Submissions deadline:

December 10, 2017

Now Accepting Submissions!

Sample Submission

Past Recipients


Email: Claudia Ocello

John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership

This award recognizes an individual, other than someone working directly with museum education programs, for efforts on behalf of public education and community service.

Eligible Nominees

  • museum directors
  • curators
  • researchers
  • exhibit designers
  • school administrators
  • government officials
  • those in foundations, corporations and training programs

Only practicing museum educators are ineligible since this award is designed to recognize those outside the field of museum education who exhibit outstanding leadership and promote the educational responsibility and capacity of museums.

The John Cotton Dana Award recognizes exemplary leadership. It is therefore awarded on an occasional basis (not annually) as extraordinary leadership is brought to the attention of the nominating committee through the nomination process.

This award was established in 1991 by EdCom in a tribute to John Cotton Dana, founder and director of the Newark Museum. During his life, he worked incessantly to make the museum a center of community service whose chief function was to be educational and interpretive.

Submissions are due by December 10, 2017



  • Cynthia Robinson, director of museum studies, Tufts University, MA
    Editor-in-chief, Journal of Museum Education

    Given to an individual other than someone working directly with museum education programs for their efforts on behalf of public education and community service, the judges cited Cynthia’s “strong advocacy for the educational responsibility and capacity of museums.” In her work with students, judges were impressed at how she encourages them to become activists, and how she has empowered more educators to publish and write by changing submission guidelines for the peer-reviewed Journal of Museum Education.  Her leadership to students and the field-at-large proudly follows in the footsteps of Dana.


  • Elizabeth (Elee) Wood, director of museum studies, associate professor of museum studies and teacher education, public scholar of museums, families and learning, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, Indianapolis, IN

    Nominated by one of her students, Dr. Wood is well-published in the field of museums and has “continued to beat the drum of access, equity and outreach for museums – with a clear goal of making museums and their information available to all.” The impact of her work also extends through the hundreds of students she coached, mentored and taught over the years who have continued the commitment instilled in them by Dr. Wood. The judges applauded the impact Dr. Wood’s work has had on the field. As her nominator noted, “I can think of no other professional so deserving of the Dana award than Elee, in whose voice I hear every Dana quote I read.”


  • Lori Fogarty, director and CEO, Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), CA  

    Fogarty has cultivated an institution-wide focus on the shared goal of “making more inspiring cultural experiences more accessible to more people and more different kinds of people.” In her time at OMCA, She has aligned resources around fostering a meaningful visitor experience, prioritized a participatory approach, and conceived a radical restructuring away from a typical hierarchical organizational chart to a flat structure composed of cross-functional teams.