Jay Rounds, founding director of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, has been recognized by the Association of Midwest Museums for his decades of contribution to the field and legacy of shaping students into museum professionals.

Rounds received the association’s Distinguished Career Award at the AMM’s annual conference in St. Louis in July.

Jay Rounds, director of the Museum Studies Program at UMSL, has received the Distinguished Career Award from the Association of Midwest Museums. (Photo by Mike DeFilippo)

“I feel deeply honored by this award. But exceptional careers require exceptional opportunities,” said Rounds, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Museum Studies and Community History at UMSL. “The collaboration between UMSL and the Des Lee Foundation created the perfect opportunity for me – and, most importantly, for the 127 graduates of the Museum Studies Program who are out making their marks as reflective practitioners in museums and archives. I’m very proud of them all.”

Rounds is set to retire from UMSL Sept. 1 after 17 years in the position. He will remain at UMSL as a Founders Professor, a designation for retired professors with a record of meritorious contributions to the university.

The AMM award is given annually to a long-term museum professional who has a distinguished career and who has made significant contributions to the museum community, particularly to AMM.

“Jay is well-deserving of this award,” said Patricia Zahn, director of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision and manager of community outreach and engagement at UMSL. “He has created a nationally recognized museum studies program here at UMSL and has developed important partnerships with museums in our community and beyond.”

Rounds has been active in museums and historical organizations since early in his career. He has led planning and development for more than 200,000 square feet of museum exhibits and world fair pavilions and has served as a consultant on museum planning projects in the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and Asia.

He is a member of the editorial board of Curator: The Museum Journal. He has previously served as a member of the board of directors of the National Association for Museum Exhibition and as editor of the association’s journal Exhibitionist.

Rounds is currently writing a book on museums: “How Museums Change.”

The UMSL Experience

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez