BCMA Awards Nomination Guidelines

The BCMA recognizes a number of individuals and organizations each year for their service and excellence within the sector.  To view the full award categories and descriptions, please click here.

If you are interested in nominating an individual or organization for an award, please read through the Frequently Asked Questions topics below.  Once you are ready, you can find how to submit a nomination at the bottom of the page.

Nominations for the Awards of Merit, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Museum Service & Stewardship Award for 2017 are now CLOSED.  Thank you to all who submitted nominations




Who is eligible for an award?

The work being recognized by an Award may have been done as volunteer service or undertaken for remuneration. Nominees need not be members of the BCMA.

What awards are available for nomination?

There are six awards for which you can nominate an individual or organization:

The Innovation Award, sponsored by NGX: 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!

Nominations for the following awards are now CLOSED:

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 Awards 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.


What do I need to submit for the nomination?

The Awards Committee appreciates as much information as possible in order to make informed decisions. All nominators should strive to provide a submission with careful consideration to what is meaningful and important. The nominator’s expression about why something has achieved excellence and how it has positively impacted a community is closely read in the adjudication process.

Nominations for the Distinguished Service and Museum Service & Stewardship awards should include the following:

  1. Summary description of the individual or organization being nominated, and your relationship to them (100 words or less)
  2. Overview of nominee’s contributions to the sector over an extended period of time (350 words or less)
  3. Highlights of how your nominee exemplifies the values of Sustainability, Impact/Engagement, Innovation, and/or Excellence (300 words or less)
  4. Specific examples (at least 1) of the impact of your nominee’s service as a professional
  5. Description of your nominee’s core contributions to the field
  6. External commentary from partners, audience and/or community

Awards of Merit nominations should include the following:

  1. Summary description of the project (75 words or less)
  2. Overview of the project (350 words or less)
  3. Description of the project’s relevance to the award category (300 words or less)
  4. Highlight of how the project exemplifies the values of Sustainability, Impact/Engagement, Innovation, and/or Excellence (300 words or less)
  5. Description of how you (the nominator) measured impact for this project
  6. Description of how you (the nominator) assessed and evaluated success for this project
  7. Description of the involvement of your community and any other partners in the development and delivery of the project
  8. External feedback from partners, audience and/or community

Innovation Award nominations should include the following:

  1. Summary description of the individual or organization (100 words or less)
  2. Overview of the individual or organization (350 words or less)
  3. Highlights of how your nominee exemplifies the values of Sustainability, Impact/Engagement, Innovation, and/or Excellence (300 words or less)
  4. Description of the impact of your nominee’s activities/achievements
  5. External commentary from partners, audience and/or community

Formal letters of recommendation are encouraged for all nominations, but not required.  You will have the opportunity to upload supporting documents as text or as PDF.

Sample Nominations

Not sure what to submit? Take a look at these sample nominations from previous winners. (Coming soon!)

Who can nominate?

Nominators need not be members of the BCMA. If the Nominator is not a member, a reference from a current BCMA member in good standing should accompany the nomination (upload in Question 8 of the nomination form). Nominators who are associated with the Nominee, as a co-worker, employee, contractor, or volunteer or Nominators who nominate themselves or their institutions for the Award of Merit Category, must include with their nomination a reference letter from a current BCMA member in good standing who is not associated with the nominee. Awards Committee members may also put forward nominations in accordance with these guidelines, in an effort to ensure that no deserving recipient is overlooked.

Can I nominate myself and/or my organization?

Yes. Since self-nominators have full access to pertinent information the Awards Committee expects to see a package that includes full details as well as a self-assessment.

Who is on this year’s Awards Committee?

The Awards Committee is independent and comprised of five individuals appointed by Council to evaluate nominations for BCMA’s Awards & Bursaries Program.The committee meets via conference call. This year the committee includes:

Tammy Bradford (co-chair), Creston & District Museum & Archives, Creston
Hanna Cho (co-chair), NGX Interactive, Vancouver
Kirstin Clausen, Britannia Mine Museum, Britannia Beach
Jill Baird, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
Bob Campbell, The Exploration Place, Prince George
David Jensen, David Jensen and Associates, Vancouver
Haema Sivanesan, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria
Alyssa Tobin, The Exploration Place, Prince George

What is the adjudication process?

To make effective and consistent evaluations, the following general criteria will apply in evaluating Nominees for all three Award categories:

Contribution: Nominees must have played a significant role in the collection, preservation or presentation of British Columbia’s heritage and/or culture.

Resources: The qualifications or worthiness of a Nominee will NOT be determined in any way by factors such as the size of a facility, institution, or agency, the number of employees or volunteers, budget, or the cost of a project or program. Evaluation will not be based upon a comparison of the resources of other possible Nominees, but on the relative accomplishment that may normally be expected of the resources available to the Nominee being considered.

Quality of Achievement: Recognizing the Awards Program objective of encouraging excellence in the museums, art galleries and heritage fields, consideration should be given not only to what the Nominee has accomplished, but also to the excellence of the work relative to similar culture and heritage resource accomplishments and programs.

Accomplishment: Nominees will be evaluated on an actual achievement, not on an untried idea or concept. Awards will not necessarily be given on an annual basis. If no Nominee whose achievements meet the established criteria is forthcoming, an Award may not be given in that year.

How are the winners honoured?

Successful nominees will be announced, celebrated and presented with their award at the BCMA Awards for Outstanding Achievement at BCMA’s annual Conference. This year’s conference is October 3-6 in Victoria.


Submit BCMA Award Nomination


PLEASE NOTE: Winners and nominees will be contacted in confidence, by the Awards Committee  and then publicly announced and celebrated at the annual BCMA Awards Gala during the BCMA annual Conference (Oct 3-6). Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala only. All delegates registering for the full conference receive a ticket to the Gala. Nominees, if not already delegates, receive one complimentary ticket. Additional Gala tickets can be purchased on the Conference registration site.