Princeton University Art Museum Takes Top Honors in National Design Competition


PRINCETON, NJ—The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) honored a Princeton University Art Museum exhibition catalogue with its top publications design 

award for 2014. New Jersey as Non-Site won the 2014 Frances Smyth-Ravenel Prize for Excellence in Publication Design—the “Franny,” or Best in Show—in this year’s highly competitive publications design contest, selected from among hundreds of publications from museums nationwide.

New Jersey as Non-Site accompanied the museum’s exhibition of the same name, which was the first comprehensive examination of New Jersey’s central role in avant-garde art in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The book, designed by Daphne Geismar, features an elegant use of typography and a distinctive “flush cut” binding that highlights its own physical construction—a nod to the work of the artists whose work is illustrated within.

A second Princeton University Art Museum publication, The Itinerant Languages of Photography, received an honorable mention in the category of exhibition catalogues. Designed by Miko McGinty and Rita Jules, the book utilizes typography, color and texture to evoke different aspects of photography’s capacity to converse across political, cultural and temporal boundaries. Both books were produced and published by the museum’s Publishing and Communications Department and are distributed by Yale University Press.

“The museum remains committed to producing fresh scholarship delivered in compelling ways,” notes Museum Director James Steward. “In the volume of books we develop each year we are essentially a small-scale publishing house but one that is able to take risks, and we are delighted to have our work singled out among all American museums in this way.”

For more than 25 years, AAM has recognized and encouraged excellence in the graphic design of museum publications through the Museum Publications Design Competition, the only national, juried competition of its kind. Winners are chosen for their overall design excellence, creativity and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission or special features. The panel of judges—graphic designers, museum professionals and publishers—sought out the best in graphic design in 12 different categories. Competing institutions are divided according to budget: museums with annual operating budgets under $750,000 and those with budgets of $750,000 or more. This year’s competition received 404 entries from 92 museums across the country.

A complete list of AAM publications award winners is available on the AAM website:


About the Princeton University Art Museum

With a collecting history that extends back to the 1750s, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country. From the founding gift of a collection of porcelain and pottery, the collections have grown to over 92,000 works of art that range from ancient to contemporary art and concentrate geographically on the Mediterranean regions, Western Europe, China, the United States, and Latin America.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. The Museum is intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, offering a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art, and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

About AAM

The American Alliance of Museums (formerly the American Association of Museums) is the one organization that supports all museums. Through advocacy and excellence, the Alliance strengthens the museum community, supporting 21,000 museums, individuals and companies by developing standards and best practices; providing resources and career development; and advocating for museums to thrive.

Please direct image requests to Erin Firestone, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Princeton University Art Museum, at (609) 258-3767 or