program will attest to the success of the schools in helping high school students with special talents identify and pursue career choices in all fields of the fine arts and performing arts at an early age. The Schools provide opportunities for all New York State students who qualify through auditions, to receive the highest level of training and instruction.

The schools provide intensive training in an environment where students experience the rigorous discipline of the daily life of a professional artist.  The program is open to all New York State high school age students who qualify through auditions.  NYSSSA Programs qualify students for one full unit of high school credit with the student's home district approval.  Appropriate documentation is sent to the student's school at the close of the program. 

Office of Educational Television and Public Broadcasting

ETV/PB is charged with maintaining a financially sound broadcasting system in the State through the administration of local assistance funds for the operational, programmatic and instructional needs of the 11 State public television stations and 16 public radio stations. This responsibility of the Office provides an opportunity to help the Education Department form cost-effective, dynamic partnerships between itself and public broadcasting and between public broadcasting and the educational community. To this end, the Office is committed to a long-term, broad-based effort to meet educational needs that can best be addressed through public broadcasting and telecommunications technologies.