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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History recently received two awards from the Southeastern Museums Conference.

The museum’s newest traveling exhibit, “Dugout Canoes: Paddling through the Americas,” received the award of excellence for exhibits with budgets between $100,000 and $1 million, and the museum’s 2009-10 annual report received the gold award in the Publication Design competition.

Darcie MacMahon, Florida Museum assistant director for exhibits, accepted the awards on behalf of the museum at the group’s annual meeting in October in Greenville, S.C.

“We always strive to achieve excellence in our exhibitions, but outside confirmation from the field is very exciting and provides a stamp of approval that other institutions around the country will recognize when the exhibit begins its tour,” MacMahon said.

“Dugout Canoes” was inspired by the discovery of 101 ancient dugouts at Newnans Lake in 2000. The exhibit features artifacts, videos and interactive displays as well as model and life-size canoes. The Florida Museum will display the exhibit through 2013 before it begins traveling to museums across the country.

Elecia Crumpton, Florida Museum graphic design coordinator, worked on both projects and was excited to see the hard work of so many people rewarded.

“I think it’s really gratifying to receive recognition for large museum projects,” Crumpton said. “These projects require an incredible amount of time, energy and lots of collaboration among colleagues. It’s a great honor for all involved, and certainly for the Florida Museum.”

The 24-page annual report gives an overview of the museum’s accomplishments from the last fiscal year and was designed, written and edited by museum employees.

“The annual report and ‘Dugout Canoes’ are the culmination of many hours of work on the part of dozens of museum staff members,” said Beverly Sensbach, Florida Museum associate director. “We are thrilled that all of their efforts paid off.”

The Southeastern Museums Conference is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of museums from 12 Southeastern states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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Sources: Darcie MacMahon, 352-273-2053,
Beverly Sensbach, 352-273-1900,
Writer: Logan Gerber
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,