Skip to content

Awards and Competitions

In This Section

Award for Distinguished Service to Museums

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.

The museum field is full of talented and inspiring individuals, many of whom have dedicated their lives to serving museums. Since 1980, the Award for Distinguished Service to Museums has recognized an individual’s significant and sustained contributions to the field over a career of 20+ years. The award is typically presented at the AAM Annual Meeting.

If you know someone who has made significant contributions to their museum or the field, nominate them for the Distinguished Service Award.

Contact with questions.


  • Nominee should have at least 20 years’ experience in the museum or related fields
  • Affiliation with museums should be long-term, sustained, and an integral part of the nominee’s career
  • Nominee may be a currently active or retired museum professional or trustee
  • Nominee may be from or based in any country; award is not limited to US museum professionals or contributions to the US museum field


Evaluations are based on the following criteria:

  • Nominee’s contributions to museum(s); the museum profession; and/or the larger museum community (local, state, national, or international)
  • Record of publications, speaking engagements, mentorship, teaching, participation on boards, awards, citations, and/or community service

The case for a particular nominee is made through the nominator’s narrative summary and through letters of support.

Submit a Nomination

Acceptance of award nominations is expected to resume later this year. Please follow our e-newsletter Aviso and/or our Social Media channels for updates.

Past Recipients

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.