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Speech at the AAM 2004 Distinguished Service Award and the Press Release that went with it.

A version of my acceptance speech was published in Museum News in 2004.  The original draft is attached.
AAM Press Release
American Association of Museums Honors Elaine Heumann Gurian with the 2004 Award for Distinguished Service

Washington, DC, 5/8/2004 - The American Association of Museums (AAM) will honor Elaine Heumann Gurian, President, The Museum Group, with the 2004 Award for Distinguished Service to Museums. The award will be presented on Saturday, May 8, during AAM’s 2004 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

The Award for Distinguished Service to Museums recognizes sustained excellence and extraordinary service by an individual museum professional. The award, a bronze medal and citation, is given to a museum professional with 20 or more years of experience, who may be professionally active, a trustee, or retired. Museum affiliation must have been a long-term, integral part of the nominee’s career. Judging criteria include the nominee’s individual cumulative contribution to his or her institution, to the museum profession, and to the larger museum community.

Gurian will be honored for her lifelong commitment to museums, as demonstrated by her leadership in the field for 35 years. During her career, she brought excellence to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Children’s Museum, Boston; National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Gurian is currently serving as president of The Museum Group, an association of former senior museum executives who are now consultants. She has contributed greatly to many museums and cultural projects around the world and in doing so, has established herself as a world-leader in the field.

Over the years, Gurian has developed a profound knowledge in the broad field of museum work and is published. Among her other work, she has served AAM in a number of volunteer board capacities: as vice president of AAM from 1982-1984, as treasurer from 1984-1988, and as council from 1980-1982 and 1989-1991. Gurian also serves on the Brandeis University Visiting Committee for the Arts. She was nominated for this award by Bonnie Pitman, deputy director, Dallas Museum of Art.

As the national service organization representing the American museum community, the American Association of Museums addresses the needs of museums to enhance their ability to serve the public. AAM disseminates information on current standards and best practices and provides professional development for staff to ensure that museums contribute to public education in its broadest sense and protect and preserve our cultural heritage. Since its founding in 1906, AAM has grown to more than 16,000 members, including more than 10,500 individual members, 2,500 corporate members, and nearly 3,000 museums.