2016 Recipients of Excellence in Exhibition Awards

Overall Award Winner

National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC), “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations”

Nation to Nation is an 8,000 square foot temporary (until 2020) exhibition that is the first museum exhibition to tell the story of Indian treaties on a national scale. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition as an ‘Overall Winner’ for the front end evaluation and comprehensive narrative woven into a rich combination of beautiful design and organized content. NMAI presented a difficult topic with multiple perspectives very effectively with a very high capacity for learning for the visitor.

Overall Award Winner

San Diego Natural History Museum (San Diego, CA), “Coast to Cactus in Southern California”

This 8,000 square foot permanent exhibit complements the Museum’s 2006 permanent exhibit, Fossil Mysteries that extends the museum narrative to give visitors a true sense of the region, from its geological and paleontological past to the biological present and how they both inform the future. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition as an ‘Overall Winner’ for the quality of interpretive strategies in rich, playful, evocative and immersive spaces and effective use of bi-lingual labels, particularly inclusive of the local community with a feeling of authenticity.

Special Achievement, Risky Subject

 Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN), “National Geographic Sacred Journeys”

The Children’s Museum produced this 6,241 square foot traveling exhibit in collaboration with the National Geographic Society. Utilizing immersive environments created with important religious art and artifacts and photography curated by National Geographic, the exhibit shares the story of some of the sacred journeys made by people around the world. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Special Achievement – Risky Subject for thoughtfully taking a controversial topic and making it relevant to children through objects and stories.\

Special Achievement, Interpretation

Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO), “Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio”

The Denver Art Museum developed this 13,250 square foot traveling exhibition utilizing a grant-funded research project on creativity. “The pull of creativity as a unifying human tendency helped guide us in this exhibition toward art works that reveal the Wyeths’ respective creative processes, and toward content that emphasized the emotional realness of the artists as people.” The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Special Achievement, Interpretation for the variety and successful ways the exhibit utilized different methods of interpretation: relationship framework, immersive environments, humor, art and objects; design and the opportunities to physically engage with the art.   

Special Achievement, Planning Process

Museum of Science  (Boston, MA), “The Science Behind Pixar”

Museum of Science, Boston created this 13,000 square foot traveling exhibit building on their experience with scientific thinking skills and technological literacy and kicking off their initiative to incorporate computer programming in their mission. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Special Achievement, Planning Process for the productive levels of evaluation, prototyping, universal design planning, and planned layering of content to produce an interesting and engaging exhibit. 

Special Achievement, Engagement With Living Collection

National Aquarium (Baltimore, MD), “Living Seashore”

The 2,800 square foot permanent exhibit from the National Aquarium takes guests beyond the boardwalk to the dunes, beaches and waves of the mid-Atlantic Seashore, highlighting local aquatic treasures. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Special Achievement, Engagement With a Living Collection for the research utilizing the changing behavior of the audience and linking the conservation with clear explanations in a relatively small space – particularly in the ‘Jelly Touchpool’.

Special Achievement, Reframing Collections

National Museum of American History (Washington, D.C.), “Object Project”

The ‘Object Project’, a 4,000 square foot is part of the newly renovated west Innovation Wing of the museum to explore “everyday things that changed everything” in a collection based exhibit. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Special Achievement, Reframing Collections for taking an old idea and really looking at it in a new way and piquing a person’s natural curiosity: visually great design, elevation of things that are ordinary, approachable, touchable, funny and relatable text, and utilizing the audience as a centerpiece.

Special Achievement, Contextualizing Collections With Community Voice

Oakland Museum of California (Oakland, CA), “Pacific Worlds”

Oakland Museum of California created an 8,000 square foot temporary exhibit to explore the historical and contemporary connections between the Pacific Islands and California. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Special Achievement, Contextualizing Collections With Community Voice for the effective reframing of the collections through its connections to the community in first person labels and a multi-disciplinary approach of displaying collection objects and art.

Honorable Mention, Universally Relevant Topic Made Creatively “Hands-On”

Long Island Children’s Museum (Garden City, NY), “Broken? Fix It!”

Long Island Children’s Museum developed and designed the 1,200 square foot exhibit, Broken? Fix It! to explore the collective experience of fixing broken things that is both a traveling and permanent exhibit among the Youth Museum Exhibit Collaborative. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Honorable Mention, Universally Relevant Topic Made Creatively “Hands-On” for the fun, coherent and interactive approach to a common subject with a good use of collection materials.

Honorable Mention, Excellent Outreach to Create Multi-Sensory Experiences

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum (Bismarck, ND), “Innovation Galleries: Early Peoples”

The 8,122 square foot permanent exhibit is part of a large scale project to trace North Dakota history from the geologic past of 600 million years through the present day. The focus on Early Peoples is devoted to the Native peoples of North Dakota. The Excellence in Exhibition chose this exhibition for Honorable Mention, Excellent Outreach to Create Multi-Sensory Experiences utilizing the audience, including multiple perspectives with indigenous populations sharing the material culture with diverse techniques that encompassed, technology, touch, smell, sounds and easy to read labels.