Ross Merrill Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections

Do you know a museum, library, or other collecting institution that has demonstrated an exemplary and sustained committment to caring for its collections?

This award, given jointly by AIC and Heritage Preservation through 2013 and now presented by AIC, honors institutions that have shown an exemplary and sustained commitment to conservation and collections care. The 2007 recipient, The Cleveland Public Library, developed a conservation/preservation program that is a model for the public library community. The three recipients in 2004 represented a wide variety of institutions: the National Archives, The Henry Ford, and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

The award was created in 1998, and a total of 23 awards have been given, recognizing institutions from historic house museums to Colonial Williamsburg and from city arts commissions to major metropolitan museums. Organizations in both the United States and Canada have been honored; all North American not-for-profit institutions responsible for the care of cultural property are eligible.

A nomination should describe conservation and preservation activities that demonstrate the institution’s commitment to collections care. Visual documentation (photos, slides, etc.) is also encouraged. Describing how the organization has broadened its community’s understanding of the goals of conservation can strengthen an application. Organizations may act as their own nominators, but additional letters of support are welcomed.

The award is presented annually to an organization in North America that has been exemplary in the importance and priority it has given to conservation concerns and in the commitment it has shown to the preservation and care of its cultural property within the context of its broader mission, which may include interpretation, research, scholarship, education, and/or public outreach.

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Criteria, Guidelines, & How to Nominate

Past Recipients

2017: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
2016: Harvard University
 2013: Indianapolis Museum of Art
 2012: Alaska State Museum, Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
 2011:  Maymont Foundation
 2010: The Architect of the Capitol, Friends of the Iolani Palace
 2009: Historic Cherry Hill, Shelburne Museum
 2008: Arizona State Museum, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
 2007: Cleveland Public Library
 2006: Historical Society of Frederick County, Maryland
 2004: Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, The Henry Ford, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
 2003: LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden; Winterthur, An American Country Estate; Canadian Museum of Nature
 2002: City of Buffalo Arts Commission, New York Academy of Medicine, Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance
 2001: The Central Park Conservancy, Judson Memorial Church, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, the Sculpture Center
 2000: Fairmount Park Art Association; the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Bata Shoe Museum
 1999: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

About Heritage Preservation

Through 2015, Heritage Preservation's mission was to preserve the nation’s heritage for future generations through innovative leadership, education, and programs. FAIC continues to promote that mission through its work. For more information, visit

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