Owl Award Presentation

OwlThe first Owl Award Presentation made its appearance at the banquet during the annual training seminar in Victoria, 1971. Devised by Ursula Surtees of the Okanagan Museum & Archives, Kelowna, BC, the categories and winners for 1971 were as follows:

  • Best Entertainment Short Award, Dan Gallacher for “Story Without End”
  • Pollution Award, Mary Balf for “Anything Goes” based on the book, “How Green Was My Valley”
  • Special Mention Award, Len McCann for “Ship Without a Sail” based on “There’s a Girl in My Sloop”
  • Special Award, Gisela Mendel for “Northern Lights” based on “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, Phil Ward for “Haywire and Skyhooks”, latest methods of conservation and restoration, a sequel to his first book, “A Patch of Glue”
  • Best Documentary & Group Study, Shirley Cuthbertson for “Cabin Fever”, something old, some borrowed time, lots of blue days, plus the patter of little feet.
  • Runner-Up Award (Owl with both eyes closed), Willard Ireland for “A Can For All Seasons”


October 1971, Museums Roundup

By 1969, a survey was necessary to find out if the Association was headed in the right direction.  The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation funded the eminent anthropologist and museologist Dr. Carl Guthe to conduct the survey.  One conclusion he made in his report to the Association was “[that] a system of awards be set up for presentations at the AGM along the lines of the American Association for State & Local History,” Museums Roundup- Fall 1980.  The AASLH Awards Program “endeavours to establish and to encourage increasingly higher standards of excellence within the historical agency field in the USA and Canada.” Museums Roundup-Winter 1978-79.

BCMA’s Awards Program, with the Distinguished Service Award and Award of Merit, was launched in 1983.  At the first regular meeting of the new Council following the Dawson Creek Conference in 1989, Council “gave approval to a concept brought forward by the Awards Committee – that a trophy be presented for BCMA Awards.  The design was eye-catching and interesting, and could make an excellent Association logo.” Museums Roundup-Number 152, February 1990.


New BCMA Logo Evolves

In 1990, the Awards Committee initiated the development of the former BCMA logo as a result of their desire to produce a three-dimensional award.  They felt that the BCMA Awards Program should provide a more recognizable award for its recipients.  The groundwork they did resulted in an icon, produced by Artec Communications Inc. of Duncan that appealed to Council, who voted to adopt the image for the entire Association.


Museums in Motion

Museums in Motion SculptureFollowing the change in logo to the compass rose, the BCMA Council approved a new award sculpture. The “Museums in Motion” bronze sculpture, produced exclusively for the BCMA each year by internationally renowned Kelowna sculptor Geert Maas, stands 11.5” tall (plus 2” walnut base) and weighs 9 lbs.
“Museums in Motion” is a cast bronze sculpture depicting a group of people in mid-stride. The sculpture depicts many people working together. This reflects the nature of the British Columbia Museums Association: a collection of groups and individuals working together through a single organization. The striding joyous motion represents the dynamic nature of progress, innovation, and creation.

The following are descriptions of a collage of images harmoniously combined into the sculpture:

  • A complex display of faces, some abstract, some realistic and artifacts
  • The top figure with raised arms expresses jubilance about excellence and achievement
  • The wave pattern on the figure’s legs represents a connection with water. British Columbia borders the Pacific and is famous for its many lakes, rivers and streams
  • A nozzle and a bolt, representing irrigation/farm equipment by early settlers/development through water, referring to the natural beauty and resources of BC, the member botanical and museum artifacts
  • Water, wood, agriculture reflects the natural abundance of British Columbia
  • Two masks, one representing youth, the other BC’s rich aboriginal heritage
  • Serpent head, referring to BC’s wildlife
  • A book, representing archives

The sculpture is finished in various patinas, reflecting the wide range of different art forms that are brought together under the umbrella of the BC Museums Association. It is mounted on a black walnut base, its shape to reflect architecture and historical sites, the wood referring to natural resources. The contrast between the simplicity of the striding motion and the complexity of the design in the “Museums in Motion” award captures vitality and offers aesthetic appeal.

About the Artist

Geert Maas, the creator of the Museums in Motion award, is an internationally renowned sculptor based in Kelowna, BC. Originally trained as an art teacher, he immigrated to Kelowna from the Netherlands in 1979.

Maas is best known for his work with bronze sculptures, but he uses a variety of other mediums such as acrylic, lacquer, aluminum, stainless steel, and stoneware, in 2 and 3 dimensional formats. A number of his sculptures, as well as pieces of his other work, can be viewed at the Geert Maas Sculpture Gardens and Gallery in Kelowna, as well as in private, corporate, and public collections around the world. Visit www.geertmaas.org


BCMA Awards for Outstanding Achievement

In 2014 the Council took a new direction to freshen up the awards ceremony and to support the annual conference host communities. The awards ceremony name was changed from Museums in Motion to The BCMA Awards for Outstanding Achievement and the sculpture presented to winners is now designed by local artists from current conference locations.

Conference 2014 Penticton



The first sculpture for The BCMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2014 was designed by local Summerland artist Michael Hermesh. All the handmade and unique pieces were done in ceramic and based on his well-known and much loved piece Mocking Bird in an Orange Bush.