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Awards and Recognition

Awards and Recognition

The American Alliance of Museums takes pride in recognizing outstanding individuals, programs, and organizations dedicated to excellence within, and support of, the museum field.

2023 Awards and Recognition Program

To better highlight and celebrate the museum professional community in all its diversity, we are in the process of redesigning an awards program that aligns with AAM’s strategic framework and centers equity and inclusion. As part of this process, the awards program has been temporarily on hold.

In 2023, we are piloting a few updates intended to make AAM awards and recognition programs more accessible, inclusive, and relevant to the museum field  and to create even more opportunities to celebrate the vital role that every museum professional plays in building thriving museums, strong communities, and a better world. Those updates include:

  • A streamlined, more accessible nominations process
  • Expanded eligibility for recognition
  • Recognition of multiple honorees in certain categories to better highlight the scope of exemplary work across all types of museums and roles in the museum field

This year, we accepted nominations for the following: Award for Distinguished Service to Museums; Nancy Hanks Memorial Awards for Rising Stars; and Recognition for Advancement of the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Museums. More information on each program can be found in the links below.

This pilot will be evaluated before considering broader implementation with other AAM awards and recognition programs in the future.

Award for Distinguished Service to Museums

The Distinguished Service to Museums Award recognizes an individual’s significant and sustained contributions to the museum profession for at least 20 years.

Nancy Hanks Memorial Awards for Rising Stars

The Nancy Hanks Memorial Awards for Rising Stars recognize museum professionals age 40 or under who are making an impact in their institutions, communities, and the museum field. Multiple individuals may be recognized in a given year.

Recognition for the Advancement of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Museums

With acknowledgement that diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) work is necessarily ongoing and iterative, this recognition highlights important and noteworthy work that is driving impact and making a difference both internally through museum workplace culture, programs, and policies and externally through engagement with museum audiences and communities. Multiple individuals, programs/initiatives, and organizations may be recognized in a given year.

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