Nomination Deadline: 

Closed for 2017

Nancy Hanks Award for Professional Excellence

The Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence honors notable accomplishments by a museum professional with less than ten years in the field.

The award recognizes a specific achievement or body of work that has benefited either the honoree’s home institution or the museum field in general. The cited achievement or body of work may be in any area of a museum’s operation: administration, exhibitions, education, public relations, registration, collections management, or development. Alternatively, the accomplishment or body of work may benefit the museum field generally (for instance, a development plan, membership plan, exhibition design, or collection policy that can serve as a model for other museums).

The award carries a $1,000 stipend to be used in furtherance of the honoree’s professional development.

Nomination Instructions

Must be submitted by the nominee’s director or by a trustee if the nominee is a director. Individuals cannot self-nominate. Museums of all types and sizes are encouraged to nominate a candidate.

A complete nomination packet includes:

  • Cover sheet with nominee and nominator contact information
  • Justification for receiving the Nancy Hanks award
  • Description of scope of institution and its collection, programs and services
  • Description of the nominee’s position and responsibilities
  • Narrative describing the outstanding contribution to the institution or museum field and its impact
  • The nominee's curriculum vitae and sample copies of work that support the nomination as well as a bibliography of published work
Email the application to or mail to:

American Alliance of Museums
Attn: Nancy Hanks Memorial Award
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005
Arlington, VA 22202


First given in 1985, the award commemorates the late Nancy Hanks' lifelong support of cultural endeavors, and in particular her encouragement of young professionals. Hanks served eight years as chair of the National Endowment of the Arts, among other accomplishments.