BCMA Awards Categories

BC’s museum and gallery community offers diverse services and visitor experiences that are relevant and meaningful to multiple audiences. We all know of colleagues and partners who are deserving of recognition for their excellence in management, special projects, programs, exhibits, philanthropy and volunteerism. The BCMA invites you to take a look at your circle of co-workers and industry partners to identify those you feel should be recognized by their peers. The BCMA provides the means with the unique and prestigious BCMA Awards for Outstanding Achievement. Divided into three categories, the awards recognize:

The Distinguished Service Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made a unique and outstanding contribution on a regional, provincial or national basis to the museum, gallery, archives or heritage field over an extended period of time.

Museum Service & Stewardship Award

This award recognizes an outstanding effort and contribution over an extended period, of an individual or organization that has donated funds, services or personnel to the museum, gallery, archives or heritage resources field. This award would encompass individuals such as volunteers or partners/organizations/associations such as corporate/donor, and in-kind, community partners.

The Award of Merit

Excellence in Community Engagement – for a recent outstanding success in community engagement, as demonstrated by ongoing participation of new audiences, new partnerships with community organisations, supporting needs of the community, etc through innovative programming. Programming may be exhibit-based, school-oriented, stand-alone, or focused on volunteer engagement, etc; it may be delivered on-site,off-site, or both. New audiences and community partners should be defined by the nominated museum with respect to its own capacity, community, and audience history.

Excellence in Exhibitions – for a recent outstanding, innovative, and/or creative achievement in any and all aspects of exhibition development and design, including content and curatorial choices; presentation, organisation and format; interpretation (including exhibit-based signage, publications, live interpretation/performance, web-based interpretation, etc); community relevance; etc. Exhibitions may be permanent or temporary, on-site, off-site, or online; they may be of any size from a single display case to a collection of historic buildings. Creativity and innovation should be measured against the nominated museum’s own capacity and exhibit history; it may reflect an all-new approach to museology in general, or it may reflect an individual museum doing something it has never done before.

Excellence in Collections – recognizing recent excellence in collections best practices, which may include innovative approaches to collecting, collections management, preservation (including preservation of sites and structures), repatriation, collections-based research, dissemination and accessibility, etc. Generally-accepted best practices are the benchmark; however, museums will be recognized for striving to reach that standard within the context of their own capacity, community, and collections history.

Innovation Award

In 2017, BCMA announced a new Innovation Award sponsored by NGX Interactive. At the heart of our museum community are people who are actively pushing boundaries, challenging conventions, and exemplifying innovative ways of thinking, seeing, and doing. This new award recognizes individuals in the BC museum community whose work is driven by innovation and creativity. Nominees are welcome from any and all aspect of museum operations, from collections, programs and exhibitions to finance, marketing and administration—or anything in between.

This award is generously sponsored for the next three years by NGX Interactive.  Thank you!

Honourable Mentions

Honourable mentions are not available for nomination but may be awarded at the Awards Committee’s discretion.

Honourable Mention for Sustainability – recognizes an exceptional achievement by a nominee/organization to engage in innovative climate-friendly, sustainable practice.

Honourable Mention for Impact and Engagement – recognizes exhibits, programming, and other projects that foreground relevance, engagement, and collaboration with community and stakeholders.

Honourable Mention for Excellence – recognizes nominees in the Merit categories where an Award was not bestowed, but the committee feels recognition is due for excellence.

Nominations are now CLOSED. Thank you to all who submitted a nomination.


For a look back at awards and honorees through the years, please look at the Awards History page and Recipients page.

“This is my third year as a member of the BCMA’s Awards Committee, and for many years before that I have attended the annual Awards Banquets at BCMA Conferences. One observation has remained constant: there is an incredible diversity of museums, archives, and art galleries in this province, undertaking an incredibly diverse range of work to preserve our history, celebrate our artists, and engage our communities. Every day, we find innovative ways to meet new challenges and fulfill the needs of our communities. The BC Museums Associations’ awards are one way – a very special way – of recognising and celebrating our achievements.

 There are only five of us on the Awards committee; we need your help to identify the museums, archives, and art galleries that deserve to be recognised. I encourage you to look at the work your colleagues and sister-organisations are doing, and help recognise the outstanding effort they are making. Nominate them, or nominate yourself, for an Award of Merit or a Distinguished Service Award; nominate your municipality, a key sponsor, or some other corporate entity for a Corporate Service Award to thank them for their ongoing support. All nominations are carefully considered, and all will be publicly recognised at the Awards Banquet.

 As I’m sure you know, recognition from our peers is one of the most gratifying and inspiring aspects of the challenging roles we play in the province’s museums. Please take the time to nominate someone today.”

~Tammy Bradford, Awards Committee Chairperson