Director’s Chair Award

2014 Director’s Chair recipient James Tharp, Trustee, Telluride Historical Museum and former WMA Board Member (sitting, center), with (L-R) former WMA Board Member Dr. Julie Stein, WMA Executive Director Jason B. Jones, and WMA President Kippen de Alba Chu

A chance to recognize unsung heroes of our profession…not necessarily just for directors

The Director’s Chair Award is designed to showcase and acknowledge outstanding achievements in the museum profession. The Award is presented annually to an individual who has had a significant and lasting impact on museum practices and/or the museum profession in the Western Region.


The nomination period for the 2015 Director's Chair Award is currently closed. Nominations for the 2016 Award will open in Spring 2016.


Please note that nominees can be working in any discipline. The Award, a canvas director’s chair with the recipient’s name boldly printed across the back, is given at an Annual Meeting. Recipients are also profiled in the Annual Meeting program, address Annual Meeting attendees during a Keynote Lecture, and will be featured on the WMA website. 


The following guidelines will be considered in the selection of the Director’s Chair Award recipient:

  • Performance at a sustained level of excellence in service to museums or the museum profession
  • Development and/or implementation of a specific project that has made a major contribution to museums or the museum profession
  • A significant contribution to museums or the museum profession at a national level 
  • Promotion of excellence and recognized value to the public and the community through their museum, institution, or profession


Past Director’s Chair Awardees

2014: James Tharp
2013: Sarah George
2012: Katherine Hough
2011: Not awarded
2010: Bruce Eldredge
2009: Wanda Chin/Terry Dickey
2008: Sarah Kennington
2007: Steve Olsen
2006: Ellen Ferguson
2005: Nora Wagner
2004: Ron Chew
2003: Steven High
2002: Alyce Sadongei
2001: Ted Greenberg
2000: Michael Ames
1999: L. Thomas Frye