PA Museums 2022 Special Achievement Awards
Call for Nominations

Each year, PA Museums recognizes the special achievements of museums and historical organizations in Pennsylvania. This is your invitation to nominate a project or process that is exemplary, or an individual for lifetime achievement.

PA MUSEUMS SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:

  • Serve as public recognition of staff and volunteers doing exemplary work;
  • Encourage institutions to establish and maintain standards of excellence;
  • Provide a vehicle to promote institutional achievement and individual professional success;
  • Reinforce case statements attesting to the quality of your programs in grant applications, fundraising materials, or sponsorship proposals; and
  • Publicly honor awardees with peers and invited guests at a special awards ceremony during PA Museums’ statewide conference.

Doesn’t your organization deserve to be there when awards are presented in 2022?

The deadline to submit nominations is October 22, 2021 at 11:59 pm.

Please click here to complete our online nomination form.

Please click here to download and print a copy of our guidelines.

Nominations will be reviewed and awardees notified in December 2021. Formal recognition of awardees will be given on the PA Museums website, in the PA Museums e-newsletter Tapestry, and at an awards ceremony held during our annual springtime conference. The 2022 annual conference is tentatively scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh, PA, April 25. 2022.

ELIGIBILITY

  • 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 October 22, 2021 deadline. The review panel 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, at rusty.baker@pamuseums.org or 1.717.909.4951.

AWARD CATEGORIES

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:

  • Exemplary implementation of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice policies and practices.
  • 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 of Merit (may only be awarded to an individual once)

Individual Awards of Merit recognize the lifetime achievements of career professionals and volunteers for leadership, scholarship, and lifetime contributions in the museum field. This award may only be given to an individual once in their lifetime.

Special Award Categories

PA Museums may award Special Awards (President’s Award, Director’s Award, Legislative Award, Institutional Advancement Award) at the discretion of the Awards Committee.

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.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Institutional Awards

The PA Museums’ Awards Committee evaluates nominations using the following three key scoring criteria.

Quality of the Project, Process or Service (0-40 points)

How was this project implemented? What was innovative about this project? Is the project an outstanding example? What are the new ideas and how did you find them?

Audience, Access and Public Engagement (0-40 points)

How did this project or practice benefit the public? What audiences were targeted, how did you engage them, and what parts of your community became involved with your institution as a result? How did the project increase access to the institution’s exhibits, programs, or collections?

Management (0-20 points)

Was the project well planned and managed? Did completing the project relate to the mission? Were you able to implement the project at the highest level possible, given your staff and budget size? Is the nomination clear and complete?

Pennsylvania is privileged to have more than 1,100 cultural institutions, museums, and historical organizations of all sizes and disciplines. Projects are evaluated on their own merits and within the context of the organization’s own institutional capacity.

Individual Awards

PA Museums’ Awards Committee evaluates nominations using the following three key scoring criteria.

Quality of the Leadership, Professional Practice, or Contributions to the Museum Field (0-45 points)

What makes this person’s work stand out? What could others learn from his or her example?

Impact of the Individual Effort (0-45 points)

How has this person’s leadership, professional work, or volunteer service helped audiences or the institution? How has his or her work increased the institution’s capacity or advanced its place in a community?

Completeness of the Nomination (0-10 points)

Is the nomination clear and complete?

Please click here to complete our online nomination form.

2021Awards

Institutional Achievement Awards

Cannon Ball Online Auction and Party To Go, Fort Ligonier, Ligonier

Berks History for Victory (exhibit), Berks History Center,  Reading

Pittsburgh, Virginia (exhibit), Fort Pitt Museum, Pittsburgh

Medal of Honor Display, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Pittsburgh

Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier (exhibit), The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

Thrown, Fired and Glazed: The Redware Tradition from Pennsylvania and Beyond (exhibit), Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster

Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Special Issue featuring the City Beautiful Exhibition and Digital Harrisburg (collaboration of Messiah University, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and a number of community partners)Pennsylvania Historical Association

Individual Awards

Walter Rybka, Senior Captain and Site Administrator, Erie Maritime Museum/US Brig Niagara, Erie
Annita Andrick, Director of Library and Archives, Erie County Historical Society/Hagen History Center, Erie
Tom Bresenhan, Friends of The Joseph Priestley House, Northumberland

S.K. Stevens Awards

Hamilton Was Here, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

The Vietnam War: 1945-1975, The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh

2020

Institutional Achievement Awards
Restoration of Al Capone’s Cell, Eastern State Penitentiary and Historic Site, Philadelphia
Museum Lab, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
The Vietnam War 1945-1975, The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh
Hamilton Was Here, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
McKean County Historic Collectible Pin Program, Allegheny National Forest Visitor’s Bureau, Bradford
Shan Goshorn: Resisting the Mission, The Trout Gallery at the Art Museum of Dickinson College, Carlisle
George Washington Birthday Parties, Fort Ligonier, Ligonier
Stones n Bones Exhibit, Jefferson County History Center, Brookville
Gathering of Governors, Pennsbury Manor, Morrisville

Individual Awards
Sime Bertolet, Berks History Center, Reading
Sue Hanna, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg

Carol Wickkiser Memorial Award (Emerging Museum Professional)
Matthew Skic, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

S.K. Stevens Award
Community Heart and Soul Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle
Revolution Place Discovery Center, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

2019

Institutional Achievement Awards
Negley Log House Rebuild
, Conococheague Institute for the Study of Cultural Heritage, Mercersburg
Community Heart and Soul Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle
New Mission Statement and Strategic Plan, Eastern State Penitentiary and Historic Site, Philadelphia
Waves of the Past, Sailors of the Future, Flagship Niagara League/U.S. Brig Niagara, Erie
Fortifying our Future: Enhancing Fort Ligonier, Fort Ligonier, Ligonier
Revolution Place Discovery Center, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
Bringing History Alive at Old Economy Village, Old Economy Village, Ambridge
Field to Front: Nittany Lions at War, 1917-1919, Penn State University All Sports Museum, University Park
Modernation and Improvement of Museum Collections Management, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall Museum, Pittsburgh
Restoration and Reinterpretation of Mammal Hall, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Historic Center and Cemetery, Stoddartsville Preservation Society, Stoddartsville

Individual Awards
Steve Appleby, The Eldred World War II Museum, Eldred
Sarah Buffington, Old Economy Village, Ambridge
Hope W. Kopf, The Joseph Priestly House, Northumberland

S.K. Stevens Award
The Museum of the American Revolution, Washington’s War Tent

2018

Institutional Achievement Awards
Washington’s War Tent, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
Kids as Curators, Erie Art Museum, Erie
Berks History Center Collections Management Project, Berks History Center, Reading
Defending Democracy: Bradford County in World War I, A Centennial Remembrance, Bradford County Historical Society, Towanda
From Maps to Mermaids, Carved Powder Horns, Fort Pitt Museum/The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh
Ice Age Meets Space Age: The Use of Innovative Gigapan Technology in the Revised First Peoples: Archaeology at Meadowcroft Rockshelter Curriculum, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village/The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh
York County History Center Campus Project, York History Center, York
Make the Switch at Phipps! Green Power Drive, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh
Unraveling the Threads of History: Needlework Samplers, Centre County Historical Society, State College

Individual Achievement Award
Albert LeCoff, The Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia

Carol Wickkiser Memorial Award
Matt Gault, Fort Ligonier, Ligonier

S.K. Stevens Awards
Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, Jefferson County History Center, Brookville
Prisons Today: Questions in the age of Mass Incarceration, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

2017

Institutional Achievement Awards
Elizabeth V. and George F. Gardner Digital Library, Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle
Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, Jefferson County History Center, Brookville
Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site exhibit, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
The Virtual Museum: Bringing the Museum to You special project, National Watch and Clock Museum, Columbia
Weathervanes: Three Centuries of a Pennsylvania Folk Art Tradition exhibit, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster
Wexford Station project, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Washington

Institutional Honorable Mention
Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network special project, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia

S.K. Stevens Award*
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Galeton

Individual Achievement Awards
Ken Burkett, Executive Director, Jefferson County History Center
J. Steven Humphrey, Executive Director, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
John Vanco, Executive Director, Erie Art Museum, Erie

2016

Institutional Achievement Awards
Share the Story Scholarship Fund, The Hershey Story Museum, Hershey
Hidden Collections Initiative, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Visitor Center Expansion & New Core Exhibit, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Galeton

Institutional Honorable Mentions
Women in Aerospace & Technology program, American Helicopter Museum & Education Center, West Chester
Fort Augusta special project, Northumberland County Historical Society, Sunbury

S.K. Stevens Award*
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

2015

Institutional Achievement Award
The Big Graph exhibit, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
Museum on the Move program, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh

Institutional Honorable Mentions
A Legacy of Learning program, Historic Fair Hill, Philadelphia

S.K. Stevens Awards*

Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, Gettysburg
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster

 

2014

Institutional Achievement Awards
Pennsylvania’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts special project, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia
The Blood in the Life: Vampires in Art and Nature exhibit and programming, The Everhart Museum, Scranton

Institutional Honorable Mentions
Farm Days 1866 program, Bradford County Heritage Association, Troy
Turning Points: Civil War, 1863-1864 exhibit and programming, Mercer Museum, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown

President’s Award
From Slavery to Freedom exhibit, Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh

Director’s Award
Voices of Duty and Devotion exhibit and museum opening, Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, Gettysburg

Carol Wickkiser Memorial Award (Emerging Museum Professional)
Daniel Roe, Director of Education, The York County Heritage Trust, York

*Awarded to organizations which have received both an American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Award and a PA Museums Achievement Award in the previous year)