American Alliance of Museums honors Taft Museum for Excellence in Label Writing

The Taft Museum of Art has been honored as part of the 2021 American Alliance of Museums’ Excellence in Label Writing Competition for the exhibition, “A Splendid Century | Cincinnati Art 1820–1920,” featuring “More to the Story” labels.

The Taft is the only art museum among this year’s 11 winners selected from over 100 entries. The annual competition invites writers, editors, and museum visionaries to submit their best labels for judging by a diverse selection of jurors from the museum and heritage sector.

Tamera Lenz Muente, Taft associate curator, was lead writer for the exhibition.

A Splendid Century celebrated the Taft historic house bicentennial year, featuring Cincinnati art and artists spanning the first 100 years of the house’s existence. With the recognition that no century is “splendid” for all people, the exhibition’s “More to the Story” interpretative texts highlighted individual works of art that reveal the stories of historically underrepresented groups, including women and Black and Indigenous people. Through these labels, the museum aimed to provide audiences with a more diverse understanding of history. The special exhibition was on view at the Taft last fall/early winter, however audiences can continue to enjoy the show online in a virtual self-guided tour with pay-what-you-wish admission.

This year’s panel of jurors included Dan Spock (independent museum consultant), Donna Braden (The Henry Ford) Adrienne Lalli Hills (Oklahoma Contemporary) and Brittany Hutchinson (Virginia HC Museum). Each juror was tasked with reviewing the more than 100 labels submitted for consideration. Eleven individual labels were chosen that will be added to the competition’s online archive for use by current and future museum professionals.

“The really compelling narrative is below the surface,” said juror Donna Braden, “and it is now being revealed.” The Taft Museum of Art’s More to the Story “provides contemporary relevance to today’s museum-goers.”

Those named as Taft contributors to the submission:

  • Writer: Tamera Lenz Muente, associate curator
  • Editors: Lynne Ambrosini, former deputy director and the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth chief curator
  • Deborah Emont Scott, Louise Taft Semple President/CEO
  • Anita Buck, contract editor
  • Elise Solomon, director of learning and engagement

The Taft will continue the award-winning “More to the Story” labels in their upcoming bicentennial exhibitions: “In a New Light” (July 3-May 1) at the Taft Museum of Art and “Borrowed Gems,” on loan to Cincinnati Museum Center (July 23-Feb. 21). And audiences can also expect to see this reinterpretation of the museum’s permanent collection following the completion of the Bicentennial Infrastructure Project in Spring 2022.

More information on this year’s competition.

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