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Jayatri Das of The Franklin Institute Honored With 2016 Nancy Hanks Award

Category: Press Release


May 23, 2016

ARLINGTON, VA – Jayatri Das, Chief Bioscientist at The Franklin Institute Museum in Philadelphia, is the recipient of the 2016 Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence, honoring a museum professional with less than 10 years’ experience in the field.

“Jayatri is that rare scientist who holds deep expertise while also being an excellent communicator and writer,” said Karen Elinich, Ed.D., Director of Science Content & Learning Technologies at the Franklin Institute Museum. “In just eight short years, she has grown to become a trusted leader within her museum, as indicated by her elevation to Chief Bioscientist status, as well as across the field, as evidenced by the number of national networks that seek her involvement.”

The award will be presented during the general session at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in Washington, DC on May 27. First given in 1985, the Nancy Hank Memorial Award recognizes a specific achievement that has benefitted either the honoree’s home institution or the museum field in general. The award commemorates the lifelong support by the late Nancy Hanks of cultural endeavors, and in particular her encouragement of young professionals in the cultural arena. Nancy Hanks served eight exceptional years as Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts.

Watch a video tribute in recognition of Jayatri Das and her achievements.

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“The future of our field is in the talents of people who can partner with the community and deliver a meaningful learning experience for visitors while preserving the historical and scientific value reflected in the museum’s collection,” said AAM President and CEO Laura L. Lott. “Jayatri Das has demonstrated those talents and much more in her career thus far, and the Alliance commends Jayatri for her achievements.”

Das joined the museum’s exhibit team in 2006 as a senior exhibit & program developer. She was named lead exhibit developer in 2008 for the largest exhibit development project in the museum’s modern history. The Institute was launching a new building project which would feature an 8,500 square foot exhibition space for a core content area. In 2014, that major project culminated with the grand opening of “Your Brain” in the Frank Baldino, Jr. Gallery of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion.

Das was promoted in 2012 to the position of Chief Bioscientist in the science content department, where she is responsible for developing science learning resources and experiences for visitors. Her position also includes acting as a spokesperson for the museum.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance is the only organization representing the entire scope of the broad museum community. For more information, visit


Press Contact:

Joseph Klem
Phone: 202-218-7670

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