Grants, Awards & Competitions

We take pride in recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to excellence within, and support of, the museum field.


Museums Connect

Strengthens connections and cultural understanding between people in the United States and abroad through innovative projects facilitated by museums and executed by their communities. Museums ConnectSM is made possible by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the American Alliance of Museums.

Other Grants

A listing of upcoming grant opportunities from a variety of federal agencies.


Excellence in Label Writing

Deadline: Dec. 13, 2015

Recognizes outstanding and innovative label writing in museums, zoos, aquariums, universities and libraries.

John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership

Deadline: Dec. 13, 2015

Recognizes an individual, other than someone working directly with museum education programs, for efforts on behalf of public education and community service.

Excellence in Exhibition

Deadline: Jan. 29, 2016

Recognizes outstanding achievement in the exhibition format from all types of museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and any other types of noncommercial institutions offering exhibitions to the public.  

Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence

Deadline: Feb. 5, 2016

This award honors a museum professional with less than ten years experience in the museum field. It recognizes a specific achievement that has benefited either the honoree’s home institution or the museum field in general.

Distinguished Service to Museums Award

Deadline: Feb. 5, 2016

Recognizes an individual's excellence and contributions to the museum profession for at least 20 years.

Excellence in Practice

Deadline: Jan. 31, 2016

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary service to the public through the practice of education in a museum.

Excellence in Programming

Deadline: Jan 31, 2016

This award recognizes exemplary creativity and innovation in museum educational programming.

Excellence in Resources

Deadline: Jan. 31, 2016

The award for published resources recognizes outstanding resources in print or print/multimedia formats.

Innovation in Museum Education

Deadline: Jan. 31, 2016

The award will go to either an individual or team in conjunction with a program, resource, or media piece, and could include a museum program done in the community outside the museum walls.

MUSE Awards

Deadline: March 9, 2016

Recognizes outstanding achievement in Galleries, Libraries, Archives or Museums (GLAM) media. Presented to institutions or independent producers who use digital media to enhance the GLAM experience and engage audiences, the MUSE awards celebrate scholarship, community, innovation, creativity, education and inclusiveness.

Sustainability Excellence Award

Deadline: April 14, 2016

The purpose of this recognition program is to educate, facilitate, and encourage green practice and to acknowledge and celebrate leaders in environmental sustainability.

Dudley Wilkinson Award of Distinction

Issued to a museum professional who has demonstrated commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the registration profession


Publications Competition (Pub Comp)

Deadline: June 17, 2016

The only national, juried competition of its kind, winners are chosen for their overall design excellence, creativity and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission or special features.

Brooking Paper on Creativity in Museums

The Brooking competition recognized innovative accomplishments that produced new ways of thinking and seeing within the museum field. Papers described examples of creativity in any aspect of museum operations, from collections, programs and exhibitions to finance, marketing and administration—or anything in between.