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McKinney Center pulls in six awards


Staff Writer

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The McKinney Center was recently awarded six Tennessee Association of Museums awards at the recent TAM conference, honoring their work in 2021.

The TAM Awards of Excellence are presented to museums across the state for exceptional projects, programs and events.

“Under (McKinney Center Director) Theresa Hammons’ leadership, we were able to accomplish so much over this past year,” said Jules Corriere, director of outreach for the McKinney Center. “The awards were given by TAM and awarded museums and cultural centers with awards for different programs. You had to score a certain amount to get an award of excellence or an award of commendation for any of the projects submitted. We received six awards and they cover six different programs that we presented at the McKinney Center last year.”

The award ceremony was held in Jonesborough on March 16.

The McKinney Center was presented the following awards:

  • Award of Excellence – Publication & PR Kit Category for the Spring 2022 Class Catalog
  • Award of Excellence – Special Recognition Category for the McKinney Center’s Conversations that Matter program
  • Award of Excellence – Digital Media/Podcast Category for the StoryTown Podcast
  • Award of Excellence – Special Event Category for Holidays Around the World
  • Award of Excellence – Educational Programming Category for the Usable Past Series
  • Award of Commendation – Temporary Exhibit Category for the 2021 Exhibition Series

The purpose of the TAM Awards of Excellence program is to recognize, encourage and promote excellence within the activities of the Tennessee museum community and cultural centers. Museum staff and individuals nominate recipients and send in their nominations in January to the regional representative.

Each entry is then presented to the TAM Awards Committee which is composed of seven regional representatives, the committee chair and three at-large members. The committee ultimately makes the final awards decision.

All awards are based on creativity, originality, resourcefulness, success, support of museum mission statement and utilization of staff and volunteers. Categories for the awards include permanent, temporary, blockbuster and traveling exhibits; educational programming; special events; publications; digital media; audio visual; special recognition; and volunteerism.

“It’s such an honor because we were in the company of Tennessee’s best museums and cultural centers in the entire state. And it was really special being awarded them here,” Corriere said. “The conference was held here in East Tennessee and the awards dinner was held here at the McKinney Center. It felt so good to be able to show these representatives from all of Tennessee’s different centers our own cultural center here in Jonesborough.”

The McKinney Center received the most awards in their category. Each category is based on the annual budget of the organization and size of staff.

“This year we presented 82 awards, representing 28 museums, including three awards recognizing Emerging Museum Professionals, one award recognizing outstanding volunteerism, and our overall winner of the Past President’s Award, chosen by the past Presidents of TAM, which this year was presented to two museums,” stated Tori Mason, historic site manager at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, who serves as the chair of the TAM Awards Committee. “Once again, Tennessee museums showed their creativity, resourcefulness and ability to adapt to the times, while providing outstanding programs and opportunities for their audiences. Our state is fortunate to have so many excellent museums and historic sites that are committed to providing exceptional exhibitions, events and educational programming for visitors to enjoy.”

Additionally, Corriere feels that with the number of awards they won, they are really showing the rest of the state just what this small town has to offer.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small a town is, a cultural center like the McKinney Center, with the support of our town government, as well as our community, we are able to accomplish great things together.”