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Museum Studies earns top honors from Illinois Association of Museums

November 15, 2016

museum-studies-portraitIf there were Academy Awards for museum professionals in Illinois, Northern Illinois University would have earned plenty of Oscars.

During the 2016 Illinois Association of Museum (IAM) conference held last month in Oak Park, NIU museum studies students, alumni, faculty and staff snagged 13 of the 22 awards presented.

“The recognition of NIU’s Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS) in Museum Studies establishes our program as one recognized by the museum profession for training budding museum professionals,” said Peter Van Ael, coordinator of NIU’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies and the Jack Olson Gallery. “NIU provides integrated and applied learning opportunities at a professional level.”

Van Ael said besides being a venue for museum professionals to network, exchange ideas and discuss industry best practices, the annual conference is an opportunity to celebrate the best and finest museum accomplishments from around the state. Awards were presented in three main categories: anniversary and service awards, Awards of Distinction and Awards of Best Practices.

In addition to the dozen accolades earned, NIU‘s Stephen Jankiewicz was named the 2016 IAM Museum Studies Graduate Student of the Year. It is the fifth consecutive year a Huskie has earned the award.

“The fact that one of our students has earned this award every single year since its inception clearly establishes our program as the premiere museum studies program in the state,” Van Ael said. “It demonstrates that our students are highly motivated and talented. This, in combination with the other IAM awards we received, signals that our students are well-prepared to enter the profession.”

Here’s a recap of the awards received.

In the Best Practices-Exhibition category:

Award of Excellence – NIU Art Museum for “Beyond Gatsby: Common Luxury in American Art Deco.”

Award of Merit – Jack Olson Gallery for “Strange Days: Vinyl Aesthetics of the Psychedelic Era.”

Award of Excellence – NIU Art Museum for “Embarrassment of Riches.”

Superior Achievement Award – Pick Museum of Anthropology for “Storytelling: Hmong-American Voices.”

In the Best Practices-Conservation/Collections category:

NIU alumna Ashlee Grude, museum supervisor of the Downers Grove Museum, received an Award of Excellence for ”Virtual Tour of the Downers Grove Museum.”

In the Best Practices-Special Projects category:

NIU alumni Pamela Rohleder, Village of Bartlett Museum director, and Malwina Bardoni, museum assistant, received an Award of Excellence for “Celebrating Bartlett’s 125 years of Incorporation.”

In the Best Practices: Printed Materials category:

Award of Excellence – Jack Olson Gallery for “Focus: SoAD Sabbatical Exhibition.”

Award of Excellence – Pick Museum of Anthropology for “The 50th Anniversary Collections” catalog.

In the Best Practices: Educational Programming category:

Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum (NIU alumna Karly Tumminello, director) earned Awards of Excellence for “Discovery Days” and for “Discovery Box Loan.”

Awards of Distinction:

NIU student Steve Jankiewicz was named the 2016 Museum Studies Graduate Student of the Year.

NIU alumnae Sandy Denninger, curator of Elk Grove Historical Museum, was named the 2016 Museum Professional of the Year.

NIU alumna Karly Tumminello, museum director of Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum, accepted the Small Institution of the Year award for that museum on the campus of Benedictine University in Lisle.