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Summer is Good, but Fall is Better: How the UMA Awards Can Change Your Life

Monday, June 30, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ryan Paul
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I have always thought that having a good title is key to any piece of writing, even if it is not exactly correct. In this case, I really do believe that summer is good, but fall is better. However, it may be an exaggeration to say that a UMA award can change your life, but it certainly can make it better. There are three reasons I enjoy the fall: first, my birthday is in September, second, the temperature is much cooler for my bulk, and third, the UMA Conference occurs. I have been attending UMA Conferences for thirteen years and have enjoyed every one. I am excited to connect with friends and learn about all the amazing things our Utah museums have accomplished in the past year. One of my favorite events is the awards dinner where we can recognize those members of our organization who have stood out and really contributed to their museums and community.

Each year we ask our membership to nominate individuals in three categories: the Bessie Jones Volunteer award, the Phil Notarianni Distinguished Service award and the award for Public Service. This year, we are adding two additional awards, the Award for Excellence and the Rising Professionals award.

We encourage all our members and member institutions to recognize those individuals who have provided support for and contributed to the success of your museum.  Nomination forms can be found on the UMA website.  Award nominations will open July 1, 2014 and close August 15, 2014. Award winners will be announced at the UMA Awards Dinner on Wednesday October 1, 2014 during the annual conference.

The exact award criteria, as well as nomination forms can be found on our website: However, I will provide the award descriptions and hope that you will begin considering who you think deserves to be recognized at the largest gathering of museum professionals in Utah.


This award is given to a volunteer or volunteers who have actively supported the mission or program of a UMA Member Museum.


This award is given to an individual who has shown exceptional dedication, provided lengthy service, or an intense and tangible commitment to Utah's museum community. 


This award is given to an individual who has served or is serving in a governmental capacity that in the scope of their duties has rendered vital assistance or support to Utah's museum community.


This award is given to an individual, team, or organization that has shown superior achievement in any aspect of the museum field during the previous 18 months within Utah's museum community. Areas of achievement include, but are not limited to, excellence in administration, advocacy, exhibits, education, collections, preservation/conservation, visitor services, fundraising, professional development, etc


This award is given to rising, current museum professionals (students or museum employees) whose work to date demonstrates a commitment to excellence in the field and their commitment to Utah's museum community. The Rising Professional Award will be given in either the student OR employee category.

Again, each of these awards has a series of nomination criteria that should be met when submitting a nomination and are available at

This is a wonderful opportunity to provide recognition to those who have done incredible things for all aspects of Utah’s museums. Remember, nominations open on July 1, 2014 and close August 15, 2014. If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to contact me at or call 435-586-9290. Who knows, maybe you will make fall somebody else’s favorite season.


Ryan D. Paul is the Past President of UMA. He is the curator at Frontier Homestead State Park in Cedar City. 

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