Michigan museum professionals, volunteers, and supporters gathered at Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business on May 11 to present the 2023 member awards. At the awards celebration, twenty-four MMA members were recognized for special service to their communities, colleagues and others in four different award categories.
“Michigan is home to over 625 museums who provide jobs and support communities. They educate children and engage families and groups. They preserve and share priceless works of art and historic artifacts and promote scientific exploration and a better understanding of our shared Michigan culture. The individuals honored at this year’s MMA awards ceremony represent the thousands of people in our state who are passionate about their work in museums, and are well deserved,” said Jason Dake, MMA Board President.
Peninsulas Prize: Leadership
The Peninsulas Prize for Leadership was presented to Katie Trzaska-Miller, Senior Manager of Community & Group Engagement, with Midland Center for the Arts. In that role, she works to build external relationships and learn how the community interacts with the center as well as develops and supports proramming and works to make connections in the region. She also serves in leadership roles for many arts and cultural organizations, including the Michigan Presenters Network as its President.
The President’s Award is bestowed annually to one individual, company, or organization by the current MMA Board President. The award recognizes exemplary support of MMA, service to the Michigan museums field, a career of distinction or for any other criteria deemed appropriate by the MMA Board President. For 202e, MMA Board President Jason Dake selected George Moroz, Special Assistant to the President at The Henry Ford, in recognition of his commitment and service to the profession.
Peninsulas Prize: D.E.A.I.
The Peninsulas Prize for DEAI was presented to the Holland Museum for its work over the last several years to expand its relevance beyond that of its traditional local audience of white Hollanders of Dutch ancestry.
Two exhibits from the last year-plus demonstrate a deep commitment to DEAI. Contemporary Portraits of Native Americans by James Cook explored the varied lives of Native Americans in the modern-day through the lens of photographer James Cook. A second exhibit, United for Progress the LAUP Story explored the LAUP’s (Latin Americans United for Progress) history as a driving force for change in the Holland community, how they’ve evolved, and how they continue to serve the Latinx and greater Holland community to this day.
The Cultural Lens Series, established in 2020, has highlighted the Holland community through the scope of DEAI. It features speakers both in person and via Zoom, who have a connection to the area and tell a story that is not currently told by the museum. Other examples the museum’s efforts with inclusivity include translating its temporary exhibits to Spanish and providing large print options for visitors. The museum works to promote DEAI within the organization, striving to diversify its board and its staff.
MMA members were invited to nominate colleagues they felt had done something particularly special this year. This year's awardees were nominated for a multitude of reasons, including helping with museum and exhibit renovations projects, advocacy work, fundraising efforts, community engagement, collaboration, making exhibits and institutions more accessible, and for being helpful colleagues and leaders in the field. The twenty-one members presented with a Colleague Champion Award were: