Individual Award of Excellence: Richard (Dick) Myers
Dick Myers, has been working toward this award for almost 20 years. When the Santa Cruz Valley Historic Museum re-opened this year in the fully refurbished Old Toltec Elementary School in Eloy, it was the result of his tireless leadership.
Dick’s ability to foster partnerships with the City of Eloy, Pinal County, and other local groups, paired with his basic know-how, demonstrated by the sheer number of hours spent scraping, painting, hammering, sawing, lifting, and loading, were the driving forces behind creating the community space that is the Santa Cruz Valley Historic Museum.
Dick also serves as a Site Steward for the Arizona Historical Preservation State Parks Office, and as convener and head cheer leader for the Pinal County Museum Meet-Up, as well holding positions in many other community organizations.
For these activities and the many other ways he continues to advocate for historical resources in Pinal County and more broadly across Arizona, we are delighted to be present Dick Meyers with the Museum Association of Arizona’s Individual Award of Excellence.
Institutional Award of Excellence: Del Webb Sun Cities Museum
Founded by the Sun Cities Area Historical Society in 2010, the museum occupies one of the community’s original model homes, now restored to its original condition, complete with a new gallery, just opened in November 2019.
Directed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and operated by volunteer docents and guide, the Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of Sun City, Arizona, the world’s first Active Retirement Community and its sister city Sun City West and to interpret for future generation the unique context of urban design interaction with volunteerism to maintain these progressive cities.
In addition to its exhibits, and extensive public programs, the Museum maintains a remarkable online presence that includes the Research Center, a searchable database of thousands of photos, brochures, maps, and other information about the Webb Corporation, Sun City and Sun City West, and a website with oral histories, newspaper articles and a riveting 18-part history of the community that premiered on their Facebook page.
Community Support Award: Arizona Humanities
Since 1973, Arizona Humanities, the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has supported public programs that promote understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona.
For Arizona museums that means not only direct grants for museum projects and activities, but also programs like AZ Speaks, that gives museums across the state access to speakers on a wide range of historical and cultural subjects, as well as the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street traveling exhibits program.
If that was not enough, Arizona Humanities has truly stepped up during the last six months, as museums have struggled through the effects of the pandemic.
Through the almost immediate pivoting of their live programs, including Arizona Speaks and FRANK Talks, to online formats, they have made it possible for many museums to continue to connect with their audiences, even when closed.
Additionally, the grants that Arizona Humanities has provided through its allocation of CARES Act funding have been the most broadly distributed of any of the federal or state agencies, providing not only money, but hope and emotional support to museums across the state.
Roger Lidman Distinguished Service Award: Nancy Odegaard
During her 37 years at the University of Arizona as Conservator and Head of the Preservation Division at the Arizona State Museum, Nancy Odegaard, has made outstanding contribution to the museum and conservation profession, and to both Arizona and the global community. She is internationally respected for conducting cutting-edge research, for sharing expertise not only with her fellow professionals, but with the local community as well, and for providing hands-on education to students and interns, all while continuing to care for the Arizona State Museum’s collections.
Here are just two excerpts from her colleagues’ nominating letters:
Nancy Odegaard has been guiding us for decades with conservation advice backed by her curious mind and rigorous scientific testing. Yet she somehow manages to do so in such a gentle manner, that those of us who are not conservators feel this warm embrace of wisdom, rather than the scolding we probably deserve.
Nancy has a generous heart and a commitment to the highest conservation standards when talking about, teaching or working in the field or the laboratory. She is an amazing individual, a consummate professional, scholar, author and advisor to the many cultural heritage sites, agencies and people in Arizona.