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  • 15 Jun 2023 10:54 PM | Anonymous

    For Immediate Release 

    June 15, 2023 

    North Carolina Museums Council (NCMC) Recently Announced Award Recipients 

    The North Carolina Museums Council recently recognized a slate of award winners. The 2023 winners were nominated for work completed in 2022 then selected through a process of peer review. This awards program provides a vehicle for promoting excellence in North Carolina museums and related institutions. Several awards were bestowed this year in the following categories: Special Recognition, Professional Service, Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI), Dennis T. Lawson Memorial Award and William T. Alderson Lifetime Achievement as well as the Student Memorial Award and Internship Award.

    Awards of Special Recognition 

    This award 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. 

    Our recipient this year is Kadie Dean, Head Docent, Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, nominated by James Pearson, Executive Director of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.  James explained that his small museum has a big impact on the local economy as most of their seasonal visitors are tourists who want to learn a bit about their vacation spot. As the head docent, Kadie is at the forefront of being a motivated extension of the museum’s mission of preserving and sharing southern Appalachian culture. 

    Professional Service Award 

    The Professional Service Award is presented to an individual currently employed at a North Carolina museum, distinguished in the museum field and/or and who has professionally advanced the role of museums or that of the North Carolina Museums Council. 

    This award is presented to Scott Warren, Site Manager of the President James K. Polk Birthplace State Historic Site, a long-time, dedicated member of the North Carolina Museums Council. In addition to serving on the North Carolina Museums Council Board in various capacities, including President (‘19-’21), Scott works with other museum support organizations such as the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) programs committee, Charlotte Museum’s Outstanding Network (CMON), and the Coalition of State Museum Association (COSMA).  Scott is also dedicated to advancing the best museum practices in inclusive interpretation and outreach, working with Mecklenburg County on the Latta Place Reimaging Committee and hosting events such as the “Slave Dwelling Project.” Through his work with NCMC, Scott has taken the lead on museum advocacy, representing North Carolina Museums Council at county commissioner meetings, the capitol building in Raleigh, and in the halls of Congress in Washington DC.  His passion for making museums better for visitors and staff and his dedication to present inclusive history in innovative ways, makes Scott an outstanding leader in our field, as well as a supportive colleague and friend to so many of us.  Congratulations and thank you for all you do for North Carolina museums and museum professionals!

    Award of Excellence 

    The Award of Excellence is intended to honor exhibits, publications, or programs that exemplify excellence in the museum field. This competition showcases the best in our profession and in doing so promotes excellence and professionalism across the state. Nominations for the Awards of Excellence must have been completed during the 2022 calendar year. This year, three Awards of Excellence were presented:

    The North Carolina Museum of History for their “Handling Hard History” program as part of the 2022 MuseumNext Summit. In this program, Camille shared her professional knowledge and best practices and applied them to the everchanging museum field to a world-wide audience of over 2,700 people! Camille used artifacts from the Museum’s collections to explain how NC tells hard stories using the artifacts that witnessed tragedy, intimidation, fear, or other hard chapters from our state’s history. 

    The Gaston County Museum of Art and History for their “Into the Darkroom, Photography as History and Artform'' exhibit about photography that featured a fully bi-lingual component of exhibit copy, labels, and marketing materials. The exhibit was developed to incorporate the full story of photography, including the art and science of developing photographs, complete with a darkroom.

    The Greenville Museum of Art for their “Growing up Queer in the South” exhibit, guest curated with Parks McAllister, who worked with the museum on a national call for artists and selection of pieces for the exhibition. The exhibit featured art in a variety of mediums created by LBGTQ+ artists to tell their stories of growing up in the South, not just North Carolina. An informative and moving exhibition, it connected people to the artists and to each other. This exhibit was the first time for many of the participating artists to exhibit work in a museum. The exhibition served the Greenville Museum of Arts’ vision to create equitable opportunities for artists with diverse lived experiences.

    Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Award 

    The Board continues its dedication to the principles of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) across the museum field. Created in 2020, this award seeks to celebrate organizations and programs advancing the museum field in these areas, both internally through workplace culture and programs and externally through engagement with museum audiences and communities. 

    This year’s DEAI Award goes to The Gaston County Museum of Art & History. This winner exemplifies all that museums can do to be more inclusive to reach a diverse audience with programs. The museum’s staff noticed increased attendance by Spanish speaking residents at a Day of the Dead event and decided to embark on a quest to be more inclusive of their Latino residents. As a result, the museum has seen a marked increase in Spanish speaking visitors, especially to exhibits and programs that feature dual-language options. The museum has made LatinX inclusivity a priority in the coming years, using Spanish-language considerations in grant initiatives, programs, and future exhibits. One notable component of their inclusivity plans is the development of a Community Panel featuring Spanish-speaking volunteers, who have provided advice, encouragement and constructive criticism for this new initiative. 

    Dennis T. Lawson Memorial Award 

    This 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.

    Our recipient this year is James “Jim” Gordon Warren of the Carolina Raptor Center, nominated by Karl McKinnon. Jim’s passion for education and outreach grew the Carolina Raptor Center, which served as a platform for his work to ensure science institutions across the state were supported and he knew that all museums are vital to the life and well being of North Carolina. Jim’s “going home” celebration at the Center was attended by over 1,000 visitors who wanted to be there to help send the “head owl” on his way. 

    William T. Alderson Lifetime Achievement Award

    This award was established to recognize retired museum professionals for a lifetime of service and to demonstrate NCMC's respect and admiration for the body of work these professionals accomplished in their careers. 

    We want to congratulate Pam Meister, recently retired from the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University.  Pam has supported museums and museum professionals across the southeast and especially in North Carolina throughout her career. She has developed young professionals, uplifted small and mid-sized institutions, and been a mentor to museum colleagues of all ages across North Carolina and the southeast. Significant highlights of Pam’s career begin with her long association with SEMC, both as the Executive Director and as an instructor and administrator with the Jekyll Island Management Institute (JIMI). This latter role brought her into contact with many mid-level professionals from the southeast. Throughout her many years with JIMI, her paramount desire was to bring instructors and students together in formal and informal settings to allow for the best opportunities for collaboration and information sharing. Although recently retired from the Mountain Heritage Center, she has embarked upon an exhibit consultation on Jekyll Island, GA and slated to visit Homer, Alaska this year in her ongoing role as a consultant for the American Association of Museums (AAM).  Congratulations, Pam, on your retirement from your 9-5 job and best of luck as you pursue your interests and joys!

    Student Memorial Award

    Two students, Carly Collins and Victoria Hinshaw, received Student Memorial Awards to support their attendance at this year’s annual conference.

    Carly Collins is pursuing her MA in public history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Recently, Carly completed an internship with Caldwell Heritage Museum and she is currently working on the curation of the digital exhibit Climates of Inequality at the Levine Museum of the New South. In her application, Carly wrote that she wanted to attend NCMC to connect with and learn from other museum professionals who share her desire to engage with diverse audiences and bring historically silenced narratives to light.

    Victoria Hinshaw is pursuing her MA in Museum Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has a passion for southern music history. Her graduate assistantship is with the UNCG Special Collections and University Archives. In addition, she works as a research consultant for numerous authors and serves as Camp Director and Workshop Leader at Steve Earle’s Camp Copperhead. In her application, Victoria wrote that she was interested in attending the NCMC conference because she wanted to learn from museum professionals who share her passion for accessible histories.

    Internship Award

    The Wilkes Heritage Museum, directed by Jennifer H. Furr, received the internship award this year. The selected intern will be trained in PastPerfect, accession a collection, create a display, and develop a public program. 

    The North Carolina Museums Council awards were presented at their annual conference held in Gastonia, NC in March 2023. In 2024, the annual conference will be hosted in Cherokee, NC. Award nominations will open later in this year. We encourage you all to consider the great work that your institutions undertake during this 2023 year and to remember to nominate that work and those people who make our museums great. Award recognition is a great vehicle for demonstrating the quality of a museum’s initiatives and accomplishments in grant proposals and other fundraising goals.  Please be on the lookout for information on how to submit a nomination for next year’s NCMC Awards program.


    The North Carolina Museums Council (NCMC) is a 501(c)(3) serving institutions of all sizes within the State of North Carolina. Building Better Museums Together is reached through enhanced public education by improving the administrative, interpretive, and collections practices of all museums, including history, science, art and children’s institutions and related facilities in North Carolina. NCMC promotes goals of encouraging the continual improvement of standards and practices of all professionals in history, science, art and children’s institutions and related facilities across the state; stimulating public support and understanding for the work performed by those facilities; providing a forum in which Council members can exchange ideas, as well as foster cooperation and improved communication amongst themselves, as well as with the communities they serve; and promoting North Carolina museums throughout the state, the region, and the nation through its members and activities. 

    For more information on awards, visit or contact Anna Chandler, Awards Chair at 

  • 31 May 2023 11:58 PM | Anonymous

    Donate before December and Have it Matched!

    2023 is the 60th Anniversary of the North Carolina Museums Council.  NCMC started in December 1963, when thirty-five museum professionals met in downtown Raleigh and proposed the establishment of an organization that would connect colleagues throughout the state and promote their institutions regionally and nationally. Over the next 60 years, NCMC has done just that and more! Today, NCMC is dedicated to ‘Building Better Museums Together’ through local, state and national advocacy, various networking and professional development opportunities, and providing information and resources to museum professionals at all career levels and museum focuses.  

    To honor this milestone, we are holding a year-long fundraising event and encouraging donations of $19.63 to help fund NCMC’s outreach efforts and support of NC museums and museum professionals. For even more bang for your buck, NCMC members Carl Noid and Vicky Kruckeberg will match up to $1,000 in all donations received by December through this campaign. Carl and Vicky decided to offer this match because “we value the work that the board and other volunteers are doing to sustain a strong collaborative network in the state.”  

    Please donate to the $19.63 fundraising campaign between July - December and it will be matched by Carl and Vicky to help keep NCMC programing and outreach going strong for the next 60 years!

    In hopes of generating some excitement for our new regional sections, we will be noting where these donations are coming from.  If your regional section raises the most money for this campaign, you will receive special notice and recognition at our 2024 conference in Cherokee.  

    When you are ready to donate, please visit and make sure to mark your regional section.  Thank you to Carl and Vicky for their generous support of NCMC and for all of you who continue to work to better our museums and communities!  

  • 27 Mar 2023 12:16 AM | Anonymous

    Beginning in 2023, NCMC will represent its statewide membership by region instead of topics/sections. Reference the map to find which region best represents where you live! Do you live or work in a county that boarders one or more region? Lucky you! You can be in as many regions as you like. 

    Your Regional Chairs are so excited to hear your thoughts and tell you more about their plans for our first inaugural year with regional representation. Here's a breakdown of the regions and their Chairs:

    Mountains Region

    Lauren May (Assistant Site Manager of the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in Weatherville, NC)

    Piedmont Region

    Scott Warren (Director of the James K Polk Historic Site in Pineville, NC)

    Northeastern Region

    LeRae Umfleet (Special Project Administrator for the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in Bath, NC).

    Southeastern Region

    Jim Hoffman (Executive Director of the Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach, NC) 

  • 11 Jan 2023 3:55 PM | Anonymous

    2023 Student Work in Museums (SWIM) Poster Session NCMC Annual Meeting - Call for Poster Proposals



    • To showcase projects and research by students in museum studies programs or related academic programs who have conducted museum-based projects
    • To provide an opportunity for students to obtain new insights, share ideas and projects, and network with museum colleagues in an informal setting.


    • The SWIM Poster Session will be held at the NCMC Annual Meeting on Monday, March 27.
    • Each presentation will have 6' of table space, and you are welcome to bring handouts, tabletop easels, table-size backgrounds, or anything else that fits into your space and helps to explain your project. You may bring laptops or other electronic equipment, but each table will not have individual electrical connections and the room will not have WIFI, so make sure that your electronic devices are fully charged.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit a brief description of the work you would like to highlight in your poster (no more than 500 words).
    • In your submission, please also include the name of the institution for which the work was completed, the name of your academic institution, the name of your program, the dates when the work was undertaken and completed, the goal or goals of the project, and if possible, an assessment of how the goal or goals were met.
    • Submissions are due January 30, 2023 by 11:59 PM and you will be notified of your acceptance by February 6, 2023.

    Please email your submissions to:

    Presentation Guidelines

    • Posters should be able to fit on the table space provided and be supported by an easel (bring your own tabletop easel, or request one in advance).
    •  Printed materials must be easily read at a distance of four feet.
    • Each display should include the title of the project, the name of the presenter(s), and his/her/their affiliation
    • NCMC recommends a point size of 16–18 or larger for body text.
    • The presenter must remain by their display for the duration of the session.

    Additional Information

    Questions? Contact Jessie Swigger at

  • 5 Jan 2023 2:27 AM | Anonymous

    “Let's Talk About It: Practicing Civil Discourse with Young Children and Families” at Kidzu Children’s Museum

    In partnership with the UNC Program for Public Discourse, the East Chapel Hill High School Civil Discourse project, the Paidaie Center, and Dr. Traci Baxley of and through support from NC Humanities, Kidzu Children’s Museum has embarked on an exciting new project titled, “Let's Talk About It: Practicing Civil Discourse with Young Children and Families.” Inspired by conversations overheard at Kidzu between children and their caregivers about the varying perspectives on mask wearing and immunization, this project includes hosting free family workshop sessions at the museum surrounding age-appropriate approaches to fostering civil discourse. Working with experts in the field, these facilitated sessions will provide children and their families tools with how to tackle and discuss difficult topics, with the goal of fostering more democratic and productive conversations across generations. Kidzu kicked off this project with an interactive community listening session to determine what topics and themes families deem the most difficult and uncomfortable to talk about. Ultimately, this project will result in a physical and virtual exhibit, and the creation of a civil discourse toolkit to serve as a resource for other museums and K-12 educators across the state to implement civil discourse learning in formal and informal education settings.


    Caption for photos: Families interact with various activities and facilitators from the UNC Program for Public Discourse and students from East Chapel Hill High School at Kidzu’s listening session, intended to help staff understand what topics families in the community find the most difficult and uncomfortable to discuss.   

  • 5 Oct 2022 4:10 PM | Anonymous

    Thank so many of you for your concern, inquiries, offers of help, and well-wishes in the aftermath of this devastating hurricane. We are grateful for your compassion, and fortunate to say that all Museum staff are safe.

    Each day is bringing more information about the devastation, major challenges, and new realities now faced by so many. The most critical and immediate needs for our community are human. We encourage you to support social service and aid organizations working around the clock in Southwest Florida and beyond.

    As for most buildings on Sanibel, the Museum has had significant flooding and structural damage. Happily, some of the marine life of the Living Gallery survived including the live Junonias, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, and many local mollusks; but many did not, including the two octopuses. We are heartbroken for this loss, but grateful to the City of Sanibel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Florida Aquarium for their support in the rescue attempt.

    We will be in touch with more information when we can, and keep sending your positive thoughts for those still unaccounted for, for this community, and for the untold number of people throughout the region ravaged by Hurricane Ian.


  • 1 Sep 2022 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    On July 28, 2022, Appalachian Eastern Kentucky, Southwestern Virginia, and surrounding areas experienced historic flooding. As most of us know from dealing with flooding here in North Carolina they are facing a long road ahead dealing with the aftermath of the intrusive and destructive power of flooding.

    NCMC has reached out to our Kentucky sibling organization, the Kentucky Museum and Heritage Alliance who directed us to Scott Avery, Executive Director of the Kentucky Historical Society. Scott is helping lead the efforts to save the cultural sites of the area and replied with this update.

    “We had staff in the region this past weekend and conditions are horrible. Our team of volunteers, and most that are coming from outside the region, are having to drive in and out on the same day due to the lack of housing, electricity and water. The folks in eastern Kentucky are used to flooding but this is completely different. The road to recovery will take some time.”

    Scott also mentioned two organizations, Appalshop and the Hindman Settlement School, have gotten hit particularly hard by the flooding. They have information, a needs list, and volunteer sign-up on their websites and Additionally, if anyone would like to donate to the general relief and recovery fund for the Kentucky flooding, Scott mentioned this site specifically:

    If anyone would like to donate to the recovery of Kentucky and the cultural sites and museums affected by this historic flooding, please consider doing so. Even if you cannot commit to a financial contribution, consider sending notes of encouragement or reviewing the needs list for these organizations.

  • 16 Jun 2022 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    6-15-22 NCMC Letter to Gaston County Commissioners.pdf

    The North Carolina Museums Council stands with Gaston County Museum of Art & History. President Christian Edwards wrote the accompanying text (link above) in a letter sent to Gaston County Commissioners.

    Coincidentally enough, MuseumWeek's theme today is #SexualityMW. Discussions surrounding sexuality are not taboo, dirty, or ugly, it is a part of us all. Our Council stands with the staff of the museum. #LeaveThePhotoUp

  • 27 Apr 2022 8:41 PM | Anonymous

    Speak Up and Speak Out: NCMC announces new Advocacy Committee

    By Scott Warren, Immediate Past President

         Advocacy is one of the guiding principles of the North Carolina Museums Council (NCMC) and one that we are committed to assisting our members with.

         Advocacy can seem like a huge undertaking and not knowing where or how to start can seem somewhat daunting. We are here to help! NCMC has launched a new committee to begin the process of supplying you, our members, with the tools necessary to take on this important work. “We are excited to roll out this new committee; it has been a goal of many board members for some time. Finally, we can equip museums professionals with the necessary tools to best advocate for themselves and their museums in their local communities as well as on the state and national levels,” said Rebekah Dunn, Communications Chair.

         Our immediate goal is to begin gathering online resources that will aid everyone in identifying those resources and organizations that effectively manage advocacy. “The ultimate goal of our committee will be to construct a toolbox, if you will, that our members can use effectively advocate from anywhere, whether that be on Capitol Hill, in the halls of the General Assembly in Raleigh or from the comfort of your own home," said Scott Warren, Immediate Past President and chairperson of the Advocacy Committee. “Our committee members bring a wealth of experience to the committee, and I am excited to work with them on this important project.”

         Advocacy is important work whether you are advocating on Federal funding issues or state laws to assist nonprofit arts organizations. Please stay tuned as we will be rolling out updates and news from our committee.  

  • 27 Apr 2022 7:49 PM | Anonymous

    Join Professional Development Chair, Felicia, and Assistant Communications Chair, Katy, in a discussion about some basics of DEAI and continuing conversations started at the annual conference in March. Felicia and Katy will share some resources found on the DEAI resource page as well as when to expect these quarterly meetings! Bring your questions and knowledge to facilitate community growth through conversation.

    You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
    When: May 10, 2022 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
    Register in advance for this meeting:

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