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2022 Awards of Merit

Envisioning Our Museums for the Seventh Generation

April 9-12, 2022 | Corning, NY

MANY’s Awards of Merit recognize outstanding and innovative programs, staff, and volunteers who have enriched New York State museums with new and remarkable projects. Any organization or individual can nominate an organization, person(s), or project completed in 2021 at a museum, heritage, or cultural organization in the state of New York. Nomination of oneself or one’s organization is permissible and encouraged. 

Award of Merit winners can register for the conference at a discounted rate and can invite up to two guests to attend the Award of Merit presentation.

Award of Merit Nomination Categories:

Anne Ackerson Innovation in Leadership Award

This award recognizes a board member or staff leader that saw their organization through a critical challenge or significant opportunity in a creative, effective manner over a sustained period.

The Rising Star Award

This award recognizes a museum professional who is under the age of 35 and currently employed at a cultural institution. The Rising Star displays creative thinking and inspires institutional change.

Individual Achievement

This award recognizes devoted staff and volunteers who are instrumental in moving their organizations forward. Nominations are accepted for individuals or a team of staff and/or volunteers.

Development Award

This award recognizes institutions whose fundraising campaigns have been innovative, engaging, and successful. This award showcases teams or individuals who garner financial support creatively and effectively for the benefit of their organization and their community’s cultural economy.

Excellence in Design Award

This award recognizes an exhibition (physical and/or digital) produced by a cultural institution that articulates content through engaging design and creates a satisfying visitor experience. Supporting materials must include installation documentation and audience feedback.

Innovation in Collections Access Award
This award recognizes exemplary projects (physical and/or digital) that broaden access, preserve, and catalog museum and heritage organization collections.

Engaging Communities Award
This award recognizes an organization’s that uses creative methods to engage its community and build new audiences. Projects can include collections interpretation, exhibitions, lecture series, educational or public programs, focus groups, strategic planning, or other community engagement effort.

For the Innovation in Collections Access Award and Engaging Communities Award judges will consider making awards in the following four budget categories: Volunteer - $100,000, $100,000 - $500,000, $500,000 - $1,000,000, and over $1,000,000

    Awards of Merit nomination portal is now closed.

    To view the Award of Merit nomination form in advance, click here to access the PDF.

    Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of MANY board members and museum professionals from the Corning area.

    Have a question?

    Email conference@nysmuseums.org or call 518-273-3400

    Then Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul presenting the MANY 2018 annual conference “Visioning Change” Innovation in Collection Access Award of Merit to the New York State Museum’s “Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial

    2020 Engaging Communities Award of Merit recipient Hudson River Museum for Through Our Eyes: Collection Initiative and exhibition, a new digital archive documenting the diverse history of the people of Yonkers, NY. 

    MANY Board Member Georgette Grier-Key with 2019 Engaging Community Award Winner Kathryn Murano-Santos from Rochester Museum of Science for Take it Down.

    MANY Board Member Georgette Grier-Key with 2019 Engaging Community Award Winner Kathryn Murano Santos from Rochester Museum & Science Center for "Take it Down."


    Nominations will be reviewed on their own merit and will be evaluated on the basis of relevance, significance to the field, overall quality, and their unique or innovative character. Judges will consider the ways in which a project demonstrates the professional growth of an organization or individual, adherence to museum standards and best practices, level of risk and return on investment, and how the project enhanced the organization’s mission.

    Congratulations to our 2020 Award of Merit Winners!

    Anne Ackerson Innovation in Leadership Award

    Ed Varno, Former Executive Director of the Ontario County Historical Society

    Individual Achievement

    Stuart Lille, Vice President of Public History, Fort Ticonderoga

    Stephanie Krusa, Montauk Historical Society

    Development Award

    Paleontological Research Institution (Museum of the Earth) Teach Climate Science Project

    Excellence in Design Award

    Camp: Notes on Fashion by The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island by the Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages

    Innovation in Collections Access Award
    Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at The Tang Teaching Museum

    Engaging Communities Award

    Volunteer - $100,000 Civil War Day, Military History Society of Rochester

    $100,000 - 500,000 We Were There: Schoharie County and the 9/11 Response

    $1,000,000 - 5,000,000 Through Our Eyes: Collection Initiative and exhibition, Hudson River Museum

    Over $5,000,000 Vogueing Program by The Costume Institute and the Education Department, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Click here to learn more about the 2020 Award of Merit winners

    The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

    Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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