New Jersey Association of Museums

John Cotton Dana Award

Every other year, members are invited to submit nominations for the prestigious John Cotton Dana Award.  Mr. Dana, who founded the Newark Museum in 1909, was a pioneer in his belief that museums should strive to become a stronger and more enriching presence in people’s lives.  His progressive philosophy regarding the educational and community service roles of museums still holds true today. 

Since the inception of the Dana Award in 1989, the list of its recipients has come to represent New Jersey’s outstanding professionals who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of its museums

The Dana Award is presented biannually at NJAM’s Annual Meeting.  


Any individual member or staff of a member institution of the New Jersey Association of Museums may nominate a candidate for the award, which is selected by a subcommittee of NJAM Board Members.

The recipient will be honored for advancing the service of museums to the region, for demonstrating visionary and innovative leadership and /or exemplifying the highest standards of professional commitment.  Special consideration should be given to the achievements of people in mid-career.

Download Nomination Instructions & Form

DEADLINE: May 1, 2024



1989                                                 Founding Museums:

The Montclair Art Museum

The Newark Museum

Princeton Art Museum

New Jersey State Museum

1990                                                 Mr. Sam Miller

1991                                                 Ms. Ann Fabbri

1992                                                 Mr. John Petersen

1993                                                 Ms. Nancy B. Gay

1994                                                 Ms. Cynthia Koch

1995                                                 Mr. Daniel Reibel

1996                                                 Ms. Leah Sloshberg

1997                                                 Mr. Zoltan Buki

1998                                                 Dr. B. Michael Zuckerman

1999                                                 Mr. Barry Taylor

2000                                                 Ms. Gail Stern

2001                                                 Ms. Sara Riviera Cureton

2002                                                 Ms. Mary Sue Sweeney Price

2003                                                 Dr. Emlyn H. Koster

2004                                                 Ms. Rebecca A. Buck

2005                                                 Mr. James F. Turk, Ph. D.

2006                                                 Mr. Ulysses Dietz

2007                                                 Ms. Twig Johnson

2008                                                 Mr. Steve Miller

2009                                                 Ms. Ann Marie Miller

2010                                                 Mr. Peter Watson

2011*                                               Ms. Michelle Ortwein

2013                                                 Ms. Claudia Ocello

2015                                                 Dr. Gail Stavitsky

2017     Ms. Anne Salvatore

2019*   Mr. Ralph E. Hunter, Sr. 

2022   Ms. Shirley Thomas

*In 2011, NJAM voted to make the award biennial.  In 2021, NJAM voted to postpone the award until 2022 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

New Jersey Association of Museums, 555 Grand Ave., PO Box 77316, Ewing, NJ 08628

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