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Each year the Arkansas Museums Association (AMA) presents awards to celebrate and encourage excellence within Arkansas museums. Successful award recipients will be honored at the upcoming AMA Annual Conference. The AMA Awards Committee, comprised of one representative from each district, seeks nominations and serves as the selection committee for AMA. Click here to download the AMA awards guidelines and instructions. 

Award winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner at the Annual Conference on March 28. 

AMA invites nominations annually in the following categories:

  • Award of Outstanding Achievement in Education
For children and/or adult programming (not a special event) that advances knowledge and understanding of a particular subject and demonstrates exceptional standards. 

  • Award of Outstanding Achievement in Exhibit Design
For temporary, permanent, or traveling exhibitions that effectively and distinctively contribute to public understanding of a subject. Note: There will be two awards—one for museums with an annual budget of less than $150,000 and another for museums with an annual budget of $150,000 or more.
  • Award of Outstanding Achievement in Conservation

For excellence in preservation and conservation practices that illustrate exceptional standards set forth by the American Alliance of Museums and/or Society of American Archivists and executed by staff of an AMA museum. Preservation and conservation practices may include but are not limited to paper, textiles, paintings (framed or unframed), photographs, ceramics, glass, metal, scientific specimens, bone, leather, and stone.

  • Award of Outstanding Achievement in Media

For outstanding achievement in all forms of media that is distinguished by quality of concept, content and design; effectively reaches the intended target audience; illustrates creativity, clarity, and consistent theme throughout; and exemplifies best practices in the use of graphics, layout, and organization. Media forms may include books and catalogues, brochures, flyers, newsletter (print or digital), guides, podcasts, audio tours, all forms of social media, blogs, interactive kiosks, multimedia installations (photography, video, sound, etc.), website, and any other form.

  • Outstanding Museum Volunteer of the Year
The outstanding volunteer will have worked with a museum at least two years. Current volunteer duties may include but not be limited to front-desk duties, interpretation, and conservation, processing of collections, tour guide, gift shop sales, inventory design, and grounds maintenance. This individual is non-salaried, volunteer, docent, trustee, and museum associate or similar title. The recipient of the award will have shown outstanding qualities in hospitality, dependability, reliability, trustworthiness, and dedication.
  • Distinguished Museum Professional of the Year

The distinguished museum professional award recognizes an individual who has worked for two or more years within the museum profession and who exemplifies professionalism, teamwork, creativity and vision. This individual collaborates with museum staff, but volunteers, visitors, other agencies and museums, the community, and with those who might pursue a museum career. This individual has made strides within the past year in interpretation, exhibit design, collections and archival management, administration, accounting, marketing, and/or others areas of museum operations.

  • Museum Studies / Public History Graduate Student of the Year
For a graduate student in the area of museum, public history, archival management or related field who has shown academic excellence with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and has a minimum of 12 hours completed in the program. The successful nominee demonstrates initiative and leadership skills, has shown a willingness to collaborate with faculty, staff, and other graduate students and is committed to working in the museum, public history, archival management, or related field.
  • Peg Newton Smith Lifetime Achievement Award

In recognition of significant and ongoing contributions to the preservation of Arkansas heritage through a lifelong involvement in, and commitment to, the museum community and other organizations. A list of Peg Newton Smith Awardees can be found here.

The awards committee assesses all submissions and winners are selected by majority vote. If the committee is unable to identify a suitable achievement, no award is given. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Arkansas Museums Association
P. O. Box 3292
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203


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