Nonprofit Insider

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire Wins Coveted Museum Innovation Award

Arlington, MA – The New England Museum Association (NEMA) today announced that the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has won the organization’s 2012 Leaders in Innovation Award. The award was for the museum’s acclaimed “Alzheimer’s Café” program, which welcomes multiple generations of families living with Alzheimer’s disease and forms of dementia, along with their care partners, into the museum on a monthly basis free of charge.

“NEMA is pleased to recognize the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for its work at the cutting edge of our profession,” said NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger. “This is the first program of its type in the eastern United States and will surely become a model for other museums around the country. The program illustrates the creativity of our region’s cultural institutions and the important role they serve in their communities.”

Research shows that people often find themselves feeling depressed and self-conscious after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The people in their closest network, primarily family members, may also feel the need for support. The Alzheimer’s Café allows CMNH to be a regular and familiar place to go where these families can connect with resources and reconnect with one another.

The award was presented to Paula Rais, CMNH Director of Community Engagement, at the 94th Annual NEMA Conference in Burlington, Vermont, on November 9. In addition to the award, the museum received complimentary registration and lodging at the conference.

The Leaders in Innovation Award recognizes New England museum programs and initiatives that advance the museum field in new and creative ways. Innovation can include exhibits, collections management, education programs, management practices, audience and community building, improving the visitor experience, use of technology, general public programs, outreach initiatives, and interpretation. This is the fourth year NEMA has presented the award.

The judging panel for the 2012 award included Neil Gordon, Executive Director of The Discovery Museums (winner of last year’s award), Julia Bernson, Deputy Director for Learning and Engagement at the deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum, and Jane Mason, Director of Marketing and Communication at the Ohio Historical Society.

Since 1918, the New England Museum Association has been the only organization in New England serving museums of all sizes and the people who work for and with them. NEMA’s mission is to strengthen member museums and museums in the region. To achieve this mission, NEMA fosters communication and ethical conduct, provides professional development, promotes excellence in museum operations, and encourages support for the museum community.

To learn more about the New England Museum Association, go to

Posted on: November 30, 2012
Topics: Award Winners

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