NIU Art Museum and Museum Studies Program Earn Top Awards

NIU's Peter Van Ael accepting award from IAM President David Oberg

We are very pleased to report that the NIU Art Museum and the NIU Interdisciplinary Certificate of Graduate Study in Museum Studies continue to receive external critical acclaim.

At the annual conference of the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) held the first week of October in Bloomington-Normal, the organization announced the winners of their 2009 awards for the state’s cultural institutions.

The NIU Art Museum received an IAM Award of Excellence in the Exhibits Category for “Moonlight Cocktails are the Thing.” The exhibition was the third in an ongoing annual collaborative effort between the NIU Art Museum, the NIU Museum Studies Program, and Peter Van Ael's ART 656 Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation class. IAM defines the Award of Excellence as recognizing work of excellent quality that uses available resources well, is creative, and meets professional standards. The awards committee indicated it was duly impressed with the beauty of the exhibit design, and noted the display of the 12 copper plates as an attention grabber. They were also pleased with the attention given to exhibition evaluation.

The NIU Art Museum also received an IAM Award of Merit in the Exhibits Category for “Belief Made Tangible.” This exhibition is a collaborative effort between the NIU Art Museum and the NIU Center for Burma Studies. The exhibition was curated by Catherine Raymond, Director of the NIU Center for Burma Studies and members of the NIU Museum Studies Committee and faculty. The exhibition design and installation afforded several museum studies students valuable hands-on experience. IAM defines the Award of Merit as recognizing a project that makes a significant contribution in its category and meets professional standards.

The Biermann-Schuette Farmhouse Museum in Elk Grove Village received an IAM Superior Achievement Award in the Exhibits Category for “Parties, Pleasure, and Postcards: The Bachelorhood of Henry Schuette Jr.” Sandy Denninger, the museum’s director and current student in the NIU Interdisciplinary Certificate of Graduate Study in Museum Studies, curated the exhibition. Sandy Denninger was also a member of the ART 656 class that received the 2008 IAM Superior Achievement Award in the Exhibits Category for “Examining Audubon”. IAM defines the Superior Achievement Award as recognizing achievement that is a model for the profession and reaches a greater audience than is normally reached by the institution.

It should also be noted that of the twenty-eight awards presented by IAM, Northern Illinois University is the only college or university in the state receiving awards this year. These awards are the fruit of hard labor and a history of support for the NIU Museum Studies Program by many individuals who have worked tirelessly for years to make our program strong and recognized by the museum profession in the state of Illinois.

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