Levine Museum Receives National Exhibit Award from American Association of Museums
June 6, 2010 — Levine Museum of the New South has been awarded an Excellence in Exhibition Award for the exhibit Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor. Recognized for "Special Achievement in Community Engagement," the award was announced at the American Association of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in Los Angeles, and determined by a select panel of judges composed of museums professionals.
Changing Places emerged from a field of 16 entries from across the nation to earn the honor. The entries for the competition came from museums large and small, reflecting the vast array of museum types, including art, history, children's, science, zoos and aquariums. In announcing the award, the judges noted: "Changing Places actively involved the visitors from the moment they entered the space. Their responses are a key component of the exhibition. Highly worth a visit to see!"
In presenting the award, competition judge Daryl Fischer shared: "Changing Places was exemplary in many respects from design to curatorship to evaluation but we particularly wanted to highlight the way the exhibit engaged the larger Charlotte community from start to finish; in fact, the engagement went well beyond the run of the exhibition, and continues today. We believe the Levine has set a new standard in this respect, an inspiring model for other museums to aim for."
The competition judges were guided by the National Association of Museum Exhibitions (NAME) Standards for Museum Exhibition and Indicators of Excellence. Among the criteria imposed upon entrants are: the relevancy of exhibition media, content and design to its theme, subject, collection and audience. This was the 22nd year of the competition.
Accepting the award on behalf of the museum's board, staff, volunteers and community partners, President Emily Zimmern stated: "We believe passionately that shared stories build community, and Changing Places represents the fullest expression of this approach. With a 3,500 sq. ft. exhibition at its heart, the project was envisioned and shaped at every step to serve as a catalyst for community engagement. It focuses on a major challenge for the Charlotte region - how to adjust to the dramatic demographic and cultural change brought about by the arrival of newcomers from across the country and around the world in the past 20 years. By presenting a multipart project co-created and co-delivered with community partners, that shows how history can help illuminate a significant contemporary issue while also raising important questions and sparking broader community conversation, Changing Places offers a new museum model worthy of serious consideration. Community building, innovation, civic literacy - all are called for as we re-envision our future."
"Our world and our audiences demand creativity, scholarship and authenticity in museum exhibits these days," said AAM president Ford W. Bell. "Clearly the winners of this prestigious competition have met - and exceeded - these benchmarks, as evidenced by the reaction of the public and their peers."