Impact Award

2022 Impact Award Recipient Lynda Belt (center-right) with (L-R) past WMA Board President Anne Rowe, WMA Executive Director Jason B. Jones, and WMA Board President, Dana Whitelaw, High Desert Museum
WMA Impact Award


The new WMA Impact Award recognizes an individual’s work on a specific project or program, efforts to bring about organizational change, or leadership within the community having a significant, positive effect on their museum, the surrounding community, or the museum field in the Western region. The award includes a $1,500 stipend to aid in the awardee’s continuing professional development. The awardee will address attendees during in a General Session and be featured in the conference program and on the WMA website.

(Learn about the inspiration behind creating the Impact Award in our WestMuse Blog.)


Please stay tuned for details about WMA 2023 applications


Eligibility Requirements

Any mid-career museum professional affiliated with a museum, library, historical society, or other cultural organization is eligible to apply. Applicants do not need to be a current WMA member. Additionally, past Impact Award applicants are welcome to apply, but previous awardees are not eligible. Applicants must meet the following criteria.

  1. Nominee should have a minimum of ten (10) years in a museum or museum-related field and be currently active in the profession
  2. Nominee can be working in any museum discipline: administration, collections management, community engagement, curatorial, development, editorial, education, exhibitions, human resources, marketing/public relations, museum studies, etc
  3. Nominee must be available to attend the Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, on October 6-9 to receive the award
  4. Current staff and board members of the Western Museums Association are not eligible


How to Apply

  1. Review the eligibility requirements (see above)
  2. Download and fill out the Application Form (link coming soon)
  3. Submit the appliaction to

Applicants will receive a confirmation upon receipt of the application, and will be notified of the final award results.

Applications are no longer being accepted for WMA 2022. Please check back soon for details about WMA 2023


Selection Criteria

The selection of the WMA Impact Award recipient is based on the following criteria:
  1. Developed or implemented an innovative project, program, or exhibition that creatively addressed an issue or subject matter and has had a positive impact on members of a community and/or the public at large
  2. Shows a commitment to fostering open and respectful discussion among colleagues and members of a community and/or the public to help create a more inclusive and just society
  3. Maintains a high standard of excellence and demonstrates exemplary initiative, dedication, and leadership
  4. Promotes the cultural importance of museums through their work

NOTE: Nominations can be submitted by a museum professional at any level, but individuals cannot self-nominate.
(Current staff and trustees of the Western Museum Association are not eligible for nomination)


Previous Impact Award Recipients

The Impact Award is WMA's newest award category, with its inaugural year being 2018. With the postponement of the 2020 and 2021 Annual Meetings due to the global pandemic, there were no awards given in the previous two years.
2019: Tricia Canaday
2018: Ann Craig - read her Museum Resolutions Blog Post


Initial funding for the IMPACT AWARD is being provided by the Volver Trust.

Please stay tuned for details about WMA 2023 applications

If you have questions, please email

or call WMA at (707) 433-4701