Abbe Museum staff win NEMA award 

BAR HARBOR — The staff of the Abbe Museum were awarded a 2020 New England Museum Association (NEMA) Excellence Award on Nov. 20 for their extraordinary effort and commitment to the New England museum community.  

The NEMA Excellence Award competition, now in its seventh year, recognizes excellence in museum practice. Nominated by peers, nominees represent a range of a worthy practices, acts of outreach, kind deeds and sustained commitments to going above and beyond. 

“Even during this pandemic, museum professionals are still making a positive impact and difference in the community,” said NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger. “The Abbe Museum staff are an outstanding example of a team of museum professionals who have risen to meet the challenge of these times. This award is a testament to their commitment and vision in their work for and with New England’s museums. 

When the COVID-19 shutdown affected two major museum events the Abbe Museum, staff quickly pivoted both events online to ensure support for Native artists and museum engagement. The staff that made it possible include Chris Newell, executive director; Starr Kelly, curator of education; Jill Sawyer, associate director of advancement; Angela Raup, manager of education and outreach; Zachary Taibi, advancement associate; and Joanna Robinson-Clarke, operations and finance manager.  

Originally, the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) was scheduled for May and the Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market (NAF) for early July. Together, the digital AMIM and digital NAF had more than 1,000 attendees and the recordings have gained an additional 6,000 views. Learn more about both at and  

For more information about the Excellence Award winners,visit


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