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 WMA Impact Award recognizes an individual or group whose work on a specific project or program brought about organizational change; supported diversity, social justice, and/or leadership; or had a significant, positive effect on their museum, their surrounding communities, and/or the museum field. In recognition of their impact, the recipient will be honored at the WMA Annual Meeting and shall receive a $1,500 award. Additionally, the Impact Awardee will address attendees during the Opening General Session at #WMA2023.

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

WMA 2023 Impact Award Applications are now closed

The application deadline was Friday, July 14, 2023


Eligibility Requirements

Any museum professional or group of individuals affiliated with a museum, library, historical society, or other cultural organization is eligible to apply. Nominations may be submitted by any museum professional, museum peer, or community member, or may be self-nominated. Applicants do not need to be a current WMA member. Past Impact Award nominees are welcome to apply, however, previous awardees are not eligible.

All nominees must meet the following criteria.

  1. Working in any museum discipline: administration, collections management, community engagement, curatorial, development, editorial, education, exhibitions, human resources, marketing/public relations, museum studies, etc.
  2. 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
  3. Demonstrates the impact of their specific project or program and how it brought about organizational change, supported diversity, social justice, and/or leadership
  4. 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
  5. The individual nominee, or if a group, at least one member, must be available to attend the Annual Meeting in Pasadena, California on October 5-8 to receive the award and present on the project during a session

** Nominations can be submitted by a museum professional at any level.

** Individuals can self-nominate.

** Current board members of the Western Museums Association may only be eligible if they are nominated as a member of a group and not as an individual. If nominated as part of a group, they must recuse themselves from the decision-making process.


How to Apply

  1. Review the eligibility requirements (see above)
  2. Download and fill out the application form
  3. Submit the application to

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

Applications are now closed. The deadline was Friday, July 14, 2023.


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 those two years.
2022: Lynda Belt
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.

WMA 2023 Impact Award Applications are now closed

The application deadline was Friday, July 14, 2023


If you have questions, please email

or call WMA at (707) 433-4701