The 2023 UMAC Award

The 2023 UMAC Award

UMAC (University Museums and Collections) is the International Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums), the global organisation of museum professions working in higher education. Established in 2001, it is a relatively new group in comparison with many other committees within ICOM.

One of the group’s initiatives was the establishment of the UMAC Award. The UMAC AWARD was created in 2016. It is an annual competition judged by an international group of experienced museum professionals. The Award Committee is chaired by Akiko Fukuno from the Hachiro Yuasa Memorial Museum, International Christian University, Tokyo. (See for the full list of currently appointed judges).

The Award honours excellence and innovation in university museums and collections work worldwide. It seeks to distinguish and reward recent outstanding contributions through project work to all areas of museum and collections theory and practice, particularly those with interdisciplinary approaches and a potential for wide application.

Projects nominated for the UMAC Award cover all areas of museums and collections theory and practice, including exhibition development, education, conservation, teaching, research, management and business models, design and architecture, ethics, service to the university and the public, strategic planning, and advances in museology.

Projects nominated must demonstrate: innovation/creativity; excellence; transferability of ideas that can be adopted by other university museums and collections regardless of geography, size or location; and impact on the host university, the community or society at large.

UMAC celebrates excellence, creativity, and, more importantly, the impact of university museums and collections on their host universities, their communities and contemporary society through the UMAC AWARD. “The Award is an important reminder that some of the most creative new museum work actually occurs in the higher education sector” says Andrew Simpson, the current Chair of UMAC.

The 2023 UMAC Award was won by the Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney, for their project, Object-Based Learning Program. It is the first time the UMAC Award has been won by an Australian university.

The Award was accepted by Dr. Paul Donnelly, Deputy Director of the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the UMAC AGM, held on 1 September. The ceremony was attended by the representatives of the three UMAC Award 2023 finalists and the Jury, both online and in-person.

For the three finalists for the 2023 UMAC Award, see our previous media release:

Or see the playlist on our YouTube Channel

The judges of the UMAC Award for 2023 were clearly impressed by the transformative impact object-based learning had made across the curriculum at the University of Sydney via the Chau Chak Wing Museum program.

The CCWM was strategically designed with interdisciplinarity at its core. It’s centralised position within the university structure and the diversity of its collections allows the OBL program to enrich the academic environment of all students regardless of their area of study, and to act as a hub of productive interdisciplinary connections for staff and students. The OBL program’s success is due to the fact that each class is bespoke to meet specific learning outcomes, with carefully curated objects and purposefully designed active and autonomous learning activities to develop key skills.

“It’s a great example of the fundamental role collections have in the pedagogy of higher education, particularly the ability to draw cross-disciplinary connections for students and staff” says Andrew Simpson. “Congratulations to the CCWM OBL team. We hope the UMAC Award continues to be a focus for exemplary museum practice in higher education.”

The other two finalists for 2023 were the Genia Shrieber University Art Gallery, The David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts, Tel Aviv University for their project: “In the Mind’s Eye,” and the Medical Museion, the University of Copenhagen for their project: “The World is in You.”

Previous winners of the UMAC Awards (from the website

National University of Singapore – 2016

Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, University of Oklahoma – 2017

The Perm University History Museum, Russia – 2018.

Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, Denmark – 2019.

University of Tartu Museum, Estonia – 2020.

Aarhus University, Denmark, Science Museums – 2021.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China – 2022.



PDF of media release:


The winner of the UMAC Award 2022 was announced today.

It’s The Chinese University of Hong Kong (China), with UNIMINUTO (Colombia) and the University of Tokyo (Japan) in second place.

Read press release.

The UMAC AWARD celebrates excellencecreativity, and, more importantly, the impact of university museums and collections on their host universities, their communities and contemporary society.

The UMAC AWARD was created in 2016. It seeks to distinguish recent outstanding contributions to all areas of museum and collections theory and practice, particularly those with interdisciplinary approaches and potential wide application.

Read more about the UMAC AWARD 2022 here.


6 September (Tue), 9:00 (Lisbon), 16:00 (Hong Kong), 17:00 (Tokyo)

Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Time TravelHong Kong


8 September (Thu), 9:00 (Lisbon), 17:00 (Tokyo)

The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT) / Intermediatheque

Orchids Blossom – Botanical Art Collections from the University of Tokyo


13 September (Tue), 14:00 (Lisbon), 8:00 (Bogota), 22:00 (Tokyo)

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bogotá

THESIS project


WINNER: to be announced on September 18, at 12:00 Lisbon/London time:


UMAC Award 2022 finalists

The UMAC AWARD 2022 finalists have been announced today by Akiko Fukuno and Marta Lourenco.

Learn who they are here. And watch the announcement on UMAC YouTube channel:

The announcement of the winner of the UMAC AWARD 2022 will be made live in our YouTube channel. Save the date: Sunday, 18 September, 12 PM Lisbon/London time.

Live Presentations UMAC AWARD 2021

Save the dates for the live presentation of the three nominees to the UMAC Award 2021.

23 August, 10:00 (Israel), 8:00 (Lisbon), 16:00 (Tokyo):
The Genia Schreiber Art Gallery and Michel Kikoïne Foundation
Project: Plan(e)t: Plants Think, Think Plants
Tel Aviv University, ISRAEL
Session Chair: Marta Lourenço
Live streaming here
25 August, 18:00 (US-EST), 23:00 (Lisbon), 7:00 (Tokyo, August 26):
Harvard Art Museums
Project: The Pandemic Pivot
Harvard University, USA
Session Chair: Akiko Fukuno
Live streaming here
27 August, 9:00 (Denmark), 8:00 (Lisbon), 16:00 (Tokyo) :

Science Museerne
Project: Profession and Passion. A Life in Science.
Aarhus University, DENMARK
Session Chair: Sébastien Soubiran
Live streaming here


UMAC AWARD 2021: Announcement Shortlist

Today, the shortlist of the three nominees to the UMAC AWARD 2021 was publicly announced by the Chair of the UMAC Award Committee, Akiko Fukuno.


To access the whole announcement on UMAC you tube channel:


UMAC AWARD 2021 Shortlist Announcement

UMAC celebrates excellencecreativity, and, more importantly, the impact of university museums and collections on their host universities, their communities and contemporary society through the UMAC AWARD, given every year.

In 2021 the candidates to the UMAC AWARD were amazing and UMAC will be announcing the shortlist of the 3 finalists on July 12, at 8 AM London/Lisbon time, live in our YouTube channel:

Conversations with each of the finalists will occur in the last week of August and the final announcement will happen during the UMAC-Universeum 2021 Annual Conference.



UMAC AWARD 2021: Call for Nominations

UMAC invites the university museums and collections global community to submit nominations to the UMAC AWARD 2021.

Do you know a particularly outstanding project by a university museum or collection? Was your own university museum or collection involved in an exceptionally significant project that you think deserves international visibility?

The Call for Nominations will be open until 28 February 2021 and the nominations can only be made online.

Please find the online form and information about eligibility, selection criteria and more here.

We can’t wait to see the 2021 nominations!

University of Tartu Museum Wins the UMAC Award 2020

The 2020 UMAC Award was won by the project ‘A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu’, submitted by the Tartu University Museum, Estonia. The award was accepted by Mariann Raisma, Director of the Museum, during an online ceremony held today on youtube:

The objective of the University of Tartu Museum’s project was to portray the University through encounters between current scholars and historical objects. In the course of the project, a photo exhibition called “Get Your Spirit Ready! A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu” was mounted, and a book called A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu was published. The latter focused on 100 objects from the University of Tartu collections which enabled the scholars to describe their fields of activity. The exhibition travelled to the University’s various buildings around Estonia, thereby introducing colleagues to each other, and the University’s outstanding scholars to the students. Now the exhibition is part of a new permanent exhibition called The University of Our Lives at the Museum.

In second place were the “Egyptian Coffins Project” by the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge University, UK) and the “Return of Cultural Heritage Project: Manchester Museum Repatriation” by the Manchester Museum (University of Manchester, UK).