Awards and Competitions

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Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition

Submission Deadline: December 8, 2017

The annual Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition is sponsored by the American Alliance of Museum’s Curators Committee (CurCom) in cooperation with Education Committee (EdCom) and National Association of Museum Exhibition (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 at the Marketplace of Ideas during the AAM annual meeting 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.

The 2017 competition received more than 220 labels from 88 exhibitions. Of these, jurors selected just 9 labels to recognize. Previous years’ winning entries are accessible online through the competition’s archive. This archive offers museum professionals an opportunity to seek inspiration in a varied collection of excellent label writing techniques and styles and is one of the competition’s greatest assets.

2018 marks the sixth year of the 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, Vice President for Interpretation and Education 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, Catherine Wood will manage the competition.

Our panel of jurors for the 2018 competition includes Jennifer Scott, Michael Rigsby, Bonnie Wallace, and Joanne Hyppolite, whose label, Gesture of Acknowledgement: I see you, was recognized as excellent by last year’s jury.

Questions can be emailed to Catherine Wood at

Past Winners

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