OMA Award Spotlight - Hadley Drodge

Recognizing excellence in Ohio museums during Arts and Humanities Month

To help celebrate October as Arts and Humanities Month, and to kick-off the call for nominations for this year's OMA awards, we'll be highlighting our 2020 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. We are featuring these Award Winner Spotlights during Arts and Humanities Month to help champion the amazing projects, programs and professionals that make Ohio's museum community strong.

The Awards of Achievement are presented to reflect the outstanding quality and caliber of work by Ohio museums and their professionals in two categories: Institutional Achievement Awards and Individual Achievement Awards.

Nominations for these awards are incredibly detailed. This in-depth process helps to illustrate how these institutions and individuals have gone “above and beyond” the normal call of duty to support their institution, serve their public and advance the cause of the museum community.

Each year, the review panel is overwhelmed by the outstanding projects, innovative programming and dedication to our field as exhibited in each of the institutional and individual nominations. Congratulations again to each of our 2020 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2020 award for Emerging Professional of the Year.

Hadley Drodge -National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center

Assistant Curator Hadley Drodge has played an integral part in the progress of her organization, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, for the last four years. In that short time, she has worked on 11 exhibits, including her first major exhibition, Queens of the Heartland which opened in August of 2020 and tells the stories of 20 Ohio African American women leaders.

In 2016, after volunteering with the Dayton Metro Library and Dayton Funk Center and Hall of Fame,

Hadley’s journey with the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center began when she was selected to serve as an intern through a partnership with Wright State University’s Public History program. Working with Collections manager Linda Collins, Hadley did work with the collections and other archival projects.

The next year, she returned as a museum intern to complete her Master’s degree capstone project. This research, focusing on newly accessioned artifacts and documents from a local family led to the creation of the exhibit Freed Will – The Randolph Freedpeople from Slavery to Settlement, a 22-panel exhibit that Hadley also developed into a traveling exhibit in 2019.

As Ms. Drodge begins her fourth year as a museum professional, she continues to grow and demonstrate her history and exhibit development knowledge, and has become a valuable mentor to other emerging curators, crediting the indispensable relationship she has with her mentor, Rosa Rojas. As her nominator stated, “Hadley is a vital member of our team, and her professional service is advancing NAAMCC’s mission to educate the public about African American history and culture in Ohio and nationally.”

Hadley Drodge demonstrates the exceptional promise and potential in the museum field, helping to fuel curiosity in young audiences.  As an emerging professional, her dedication to the museum field will be an asset for Ohio museums. As Drodge herself said, “history helps us understand who we are, and represents a blueprint for our collective identity. Now I just have to keep digging for all the secrets we’ve hidden.”

Do you know a dynamic emerging professional, helping to lead the way for the future of museums? Be sure to nominate them for the 2021 award for Emerging Professional of the Year! Learn more here.


Hadley Drodge Accepts the Award During the OMA 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony

One of the fun features of OMA's 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony was being able to recognize our honorees "accepting" their award via video message. See below for Hadley Drodge's award acceptance video.

Hadley Drodge - OMA 2020 Award Acceptance Video

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