Awards and Competitions
We take pride in recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to excellence within, and support of, the museum field.
2022 AAM Awards Update: To maximize reach, engagement, impact, and learning for the museum field—as well as the celebration of our inspiring award winners—AAM awards programs are currently under review and temporarily on hold. This will likely result in a shift of award submission deadlines, previously set to align around the AAM Annual Meeting & Museum Expo. We look forward to sharing more information later in 2022 through our website and member communications.
Awards for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion
The Alliance Awards for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion honor and celebrate individuals, organizations, or programs advancing the museum field in these areas, either internally through workplace programs and policies or externally with museum audiences and communities.
Chair’s Leadership Award
The AAM Chair’s Leadership Award is reserved for rare occasions to honor outstanding leadership and extraordinary accomplishments in the museum field. Recipients are not nominated but instead chosen by the AAM Board Chair.
Distinguished Service to Museums Award
The Distinguished Service to Museums Award recognizes an individual’s excellence and contributions to the museum profession for at least 20 years.
Dudley-Wilkinson Award of Distinction
The Dudley-Wilkinson Award of Distinction recognizes a museum professional who has demonstrated a commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the registration profession.
Excellence in Exhibition
The Excellence in Exhibition Competition recognizes outstanding achievement in the exhibition format from all types of museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and any other types of non-commercial institutions offering exhibitions to the public. The Excellence in Exhibition Competition will resume in the 2022 calendar year.
Excellence in Label Writing
The Excellence in Label Writing Competition recognizes outstanding and innovative label writing in museums, zoos, aquariums, universities, and libraries.
Excellence in Practice
The EdCom Award for Excellence in Practice recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary service to the public through the practice of education in a museum.
Excellence in Programming
The EdCom Award for Excellence in Programming recognizes exemplary creativity in museum educational programming.
Excellence in Resources
The EdCom Award for Excellence in Resources recognizes outstanding resources in print, online, and/or multimedia formats.
John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership
The John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership recognizes an individual, other than someone working directly with museum education programs, for efforts on behalf of public education and community service.
Innovation in Museum Education
The EdCom Award for Innovation in Museum Education recognizes an individual or team in conjunction with a program, resource, or media piece, and may include a museum program done in the community outside the museum walls.
The Media & Technology MUSE Awards recognize outstanding achievement in Galleries, Libraries, Archives or Museums (GLAM) media. Presented to institutions or independent producers who use digital media to enhance the GLAM experience and engage audiences, the MUSE awards celebrate scholarship, community, innovation, creativity, education and inclusiveness.
Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence
The Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence honors a museum professional with fewer than 10 years experience in the museum field. The award recognizes a specific achievement that has benefited either the honoree’s home institution or the museum field in general.
Publications Competition (Pub Comp)
The only national, juried competition of its kind, in the Museum Publications Design Competition, winners are chosen for their overall design excellence, creativity, and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission, or special features.
Sustainability Excellence Award
The Environment and Climate Network Sustainability Excellence Award recognizes efforts to educate, facilitate, and encourage green practice and acknowledges and celebrates leaders in environmental sustainability.