N.C. Maritime Museum recognized for inclusion efforts

SOUTHPORT, N.C. — Staff at the N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport have shown a continued commitment to ensure all who visit feel welcome. That work has now been recognized statewide.

North Carolina Museums Council named the museum the recipient of the 2022 Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Award for its work over the course of 2021 to make the museum more accessible for patrons of all ages and abilities.

Museum Director Lori Sanderlin and Curator of Education Katy Menne were singled out for their efforts to introduce a semi-guided multi-lingual tour and tactile maps to accommodate Deaf visitors and those with low vision or total blindness.

“Having the museum selected for this award is indescribable. Lori and I were both speechless when we got the congratulations email,” Menne said. “We know this DEAI journey is a multitude of small steps, and we cannot wait to continue pushing forward. This award is all thanks to the support of the Southport Lions Club and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.”

The award was presented at the North Carolina Museums Council’s annual conference, held in Rocky Mount in March, and officially announced earlier this month.

“I am so pleased with the changes at the museum over the past four years. Each step is heading in a positive direction,” Sanderlin said. “We really want the museum to be a place in the community where visitors and locals see it as a welcoming space for all people to learn and enjoy maritime history.”

Other individuals and institutions were, likewise, recognized for their respective efforts within the museum field during the annual conference. The categories and winners include:

  • Awards of Special Recognition: Tom Spada, president of the Historic Rosedale Board of Directors; and Manisa Vongnalath, the selected student graphic designer who spent nine months redesigning the NCMC logo.
  • Professional Service Award: Karl McKinnon, Assistant Director/CFO at the Schiele Museum.
  • Awards of Excellence: Carteret County Historical Society who celebrated their 50th birthday in style last year with exhibitions and special events to commemorate their dedication to the history they preserve; and North Carolina Museum of History for their work to make available their award-winning “Story of North Carolina“ through a 360-degree virtual tour through exhibit space for students and families during the pandemic when the museum was closed to the public.
  • William T. Alderson Lifetime Achievement Award: Martha B. Jackson was recognized for her more than forty years of experience in museums.

The 2023 North Carolina Museums Council annual conference will be hosted in Gastonia. Award nominations will open later in this year.

For more information on the NCMC awards, visit ncmuseums.org or contact LeRae Umfleet, awards chair, at awards@ncmuseums.org. For more information on the N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport and its DEAI work there, call 910-477-5151 or visit ncmaritimemuseumsouthport.com.

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