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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. 

Congrats to our 2022 Awards of Merit Winners!

Click here to learn more 


Anne Ackerson Innovation in Leadership Award

Brenda Simmons, Founder and Executive Director, Southampton African American Museum

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 –Mary Tsaltas-Ottomanelli, Special Programs & Engagement Manager, Fraunces Tavern Museum

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.


Honorable mention –Jessie Serfilippi, Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site


Individual Achievement –Melissa Dunlap, Executive Director, Niagara County Historical Society

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.


Excellence in Design Award –Story Makers: Burke Prize 2020, Museum of Arts and Design

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.


Honorable mention –Timeline Exhibit: John Luetich, PanAm Museum


Innovation in Collections Access Award –Digital Carpet Restoration for Historic House Access, The Olana Partnership
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.

Volunteer - $100,000

Standing on Their Shoulders: 101 Years of Voting and Still Marching for Women's Rights –Historical Society of Woodstock

$100,000 - $500,000

A Visual Dialogue on Environmental Issues Long Island Explorium

$500,000 - $1,000,000

Jupiter Hammon Project –Preservation Long Island

$1,000,000 - $5,000,000

Tomashi Jackson: The Land Claim Parrish Art Museum

Over $5,000,000

GATHER: Conversations Led by Black & Indigenous Changemakers –Guild Hall of East Hampton


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

    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."

    JUDGING CRITERIA AND NOMINATION REQUIREMENTS

    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.

    The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

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

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