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Awards and Competitions

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Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition

The annual Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition is sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums’ Curators Committee (CurCom) in cooperation with EdCom and NAME and in partnership with the Museology Graduate Program at the University of Washington, Seattle.

By highlighting the remarkable work of label writers and editors, the competition seeks to champion high quality label writing and inspire museum professionals to produce their very best work. Each year, selected exhibition labels are featured in the Marketplace of Ideas during the AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo and in the competition’s online archive. The goal is to serve as a resource for museum professionals striving to write excellent label copy.

A panel of jurors with extensive label writing and editing expertise, including honorees from the previous year’s competition, volunteer their time to review and select the winning entries. The skill and commitment of the jurors are essential to making the release of the competition’s winners an exciting event each year.

2020 marks the ninth year of collaboration between CurCom and the University of Washington. This unique partnership provides emerging museum professionals the opportunity to apply skills and theory presented in the classroom to a professional environment. As the competition project manager, graduate students at the University gain leadership, communication, and management skills while engaging with label writers and other museum professionals.

John Russick, Senior Vice President at the Chicago History Museum, has organized the competition since 2008. Each year a graduate student from the Museology Program serves as project manager. This year, Shiro Burnette will manage the competition.

Our panel of jurors for the 2020 competition included Swarupa Anila, Donna Braden, Daniel Spock, and Rebecca Bednarz.

Questions can be emailed to Shiro Burnette at

Past Winners

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