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Award for Distinguished Service to Museums

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

The application process for 2020 will open this November.

Past Recipients

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