Durham Museum Receives National Award from American Alliance of Museums

The Education Professional Network (EdCom) of the American Alliance of Museums, the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, presented awards today at their annual conference to four museum programs demonstrating innovation and impact in the field. The Pandemic Innovation and Education Awards recognizes museum education projects that have been created, reinvented, or revamped in response to supporting audiences during the pandemic. The Durham Museum’s Museum Live! program was selected as the winner in the mid-sized museum category.

Designed to connect students to history and to each other, Museum Live!, a weekly broadcast for students created by The Durham Museum, comprises multiple, short, recurring segments such as “Today in History” and “History Mystery”. Scripted and delivered in a 30-minute news format, staff from across all departments assume the roles of anchors and correspondents, delivering content on an array of topics. The museum also partners with KETV and meteorologist Matt Serwe, to offer a weekly science-based weather segment.

Museum Live! connects classrooms with museums from across the country including The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, The Greensboro History Museum, and the National Museum of American History.  Most viewers’ favorite segments include historic actors and Professor Durham, a puppet designed for Museum Live! and brought to life by a local puppeteer, Jessica Burrill-Logue.

Museum Live! came when teachers needed reliable and unique virtual experiences. The impact has been tremendous, with over 60,000 participants from most of Nebraska’s counties and 20 states.

“I am incredibly proud of our Education team for winning this prestigious award!  Their innovation and passion took this idea and made it into one of the most successful programs in our museum’s history,” said Durham Museum Executive Director, Christi Janssen.

Awards were granted based on museum size: small museum (with less than a $1 million annual budget), mid-sized museum (whose annual budgets fall between $1 million and $9.9 million), and large museum (whose annual budgets are larger than $10 million). All nominees were reviewed by EdCom members, who are peers in the museum education field. Through a popular vote, they determined the finalists in each category. The top five nominees were assessed by the EdCom leadership team, who selected the recipients of the four Pandemic Innovation and Education Awards.