Published 04/21/20


The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) is pleased to announce Milan Hughston as the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Service Award. He is the 29th person to receive the society’s highest honor. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual whose exemplary service in art librarianship, visual resources curatorship, or a related field has made an outstanding national or international contribution to art information. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Milan will accept the award at the society's virtual convocation ceremony on April 22, 2020. ARLIS/NA's annual conference was originally scheduled to take place that week in St. Louis, Missouri.

Milan Hughston is a towering figure as well as a household name in ARLIS/NA circles. He has been providing expert fiscal, programmatic, and strategic leadership to the organization for decades, which, combined with a persuasive and charming personality, makes him a “flagship ambassador” for the society. Milan’s legendary fundraising skills earned him renown as a “rainmaker” for ARLIS/NA as well as for both art libraries he headed. His leadership of the society’s annual conference fundraising efforts year after year has helped ARLIS/NA present the most meaningful and enriching programs to its members.

Milan held and distinguished himself in major leadership positions in significant art institutions. He was Librarian at the Amon Carter Museum (1979–1999) and Chief of Library at the Museum of Modern Art (1999–2016). From his focus on developing collections of Latin American art to MoMA’s program of artists’ books commissions, his accomplishments represent the highest professional standards. His leadership and emphasis on collaboration greatly contributed to the success of the Fort Worth Cultural District Library Consortium (CDLC) and the New York Art Library Consortium (NYARC).

Milan not only provided visionary and sound guidance to prominent art institutions, but significantly raised the status of our profession within the greater art community. As many of his colleagues can readily attest, Milan’s natural, easygoing, and collegial approach and dedicated mentorship made him an exemplar for the next generation of art librarians.

Following his retirement in 2016, Milan has demonstrated his unfaltering commitment to ARLIS/NA. He barely skipped a beat before volunteering to head up fundraising for the 2018 ARLIS/NA annual conference. As a participant in the 2019 ARLIS/NA Study Tour in Venice, he moderated the keynote symposium on building bridges between American and Italian art libraries for an international and multilingual audience. 

For his contribution to art librarianship and to ARLIS/NA in particular, the society is delighted to honor Milan Hughston with the 2019 Distinguished Service Award. 

The nomination was submitted by Jonathan Evans, Carole Ann Fabian, and Mark Pompelia. Members of the 2019 ARLIS/NA Distinguished Service Award Sub-Committee were: Maria Oldal, Chair, Jillian Ewalt, Elisa Hansen, Katie Keller, and Sylvia Roberts.

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