Award for Distinguished Service to Museums

The most prestigious award for individuals in the US museum profession, the Award for Distinguished Service to Museums recognizes an individual’s significant and sustained contributions to the museum field over a career of 20+ years. First presented in 1980, the award honors those who exemplify the leadership and service to which the field aspires.

The award is presented by the AAM Board of Directors based on an individual’s cumulative contributions to their institution, the museum profession, and the museum community at large—including their work to innovate, enrich, and expand how museums in the United States serve their communities. Factors for consideration may include the nominee’s record of work; related volunteer, board, and community service; publications or scholarship; advocacy; mentorship; and previous recognition and awards.

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  • Nominee should have at least 20 years’ experience in the museum field or related fields. Affiliation with museums should be long-term, sustained, and an integral part of the nominee’s career.
  • Nominee may be an active or retired museum professional or trustee.
  • Nominee may be from or based in any country but must demonstrate significant contributions to US museums and/or the US museum field.
  • Nominations for the Award for Distinguished Service to Museums must be submitted by someone who knows the nominee well; self-nominations are not accepted.

Timeline & Additional Information

Read about all 2023 AAM honorees.

Nominations for 2024 are closed. Please check this website in the future for information about the 2025 Awards and Recognition Program.

Past Recipients

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