Neil Watson, the Long Island Museum’s former Executive Director, was among fourteen award recipients made in 2023 that celebrate unique leadership, dedicated community service, transformational visitor experiences, community engagement, and innovative programs that use collections to tell stories of everyone who calls New York home.
Watson will be recognized at the Museum Association of New York 2023 annual conference “Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement” in Syracuse, New York on Monday, April 17 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at the Syracuse Marriott Downtown.
“New York’s museums and museum professionals are reimagining and reinventing their roles within their communities, how they interpret their stories and collections, and the visitor experience,” said Natalie Stetson, Executive Director of the Erie Canal Museum and MANY Program Committee Co-Chair. “This year’s award winners are outstanding examples for the museum field.”
“We were incredibly impressed with the quality and quantity of award nominations this year, which made the review process highly competitive,” said Clifford Laube, Public Programs Specialist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and MANY Program Committee Co-Chair. “Museums and museum staff across the state are demonstrating creative thinking and are inspiring institutional change.”
The Anne Ackerson Innovation in Museum Leadership Award honors a museum professional who during their career made significant contributions to the museum field or to their organization. This award commends a staff leader or board member that saw their organization through a critical challenge or significant opportunity in a creative and effective manner over a sustained period. Award winners are selected for their commitment to accessibility, equity, and inclusion, and their dedicated work towards community engagement, relevance, and sustainability.
“I am deeply honored by this recognition,” said Neil Watson. “When you commit to a career in the arts you prepare for challenges, but I’ve found a life full of joy and connection. I’ve had the pleasure of working side by side with innovative thinkers dedicated to the idea that museums matter. This award is my icing on the cake.”
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About the Museum Association of New York:
The Museum Association of New York is the only statewide museum service organization with more than 730 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Visit www.nysmuseums.org and follow MANY on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @nysmuseums
About the Long Island Museum:
Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island’s rich history and diverse cultures. Museum hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information visit: longislandmuseum.org.