Rusty Baker, PA Museums,
Mark Miner, Beaver Area Heritage Museum,

Beaver Heritage Museum Receives Third Award and Cash Prize for Quay “Saint or Sinner” Exhibit

The Pennsylvania Federation of Museums bestowed its highest annual “best in show” S.K. Stevens Award to the Beaver Area Heritage Museum for its exhibit and documentary, “Saint or Sinner? The Complicated Legacy of Senator Matthew Stanley Quay.” The award and a $500 check were presented by PA Museums executive director Rusty Baker to museum officials Beth Spence and Mark Miner at the organization’s annual conference in Harrisburg.

This is the Heritage Museum’s third award for its provocative 2022-2023 display examining the life and practices of the controversial 19th century politician and Beaver resident. Last year, the exhibit and documentary captured PA Museums’ Special Achievement Award and the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Excellence, which represent the best in the field.

“The Stevens Award is prestigious because it ranks above our standard awards and speaks to best practices recognized at the national level,” Baker said. “It honors those organizations that have won statewide and national awards for a particular project. We are proud to recognize all of the great work being done in Beaver as well as by other museums and historical organizations throughout the Commonwealth.”

The award was named in honor of Sylvester K. Stevens (1904-1974) who served as Pennsylvania State Historian and 1956 to 1972 was executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and was author of the 1964 book Pennsylvania: Birthplace of a Nation.

More than 3,500 guests viewed the Beaver museum’s Saint/Sinner display in 2022-2023, a visually rich exhibit of images and artifacts. A companion video documentary, produced in association with Pacer Studios, captured the highlights of Quay’s personality and practices through the perspective of his 100-year-old biographer, Dr. James A. Kehl. The 35-minute video is posted on the Heritage Foundation’s new YouTube page.

“We are grateful for this second statewide recognition from PA Museums,” said Edwards McLaughlin, chair of the museum’s board of trustees. “It’s exciting to be recognized for our volunteer team’s work.”

Other 2024 PA Museums “Institutional Achievement Awards” Winners:

  • Forged by Fire: The Heritage, Honor, and History of Firefighting, The Sigal Museum, Easton

  • The Story of Us, Hagen History Center, Erie

  • 18th Century Teaching Garden, Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society, Waterford

  • Gilded, Not Golden, The Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

  • Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

  • Korean War Exhibit, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Pittsburgh

  • At the Water’s Edge: Working and Living Along the Delaware River, The Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia

  • Conversations with Birds, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia

  • Aim High, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

  • Pennsylvania Trolley Museum Welcome & Education Center, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Washington

  • Celebrating Juneteenth: Commemorating African American History, Chester County History Center, West Chester

  • Beyond the Battle Museum, Adams County Historical Society, Gettysburg


Individual Awards

  • Candace Perry, The Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, Pennsburg

  • President’s Award – Richard Burkert, The Johnstown Area Heritage Association, Johnstown


About PA Museums
PA Museums ( is Pennsylvania’s statewide museum association with 370 members across the Commonwealth. Its membership includes museums and historical organizations of many types and sizes, and in addition to providing professional development opportunities for museum professionals, the organization also leads advocacy campaigns on behalf of the museum community.

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