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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Museum L-A received the "Leaders in Innovation Award" on Nov. 5 at the annual meeting of the New England Museum Association for its exhibit Rivers of Immigration: Peoples of the Androscoggin. The exhibit and related programs showcased the cultural diversity of the Twin Cities in the past and present-day with a focus on the immigrant experience. Rivers of Immigration was on exhibit from October 2009 through August 2010.

"It is an honor to not only have the opportunity to be judged by your peers, especially being such a young museum in the making, but to win the top award brings honor to our whole community" says Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Executive Director. "Congratulations goes out to all who took part in making this unplanned exhibit a reality, from the Board of Directors who took the risk of allowing a second exhibit to be created, especially in hard times, to all who worked so hard to make the different parts come together so that the community could learn more about itself, past and future."

Selection criteria for the initiatives were: Innovation for originality and creativity; practicality as could it be done by different types of museums; connection to mission as to it furthering the mission of the museum; impact on community (local, regional, national) as to providing benefits beyond the institution; and, impact on the museum field as to in what ways does the exhibit push the boundaries of the profession, cross disciplines and respond to new trends in a different way.

NEMA was extremely pleased to have the support of two highly-qualified judges along with their staff member to judge very different entries submitted by museums of various sizes and disciplines, said Dan Yaeger, Executive Director of New England Museum Association.

Rivers of Immigration, as one judge commented, is "a terrific project that clearly used the museum and the exhibition as a catalyst to bring together many parts of the community through the common thread of immigration" and "the project serves as a timely model for the field to think more broadly about the role of the museum/community partnerships that are possible."

NEMA will be spotlighting details of this project in a forthcoming issue of NEMA News and on its website, and provided a session timeslot to further explore this model at next year's annual conference. "Thank you for sharing this innovative model with the New England museum community" said Yaeger.