Criteria, Guidelines, and How to Nominate



The nominee should be a North American not-for-profit organization of any size responsible for cultural property that may include collections, historic sites and structures. Cultural property is defined as material that may be artistic, historic, scientific, religious or social and is an invaluable and irreplaceable legacy that must be preserved for future generations. Collections can include fine arts, library and archival materials, natural history, natural science, musical instruments, textiles, technology, archaeology, ethnography and photography. If a collection is located in a historical building or site, that building or site should be considered part of the collection.

If the nominee does not own objects, historic structures or sites, a case may be made regarding how its activities affect cultural property, for instance through funding or advocacy. Organizations that have preservation or conservation as their sole and exclusive purpose are not eligible recipients of this award.


The nominator should provide evidence of the nominee’s sustained and exemplary commitment to the preservation and care of its collections through description of its conservation and preservation activities, special programs and involvement of conservation professionals in decision-making processes.


Providing evidence of how the organization has broadened its community’s understanding of the goals of conservation and the importance of preserving cultural property through its conservation activities can strengthen a nomination.

The nominator can be any individual within or outside the organization, although when the nomination comes from outside it is useful if the nomination package includes a letter from the institution's director. Letters of support are welcome, and are most appropriate when they come from outside the organization and from individuals knowledgeable about conservation. Visual documentation (photography or videography) and other supporting materials (publications, etc.) are encouraged.


The following suggestions are based on questions and comments from committee members and might serve as guidelines for information that is helpful during the evaluation process.

The committee members have found that it is helpful to see evidence of:

  • Involvement of senior conservation professionals who are recognized by their peers, such as Fellows or Professional Associates of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). (Please note: basic membership in the AIC is not an indicator of professional status, as this is available to anyone who pays dues as an Associate Member or subscribes to the journals. Fellowship or Professional Associate status is awarded only after peer review.) Please include brief (one page or less) summaries of the professional credentials of key conservation professionals and describe the role they have played at your institution.
  • A systematic approach to long-term planning for collections care. This can be demonstrated by descriptions of maintenance plans, condition surveys, future treatment priorities, staffing plans, disaster preparedness guidelines, or storage redesign and upgrades.
  • Community impact and involvement. This can be demonstrated by fundraising efforts, volunteer programs, or educational activities with community groups and schools.
  • Outreach in the form of websites, radio and television coverage, or local newspaper articles.
  • Attempts to recruit support from multiple financial and or personnel resources.
  • Exemplary work and achievements. This award seeks to recognize organizations and programs that can be held up as models for others to emulate.

The committee notes that many successful applicants have submitted for several award cycles. Resubmissions, particularly with updated information, are always welcome.

How to Nominate:

All nomination materials, including letters of support, must be received by December 15 and emailed to


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