NCMC Award Nominations

The purpose of the NCMC Awards Program is to recognize, encourage, and promote excellence and professionalism within the museum community and organizations in related fields of interest. Awards focus public attention on the outstanding efforts in exhibitions, publications and the use of technology offered by museums around our state in the 2017 calendar year.

All award applications including supporting materials be submitted electronically by February 10, 2018 for consideration.

Awards of Excellence

Awards of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorable Mention shall be presented in the three separate categories. Judges reserve the right to grant no awards or to grant more than one award in case of a tie.

This year the Awards Committee will grant Awards of Excellence for Exhibitions and Publications (printed material). NCMC Awards of Excellence are presented to institutions that demonstrate the highest quality of work in our profession based upon the available resources of that institution.

Exhibition Competition

The Exhibition Competition focuses attention on exhibitions of merit that are well designed, have educational value and treat objects according to best professional practices. This competition showcases the best in our profession and in doing so promotes excellence and professionalism across the state. Award winners will be announced at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Greensboro, NC.

Submissions to the exhibition competition shall be submitted based on the following five project budget categories: exhibitions with budgets less than $5,000, over $5,000, over $25,000, over $100,000 and over $1,000,000.


Publication Competition

The Publication Competition recognizes and rewards excellence in graphic design in publications created by North Carolina museums and related organizations. The competition focuses on communication, design, creativity and recognition of institutional image and identity. Winning entries will be displayed at NCMC's Annual Meeting in Greensboro, NC.

A publication is defined as material reproduced in printed form for distribution to the general public. Submissions to the publication competition may include the following: Invitations, Newsletters & Calendars of Events, Brochures & Rack Cards, Fundraising/Membership Materials, Gallery Guides, and Exhibit Catalogs/Books.


Judging Criteria for the Award of Excellence

A museum's size, budget and staff will be taken into consideration by the Awards Committee in evaluating the nomination. Other factors which may be considered include: How much did the project benefit the public? What was the museum's accomplishment relative to its resources?

  • Nominees for the Awards of Excellence must be current members of NCMC, and nominations must be made by an NCMC Member. Institutions may nominate themselves.
  • Exhibitions and publications nominated for the Awards of Excellence must have been completed during 2017 calendar year. Work implemented in 2017 that continues over a longer period of time may also be considered. Long-term or permanent exhibitions must have opened in 2017.


Professional Service Awards

The North Carolina Museum's Council may award up to four Professional Service Awards in a given year. With the exception of the Lawson Award, nominees for the NCMC Professional Service Awards must be Individual Members of NCMC, or employees or retirees of an Institutional Member of NCMC. Nominations must be made by an NCMC Individual Member or Institutional Member.

Emerging Professionals Award

The NCMC Emerging professional Award shall be presented to any individual with less than 5 years of service in the museum filed who has distinguished him/herself in the museum field and/or have professionally advanced the role of museums or that of the North Carolina Museum's Council. They committee may grant one Emerging Professional Award each year.


Professional Service Award

The NCMC Professional Service Award shall be presented to any individual currently employed at a North Carolina museum that has distinguished him/herself in the museum field and/or have professionally advanced the role of museums or that of the North Carolina Museums Council. The committee will grant one "Professional Service" award each year.

The nominee must be an Individual Member of or be employed by an Institutional Member of NCMC. Preference will be given to museum professionals whose work and contributions have statewide impact and who have had a depth of experience with museums in North Carolina. Preference will also be given to nominees who have a demonstrated record of membership and service with the North Carolina Museums Council organization.


Dennis T. Lawson Memorial Award

The Dennis T. Lawson Memorial Award honors deceased members and supporters of the museum profession in North Carolina. The award was created in 1987 in honor of Dennis T. Lawson, director of the High Point Museum and Historical Park, a respected and admired colleague who died suddenly and unexpectedly during the preceding year. This award may be presented in memorial to one individual each year. 


William T. Alderson Lifetime Achievement Award

The William T. Alderson Lifetime Achievement Award retired (still living) museum professionals for a lifetime of service to demonstrate NCMC's respect and admiration for the body of work they accomplished in their career. This may be awarded to one individual each year. In addition to standard award recognitions, Alderson Award winners will receive a special gift.



Awards of Special Recognition

The NCMC Awards of Special Recognition honors an individual, group, or business affiliated with a museum in North Carolina who has demonstrated significant interest and support in the programs, goals, and policies or made significant contributions of time, money, or ideas to a museum in the state. Up to three NCMC Awards of Special Recognition may be awarded each year. The Awards Committee may choose to make no award or to make multiple awards in one or more categories: Individual or Individuals including museum volunteers; Group or Organization; and Business, Corporation or Foundation.

Judging Criteria for Awards of Special Recognition

A nominee in this category must be affiliated with an Institutional Member of NCMC or be an Individual Member of NCMC, and nominations must be made by an NCMC Member. Preference will be given to individual or group efforts reflecting great initiative and/or single-handed and long-term commitment to an organization or project. Examples of a contribution may include in-kind assistance, institutional board service, project leadership, docent/volunteer service, community project leadership, or funding of a special project.

  • Nominees for the Awards of Special Recognition must be affiliated with museums that are Institutional Members of NCMC. It is not required that the individual, volunteer, group or business nominated be a current Member.


Winners are recognized during the Awards Presentation held during the NCMC Annual Conference. Awards provide a vehicle for promoting institutions through media news releases, membership, and fund-raising campaigns. Awards can reinforce the quality of a museum's programs in grant proposals. 
Each winner will receive a certificate, letter from NCMC President, recognition on website and in newsletter; and complimentary lunch and recognition at the annual meeting.

Notification and Recognition

The Awards Chair will notify winners by early March and invite them to the annual meeting to accept their certificates. The Awards Chair of NCMC will arrange to have the recipient and/or their designee of the Lawson and Alderson Awards attend the annual meeting.


Nomination Deadline

All award applications including supporting materials be submitted electronically by February 10, 2018 for consideration.

All materials submitted will become the property of NCMC unless the nominator provides a self-addressed return envelope with adequate postage for the return of materials.


Nomination Procedures

To apply for a 2018 North Carolina Museums Council Award, please submit the following:

  • Completed award nomination form with required support documentation as specified on the form (all nomination materials should be submitted electronically as PDF files)
  • There is one notable exception to the PDF file requirement. Entries in the publication competition must mail five (5) hard copies of the actual publication (Invitation, Newsletters & Calendars of Event, Brochure & Rack Card, Fundraising/Membership Materials, Gallery Guide, and Exhibit Catalog/Book)
  • Letters of support, if required, must be sent by the letter-writer directly to

Please e-mail all application materials as PDF files to 
Required hard copies of publications should be mailed to Matt Edwards, NCMC Awards Chair

Matt Edwards, NCMC Awards Chair 
C/O Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
301 N Main St
Mt Airy, NC 27030

Questions regarding this award may be directed to Matt Edwards, Awards Chair, at  or (336) 786-4478.
All Applicants will be notified about the status of the award in early March.