Excellence in Exhibition Competition

2023 AAM Awards Update: 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, this award program is temporarily on hold while we pilot a few updates to three other awards programs in 2023.

About the Competition

The Excellence in Exhibition Competition will resume in the 2022 calendar year. 

The 32nd Annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition recognizes outstanding achievement in the exhibition format from all types of museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and any other types of non-commercial institutions offering exhibitions to the public. The competition is the joint project of the following American Alliance of Museums Professional Networks (PNs): Curators Committee (CurCom), the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME), the Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation (CARE), and the Education Committee (EdCom). Each PN is represented by one competition judge who evaluates the submitted application materials against the Alliance’s Standards for Museum Exhibitions and Indicators of Excellence.


Any non-commercial institution offering exhibitions to the public may participate. Exhibitions may have been designed by a commercial firm for a non-commercial institution. Each institution that enters must have a team member that is a member of the Alliance. The exhibition must have opened to the public between November 30, 2017, and November 30, 2019. To be eligible, exhibitions may not have previously won this competition. Exhibitions may be submitted only once to the competition. Only one entry per organization, please.

Entry Fees

A $75 entry fee is required. Make checks payable to the American Alliance of Museums / Excellence in Exhibition. For alternative forms of payment, contact the Competition Coordinator (Lonny Schwartz).

Notification and Awards

Each winning exhibition will be featured in a program session at the 2020 Alliance Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in San Francisco and a representative from each winning institution will be asked to participate in a short presentation. Winner(s) will also receive national recognition on the Alliance website.

Competition Policies

The PN sponsors are not responsible for lost entries. All entry materials become the property of the PNs/AAM and cannot be returned. Entrants agree to allow Alliance and PN sponsors to use photographs of winning exhibitions, at no charge, in Alliance publications. Entrants warrant that they have the right to allow such use. Institutions will be credited in any published reference to winning entries.

Due to the volume of submissions and information that need to be reviewed by competition judges, there is a cap of thirty-five entrants per competition year. Please consider submitting your entry prior to the competition deadline. You will be notified that your submission was received and if it is within the numbered quota.

All materials (including the exhibition budget) will be displayed at the Solutions Center at the 2020 Alliance Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in San Francisco.

To Enter:


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