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Director's Awards

Director's Award for Excellence 2015

Rebecca Coronel

Rebecca Coronel’s career at the National Museum of Australia dates from 2000: a time when the institution was in an early period of development and growth. Working initially in front-of-house areas, Rebecca’s career progressed into leadership positions at the Museum, principally in exhibition coordination and planning. She has also supported the broader museum industry through her work with the peak body, Museums Australia.

Rebecca’s commitment as Manager of Exhibitions and Gallery Development at the Museum has been exemplary. She has led the increasing professionalisation of exhibition project management with clear and lasting results. Her conceptual grasp of core ideas, together with her practical approach to project management and delivery, has enhanced the Museum’s reputation for high-quality exhibitions and related programs finished to an exceptional standard. In addition, her strong personal commitment to travelling exhibitions has ensured the Museum has reached audiences throughout the country and overseas.

Rebecca has also taken a lead role in developing the Museum’s work culture, and she is highly regarded by her peers. Her calm and unflustered approach to problem-solving is welcomed by colleagues who rely on her capacity to deal with challenges and issues as they arise. As a result, her counsel and advice is sought by staff throughout the organisation, and she has supported and developed her team members, with benefits both to them and the Museum.

The Director’s Award for Excellence recognises the quality of practice, achievement and organisational contribution of a Museum staff member. Rebecca Coronel’s work has been a key part of the Museum’s success over the past decade and she continues to search for ways to improve the organisation’s approach to making high-quality experiences for the public. This award celebrates her exemplary contribution to the life of the National Museum.

Director’s Award for Excellence 2014

Professor Mike Smith, AM, FAHA, FSA

Mike Smith’s distinguished career in desert archaeology spans more than four decades, almost half of which has been spent in senior roles at the National Museum of Australia. His recent book, The Archaeology of Australian Deserts, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013, has been hailed as ‘a landmark work in Australian History’. It synthesises much of what he has learnt over the course of his career about the ‘deep history’ of these remarkable landscapes.

Mike’s research work has been important in Australia and abroad, placing the desert archaeology of this continent in a comparative international context. His establishment of an international southern deserts conference in 2003 has left an enduring scholarly legacy, with meetings of that group now held regularly around the world. In recognition of his ‘significant service to archaeological scholarship, particularly of Australia’s desert regions’, Mike was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013.

Mike has made exceptional contributions to the Museum in many areas, including in research, exhibitions and collections, educational material, public programs, archival and publishing initiatives, and online content. In particular, he inspired and led development of the Museum’s research endeavour, culminating in the establishment of its Research Centre and scholarly journal, reCollections, in 2006–07.

The annual Director’s Award for Excellence recognises the quality of practice, achievement and organisational contribution of a Museum staff member. In this inaugural year, the award celebrates the excellence of Mike Smith’s scholarly record, his professional leadership, and the pivotal part he has played in the success of the National Museum of Australia.