BCMA Awards

Since 1971, the BC Museums Association (BCMA) has recognized British Columbia’s museums, art galleries, Indigenous cultural centres, historic places and other arts, culture, and heritage organizations for their excellence in special projects, programs, exhibits, initiatives, and innovation. The BCMA also recognizes individuals who have made unique and outstanding contributions to the field. By recognizing these efforts, the Association seeks to inspire others in British Columbia’s museums and cultural heritage community to strive for excellence.

British Columbia’s museum and gallery community offers diverse services and experiences that are relevant and meaningful to a large audience. We all know of colleagues and partners who are deserving of recognition for their excellence in management, special projects, programs, exhibits, philanthropy and volunteerism. BCMA invites you to take a look at your circle of co-workers and industry partners to identify those you feel should be recognized by their peers through the prestigious BCMA Awards.

Awards are presented in up to six categories annually.

2022 Award Categories

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual (or individuals) who has made a unique and outstanding contribution to the museum, gallery, archive, or heritage community on a regional, provincial, or national basis. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a  contribution made over an extended period, and not for a short-term or single project. An individual may receive the award posthumously.

Changemaker Award

Previously called the Museum Stewardship Award, the Changemaker Award recognizes an outstanding effort and contribution with a lasting impact to the future of museums, galleries, archives and/or heritage resources fields. This award would encompass individuals, partners/organizations/associations, and in-kind community partners.

Awards of Merit

The Awards of Merit recognize an individual, institution, project, or initiative for an outstanding recent innovation or creative achievement in any area of the museum, gallery, archive or heritage field in British Columbia. Award of Merit categories are determined by the Association on an annual basis in order to best recognize the sector’s recent achievements.


Award of Merit – Excellence in Community Engagement

This Award of Merit recognizes a recent outstanding success in community engagement, as demonstrated by ongoing participation of new audiences, new partnerships with community organizations, supporting needs of the community, etc. New audiences and community partners will be measured in respect to the nominated organization’s own capacity, community, and audience history.

Award of Merit – Social Impact

This Award of Merit recognizes the significant contribution of an organization advocating for the advancement of an important social cause such as reconciliation, social justice, inclusiveness, accessibility, sustainable development, climate action, wellness, etc. Initiatives will be measured in respect to the nominated organization’s own capacity and history.

Award of Merit – Innovative Practice

This Award of Merit recognizes a recent outstanding innovative and/or creative achievement in any and all aspects of an organization’s practice. At the heart of our communities are people who actively push boundaries, challenge conventions, and exemplify innovative ways of thinking, seeing, and doing. Creativity and innovation will be measured in respect to the nominated museum’s own capacity and history; it may reflect an all-new approach to museology in general, or it may reflect an individual museum doing something it has never done before.

Honourable Mentions

Honourable Mentions recognize nominees in the Awards of Merit categories where an award was not bestowed, but the adjudication panel feels recognition is due for excellence.

Honourable mentions are not available for nomination but may be awarded at the adjudicators’ discretion.