Museum Receives Award

Three museum staff stand in front of the museum doors holding a very large sheet of paper and a plaque.

Museum staff Anna Doll, Jerushia Graham, and Virginia Howell pose with a large sheet of paper and an award from the Georgia Association of Museums for the project "Big Paper."

Over 200 museum professionals recently descended upon Athens, Georgia, for the annual meeting of the Georgia Association of Museums (GAM).   They arrived from all regions of the state, from Rome to Thomasville to Savannah.  The theme of the 2024 conference was “Finding the Right Frequency: Museums and Communities in Harmony.”  Attendees participated in a variety of sessions and workshops ranging from developing education programs to designing  eye-catching exhibits and visiting with vendors whose products and services target the field.   Many Athens-Clarke County museums and cultural institutions opened their doors to attendees for tours and events. The highlight of the week was the annual GAM Awards Luncheon.

This year the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking was presented the Special Project (under $1,000) award by GAM President Marcy Breffle and Award Committee Co-Chairs Melissa Swindell and Karin Dalton for the project “Big Paper.”   “We are very pleased to present this award to a very deserving recipient,” said GAM President Breffle.  “Our members represent a good cross section of museums and cultural organizations in Georgia’s communities, large and small,” she added.  “We are happy to honor institutions, staff members, volunteers, patrons, exhibits, and special projects that have excelled in providing inspiring programs and leadership,” she concluded. 

Under the guidance of museum staff Jerushia Graham and Anna Doll, “Big Paper” is a project in which groups from nearby colleges and universities experience making large sheets of paper – 4’ x 6’—in a communal setting. From preparing fiber by hand beating plant material to working together to fill a papermaking mold, students worked together to create something huge! The inaugural event was in April, 2023, and had participants from the University of Georgia, Spelman College, Kennesaw State University, and the Georgia State University Art Club. The event returns in 2024 with noted papermaker Tom Balbo, founding director of the Morgan Conservatory, leading the communal event.

Museum Director Virginia Howell says, “The Paper Museum is honored to receive this award. It is a testament to the hard work of the museum team, and the project has allowed us to build on relationships with so many people who are interested in learning more about the papermaking process and how it can be an incredibly fun yet challenging experience.”

Big Paper returns on April 13, 2024.

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Virginia Howell