Call for Awards Nominations

Each year, PA Museums recognizes the special achievements of museums and historical organizations in Pennsylvania. This is your invitation to submit a nomination for a project, process, or individual that you know is exemplary.

A PA Museums Special Achievement Award distinguishes your organization by:
• Serving as public recognition of staff or volunteers, and providing an incentive to continue developing new and exciting projects;
• Encouraging your staff to establish and maintain standards of excellence in your institution;
• Providing a vehicle to promote your institution through media news releases, and membership and fundraising campaigns;
• Reinforcing your case for the quality of your programs in grant or sponsorship proposals; and
• Publicly honoring awardees before peers and invited guests at a special awards ceremony during PA Museums’ statewide conference.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, October 4, 2019 by 11:59 PM. Email nominations to Chrisoula Randas Perdziola, Programming Specialist.

Winners will be notified by Friday, December 6, 2019. Formal recognition will be given on the PA Museums’ website, in Tapestry, and at an awards ceremony at our annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA on April 19-21, 2020. Nominees should plan to attend or have institutional representation to receive recognition at our awards ceremony on April 20.

Winners are encouraged to invite staff, board members, their members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, civic leaders from their community, and their local press representative to attend the awards ceremony.

Please email questions to Chrisoula Randas Perdziola, Programming Specialist.


A nominee for an award must be a member of PA Museums.

Anyone may submit a nomination, including staff of the nominated organization.

Nominations for joint projects may be submitted if all major partners are PA Museums’ members.

PA Museums’ business affiliate members and individual members who are full- or part-time consultants are eligible for an award when the project has benefited a PA Museums’ institutional member and has been submitted jointly with that member.

Groups of volunteers are not eligible for individual achievement awards.

Primary consideration will be given to projects completed within 18 months before the November 1, 2017 deadline. The judges may also consider nominations for exceptional programs or individual volunteer activities extending over a longer period of time.

To check the status of your membership, please contact Rusty Baker, Executive Director, PA Museums.


Institutional Awards
Institutional Awards recognize outstanding and innovative projects that have provided an exemplary contribution to the museum, public history, or cultural tourism field in Pennsylvania. A nomination may be made for any project or best practice that serves to raise the bar of excellence in the field.
Some examples of projects are:
An exhibit and related interpretive programming that presents an event/topic, or tells a story in an innovative and compelling fashion.
A successful cultural tourism program with marketing and media components that resulted in community development and collaboration.
A publication or a school program that reaches and engages a previously underserved audience.
A model earned-income program that has strengthened fiscal independence.
A website providing greater public access to your programs and collections.
Some examples of a best practice may be:
A creative outreach initiative to broaden audiences (both visitors and online).
An exemplary or new housekeeping routine.
A state-of-the-art volunteer or docent-training program.
An innovative collections conservation or interpretive plan.

Individual Awards
Individual Awards recognize leadership at the board or community level, professional accomplishments for institutional employees, and long-term volunteer efforts that have benefited PA Museums’ institutional members. These awards are intended to recognize those who are extraordinary and go above and beyond “regular” responsibilities. Nominees must be a current PA Museums member;

Carol Wickkiser Memorial Award
This $500 award recognizes exceptional promise and potential for leadership in an emerging professional with 10 years or less experience in the field. It is to be used for continuing education to enhance his or her expertise, promoting collegial connections, and inspiring excellence and continued dedication to service to cultural institutions, museums, or historical organizations.


Regional Grant Workshops

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is rolling out a new series of regional grant workshops designed for applicants for the museum grant programs. Providing greater access to IMLS funds and resources is one of the agency’s core strategic goals, and these regional workshops are a proactive step towards realizing this goal. These free workshops are intended for new and returning applicants.

Each full-day workshop will offer a comprehensive overview of the IMLS grant programs administered by the Office of Museum Services (OMS), special initiatives such as MAP, CAP, Museums for All, and Museums for Digital Learning, and other agency priorities and resources. OMS staff will help prospective applicants walk through the nuts and bolts of putting together a successful IMLS application.

The closest regional workshop for Pennsylvanians is on September 24, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Space is limited and registration is required. Attendance is limited to two staff members per institution. For additional details and event updates, please visit the workshop event page on the IMLS website.


Historical and Archival Records Care Grants Program Opened May 1, 2019

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Pennsylvania State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) are now accepting applications for the Historical & Archival Records Care (HARC) grant program. The application deadline is August 1, 2019.

Funding is available to historical records repositories, such as: historical societies; libraries; universities; local governments; and school districts for collections care, including surveying; inventorying; preserving; arranging; and describing historical records significant to Pennsylvania, as well as for records reformatting and equipment.  Applicants may apply for up to $15,000 with a 50/50 cash or in kind match.  Smaller grants in amounts up to $5,000 are available with no match required. Funding is provided by PHMC.

More information can be found on the HARC Grant page at: