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History Center Receives National Honors

American Alliance of Museums Recognizes Reflections on Pulse Tragedy

The Orange County Regional History Center has received two significant national awards from the American Alliance of Museums for exhibition work related to the impact and legacy of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.

The History Center’s 2017 exhibition titled One Year Later: Reflecting on Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub Massacre was honored for Special Achievement in the alliance’s 30th Annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the exhibition format. Entries are submitted by all types of museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and other noncommercial institutions that offer exhibitions to the public.

The second award recognized History Center staff members Emilie Arnold and Pamela Schwartz for Excellence in Label Writing – a competition that highlights the importance of the words that explain and illuminate exhibit items to visitors. The judges honored labels that addressed the Pulse tragedy in the exhibit Pride, Prejudice & Protest: GLBT History of Greater Orlando. In sample comments, a judge praised a representative label as “a moving tribute to horrible events” that “serves as a testament to the human spirit.”

“These awards represent well-deserved recognition for our hard-working History Center staff members,” said Michael Perkins, the museum’s manager. “The American Alliance of Museums is the only organization representing the entire scope of our nation’s museum community, and it’s an honor to be recognized by the experienced judges of these competitions. We continue, too, to be honored to play a role in paying tribute to the victims and survivors of the Pulse tragedy.”

Based in Arlington, Virginia, the American Alliance of Museums has been a leader in developing best practices for museums in the United States since 1906. More than 35,000 individual museum professionals,  volunteers, institutions and corporate partners benefit from the organization. The awards were presented to History Center staff members at the Alliance’s annual meeting, which took place May 6-9, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The History Center’s work related to Pulse is part of the One Orlando Collection Initiative, a partnership of Orange County Government and the City of Orlando with assistance from numerous community partners. Through the initiative, the History Center continues to collect, conserve and catalog artifacts related to the shooting that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded. An online digital gallery of photos and memorial items from around the world is available here.