Kansas Museums Association Presents Awards at Annual Conference
Local Volunteer Given Statewide Award
SALINA – The Kansas Museums Association (KMA) recently recognized three institutions and three individuals for outstanding contributions to the Kansas museum community. The awards were presented on November 7th at the annual KMA Conference in Salina.
Local Salinan Jimmie Lewis was one of three people who received the Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to individuals who demonstrate dedication to the museum profession. Jimmie Lewis, a volunteer at the Smoky Hill Museum in Salina, was recognized for 23 years of service as a storyteller and re-enactor at the museum. Always ready at a moment’s notice, Lewis regales Museum visitors with colorful stories about mountain men, Native Americans, and general Salina history. Coming in full mountain man regalia meticulously handcrafted, Lewis shares stories about life in mid-1800s with touring groups and other Museum visitors young and old. He encourages people to understand Native American nations on a deeper level; looking into their culture, their ingenious use of available resources, their patience, and their artistry.
“Lewis has a great love of Kansas and American history,” says museum director Susan Hawksworth, “and loves to tell a good story. He is a warm and genuine person to all those he encounters or teaches. Described by some as ‘quite the character,’ Lewis is a natural draw to visitors and passes on his knowledge of history.”
Other awardees were Sue Prince, a volunteer at the Independence Historical Museum & Art Center in Independence, and Rachel Pannabecker, former director of the Kauffman Museum in North Newton. Other awards presented were the Graphic Design Award given to the Monticello Community Historical Society in Shawnee and the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita. The Award for Excellence was given to the Barton County Historical Society of Great Bend.
“These award recipients are among the best and brightest at Kansas museums,” said KMA President Shannon Hsu, Shawnee Town 1929 Museum in Shawnee. “They represent the inspiring and creative work taking place in museums across Kansas.”
Awardees were nominated by the museum community and selected by a committee of peers. KMA is a statewide organization for museums, historical societies, art galleries, nature centers, zoo, convention and visitor centers, and libraries. Its purpose is to strengthen the Kansas museum community through education, communication and collaboration.
Murl Riedel, KMA Awards Chair, presents the Distinguished Service Award to Jimmie Lewis, volunteer at the Smoky Hill Museum, and Nona Miller, Curator of Education.