Booth Western Art Museum, claimed two top awards at the Southeast Tourism Society’s annual Shining Example Awards on Sept. 8, 2016. The museum itself was named Southeast Tourism Society Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year and Tom Shinall, the museum’s director of marketing, was honored with the Rising Star Award. This award is just the latest in a recent stretch of recognition for the Booth, including:
- Best Western Museum in America (True West Magazine)
- The South’s Best Museums (Southern Living)
- 30 Must See Art Museums in the U.S. (TheCareerArtProject)
- 5 U.S. Art Museums to Add to Your Bucket List (TheDailyQuirk)
- Best Attraction in Bartow County (four consecutive years!)(Cartersville-Bartow Co. CVB)
Opened in 2003, the Booth is an Affiliate to the Smithsonian Institution, and houses the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in America. The Booth encompasses 120,000-square-feet, making it the second largest art museum in Georgia, and is located just 30 minutes north of Atlanta.
Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year
TheSoutheast Tourism Society’s Shining Example Awards recognize outstanding contributions in professional tourism across 12 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year is awarded to an attraction whose work has resulted in a year of notable accomplishments such as development of new business markets, substantial growth in revenue and attendance or special outreach.
“Shining Example Awards highlight some of the best work in travel and tourism, and winners truly set examples that others in the industry can follow,” said STS President and CEO Bill Hardman.
The museum has seen several major successes this past year including Ansel Adams: Before & After, the best-attended exhibit in the museum’s history. Other popular recent exhibits included:
- The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office
- Michael Naranjo: The Artist Who Sees With His Hands
- Framing the Future: Current Members of the CAA
- Blazing the Trail: The Cowboy Artists of America
- Cowboy Artists of America 50th Anniversary Reunion
- Three Point Perspective: Dean, Elliott & Hagege
- Technicolor Coyote: Adventures with Michael Goettee
Permanent exhibits at the museum include:
- Western Galleries – eight galleries including hundreds of paintings, sculptures and artifacts depicting the cowboys and native Americans that exemplify Western Art
- Carolyn & James Millar Presidential Gallery, a collection of one-page, original, signed letters from each President of the United States and portrait photographs of each president as well as a variety of presidential memorabilia.
- Civil War Gallery – a chronological view of paintings and sculpture of the Civil War
- Sagebrush Ranch – a hands-on, interactive children’s gallery
Seth Hopkins, executive director, says, “We are honored to receive this recognition from the Southeast Tourism Society. We work hard on offering an experience that is truly unique in the Southeast – something locals, destination travelers and international visitors can all enjoy. As the Booth Museum permanent collection grows and the quality of our temporary exhibitions develops, we continue to improve our visitor experience. It is nice to have these efforts acknowledged among such a great roster of past winners.”
Former Attraction of the Year winners include Opryland USA, Graceland, Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, Aquarium of the America’s, Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City Gardens and Ruby Falls.
Rising Star Award
Tom Shinall, Booth Western Art Museum’s director of marketing, was honored with the Southeast Tourism Society’s Rising Star award, recognizing extraordinary on-the-job performance by a person new to the travel and tourism industry.
“We are very proud of Tom and all he has accomplished in his relatively few years with us. He has done a superior job networking with media, fellow marketing colleagues and others within the tourism profession. His efforts have garnered greater awareness and increased attendance for the Booth Museum,” says Hopkins.
“Humbled. Honored. Proud. Excited. These are a few of the emotions I have experienced since learning of my recognition,” says Shinall. “I am truly blessed to represent an incredible organization and attraction, all while living in and promoting my home town. My success would not be possible without the guidance and support from those I work with on a daily basis, so this is as much theirs as it is mine. This is an honor I cannot take for granted, but one I will cherish for a lifetime. Just as a cowboy’s work is never done, I must continue the momentum of promoting the Booth Museum to the world.”