NEMA Excellence Awards 2017

People are what make our museums great, and NEMA’s members are some of the most talented and dedicated people in the field.

NEMA is proud to honor our colleagues’ extraordinary effort and commitment to the New England museum community. Let’s recognize their achievements.

Congratulations to the winners of NEMA’s Excellence Awards Competition!


NEMA is pleased to announce the winners of the fourth annual Excellence Awards competition. We had the largest pool of nominees ever, which made for a highly competitive year. This year's awardees will receive recognition at the Annual Meeting at this year's conference. Thanks to all who submitted nominations and to our judges, and congratulations to this year's Excellence Award winners!

BrookeBrooke DiGiovanni Evans is the Head of Gallery Learning at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There she oversees more than seventy gallery programs each month for all ages. Brooke has worked in art, science, natural history, and history museums, primarily in museum education. Most recently Brooke served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Museum Education Roundtable, which produces the Journal of Museum Education (JME). She also guest edited an issue of the JME with two colleagues on "Health and Wellness in our Communities: The Impact of Museums." For several years, Brooke served as co-chair for NEMA’s Education PAG. Brooke holds an Ed.M and Museum Studies certificate from Harvard University and is the author of the children's book Are You an Art Sleuth? published in five languages. Brooke is always eager to shine a spotlight on the important work museums do and to be an advocate locally and nationally.
Her nominator says "Brooke has been extremely active in the museum world, and her work has impacted both New England museums and their visitors, and a global community of museum educators. Her leadership, professional demeanor, unfailing good humor, and ability to work collaboratively serve as a model to the field."


NoelleNoelle Foye is the recently retired Executive Director of New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! Noelle came to New Bedford five years ago to become Director of ArtWorks! Partners for the Arts & Community, following a number of years as Education Director for Fuller Craft Museum. She lead the merger of New Bedford Art Museum and ArtWorks! three years ago and then became the Executive Director following the merger. Noelle serves on the Seaport District Executive Council, the Greater New Bedford Youth Alliance Executive Committee, the AHA! Steering Committee, and the MassCreative state-wide Advisory Task Force. She is active with the New England Museum Association and has served on review panels for the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is a recipient of the Massachusetts Art Education Association’s Community Art Educator Award. She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor for Massasoit Community College. She has a Masters in Art Administration from Boston University and a Bachelors in Art from Bridgewater State University.
Her nominator says "Her ability to bring people and community partners together is exemplary. Leading two boards and many committees, with various opinions, through the nuances of combining the institutions into one organization and facility; Noelle was a professional guiding presence who led with understanding, insight, and creative solutions."


BenBen Gammell is an exhibit developer at the Connecticut Historical Society. Ben has a B.A. from Gordon College, Wenham, MA, and has created exhibits, educational programs, and related projects at the CHS since 2005. His work includes researching and writing exhibit content, collaborating with historical organizations and community groups, and installing on-site and traveling exhibits. Prior to his work in exhibits, Ben worked in the CHS education department, leading school programs, developing educational materials and workshops for teachers, and teaching a Hartford Studies class at Bulkeley High School.
His nominator says "Ben led a team of CHS staff and ASD staff for over 2 years of exhibit development which led to the installation of an exhibit (Language, Culture, Communities: 200 Years of Impact by the American School for the Deaf ) that is aesthetically pleasing, rich in content, and the most accessible exhibit the CHS has ever produced. I applaud Ben for his leadership, his commitment to the project, and for producing a remarkable exhibit."

RuthRuth Taylor has over 30 years of professional experience in non-profit educational settings. Her expertise includes non-profit management and Board development; curriculum and program development; professionalism and standards; fundraising, and the development of institutional missions and goals. Taylor is trained and practiced in the management of educational institutions of all varieties, and has extensive experience creating, marketing, delivering and evaluating innovative curricula and educational programming for youth and adults. As former President of the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS), she had a significant role in the establishment of their award-winning vocational program. In New York City, she worked for a decade at the Museum of the American Indian, including during its transition to the Smithsonian family of museums. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s in Museum Education. Most recently, she has pulled her experience and interests together at the Newport Historical Society, where she has been Executive Director for 10 years. Here, she has assisted the NHS’s Board and staff in a successful effort to revitalize the 160-year-old Society and position it as a 21st century public history institution. This work includes a shift in focus towards the public and life-long learning as well as growth in fundraising capacity, programmatic reach, and outreach. In 2015, the Society transformed its 1915 headquarters complex into a modern, functional museum storage and research center, one result of the Society’s first successful multi-million-dollar capital campaign.
Her nominator says "Since 1854, the Newport Historical Society has collected and preserved five centuries of history.  However, it was not until executive director Ruth Taylor took the helm that the society launched itself into the 21st century, with a modern and functional research and collections facility and innovative programs that serve as models in the museum field. Always looking to the future, she works tirelessly, inspiring and leading her staff and colleagues to develop new and creative programs that engage the public with their history."