TIFTON—Two of the top awards at the annual Georgia Museums/Alabama Museums Association Joint Conference belong to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture.
Museum Curator Polly Huff brought home the 2020 Best Museum Exhibition Award, Category One, for “One Small Step: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing Day and Everyday Life in 1969” and the 2020 Special Project Award, Category Two, for “A to Z: A Story of Hope, Healing, A Book, An Exhibit, A Springboard.”
“It’s a real honor for me to accept these awards on behalf of the Gallery at the Museum,” Huff said. “The Exhibition Award recognizes outstanding achievement in projects with a budget below $1,000 by the institutions, friends, and supporters of the Georgia Association of Museums (GAM). The Special Project Award encompasses projects with budgets below $25,000.”
On the “One Small Step” project, Awards Committee Chair Christy Crisp of the Georgia Historical Society said, “The decision to use existing college archival materials and collection items from the 1960s to round out the exhibit, and also the community-sourced Moon Landing objects were particularly interesting and resourceful aspects of this project. This was a creative project that seems to have expanded the museum audience.”
Huff said the “One Small Step” exhibit was built around a Moon Landing Day letter written by then-ABAC President Clyde Driggers. Huff collaborated with NASA to display images, audio, video, and written journals from the Moon Landing and led a crowd-sourced effort which produced some unique exhibit items. Brittany Bass from Arcadia, Fla., and Jason Gentry from Blakely were the ABAC interns assisting on the project.
Of the “A to Z” project, the Awards committee said, “This inspiring and multi-faceted project is a testament both to the artist and to the creativity of the Gallery’s curator in developing such opportunities.”
“A to Z” was a carefully curated exhibit for children of all ages built by Huff to spotlight the work of Tifton resident, artist and illustrator Donna Falcone. A debilitating case of Lyme Disease ended Falcone’s long career in Early Childhood Education in 2009. For years, she has helped children, college students, and teachers find their creative voices.
“Now she has discovered her a voice of her own through a venture into alcohol inks and through a serendipitous connection with the Gallery that had the desire and connections to springboard her talent and works into a full-blown exhibition,” Huff said.
“A to Z” included displays of alcohol ink art from Falcone’s book, “A is for Azure,” musical performances by the artist, a children’s art workshop, and an interactive children’s activities corner.
Over 200 museum professionals from Georgia and Alabama attended the conference, which was held in Columbus. Huff has been a member of the GAM Board of Directors for the last six years, serves at the state’s GAM Membership Chair, and participates in the GAM Legislative Group. During the conference, Huff was also the co-host for a session which included a tour of FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs.