About the Outstanding Museum Practice Award

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About the Award

The CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practice Award recognizes the incredible work being done in museums around the world.

It is dedicated to promoting excellence in innovation in modern and contemporary art museums, encouraging public accessibility and exchange, and sustainability within the sector.

Launched in 2021, the Award is based on nominations received from across the contemporary art museum sector and aims to give greater visibility to those practices that, independent of scale and level of resources, inspire us in their relevance and connection to people, communities, and context. Nominating an outstanding practice is an opportunity to celebrate the possibilities of museums that are making a real difference.

Who can submit a nomination?

The CIMAM Outstanding Museum Practice Award is open to museum professionals and individuals working in the museum field who wish to nominate an outstanding museum practice or program to be recognized by CIMAM.

Museum professionals may nominate their own museum or propose another museum or particular museum practice.

CIMAM membership is not required for a museum to be nominated or to submit a nomination.

In submitting a nomination, you will contribute to the identification of museum practices that have the potential to inspire the transformation of museums into more empathic, accessible, inclusive, diverse, flexible, and co-creative institutions.

What are the criteria for nomination?

Exemplary practices and programs for achieving the mission of the museum or collection through innovative approaches to core activities such as conservation, education, collection, exhibition programs, publications, research, public access, communication, governance, and sustainability.

Museum programs that provide relevant, sustainable, and collaborative content to create meaningful and lasting connections with people, communities, and their context, contributing to lasting structural change within museum operations.

Nominations should demonstrate practices and programs committed to contributing to the arts and their communities with a medium- and long-term vision.

Institutions eligible for nomination are committed and dedicated to modern and contemporary art and comply with the Museum Definition of ICOM: “A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible, and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.”

Examples of best practices include:

  • Governance practices that reinforce the value of the museum’s people and culture and consistently support the museum’s mission, vision, and purpose.
  • Innovative acquisition policies and ways of presenting modern and contemporary art collections and exhibitions that are relevant to the audiences they serve, their scale, and context.
  • Innovation in public, educational, communication, and accessibility programs for different age groups, community diversity, and narrative approaches.
  • Innovation in national and international partnership programs between museums to promote more sustainable museum practices regarding the itineracy of exhibitions and the education and outreach of audiences.
  • Innovation in interpreting current standards of museum practice with a vision of a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable future.
  • Innovative museum practices that address changing social and cultural realities to ensure relevance to the public for museums of the future.

Excluded from the eligibility criteria are:

  • Exhibitions, awards, and one-time events.

How are nominees selected?

The winner(s) of the OMPA go through a thorough selection process involving the OMPA steering committee of the CIMAM Board. The steering committee is composed of directors of contemporary art museums from different continents who carefully evaluate all the nominations and propose a shortlist. The shortlist is then presented to the full CIMAM Board, which includes 15 museum directors, artistic directors, and independent curators representing CIMAM's international community.

The CIMAM Board collectively decides which museum practice or practices should receive international recognition. If the CIMAM Board finds that none of the nominated museums' practices are suitable for recognition in a particular year, no candidates will be selected.

How to submit your nomination?

A nomination form will be available online for completion with the following information:

  1. Description and explanation of max. 500 words that detail the outstanding nature of the nominated practice.
  2. Images of the project
  3. Provide links to the website and other relevant supports.
  4. Submit your nomination here (the next nomination period will start in 2024)

What happens to selected museums?

The museum programs selected will receive the public recognition of CIMAM and its members during the CIMAM General Assembly held every year during the last day of the Annual Conference. The awardees’ nominated practices are widely disseminated on social networks, the CIMAM website, and through the world press.

In addition, throughout the year, the winning institutions are actively involved in CIMAM programs, participating in webinar sessions to promote awareness of their recognized exemplary practices.

Information will be accessible on the CIMAM website to highlight recognized outstanding museum practices as a reference for the sector in its drive toward more responsive operating models.