News Releases

Shelton honored with American Alliance of Museums award
Release Date Friday, June 27, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (June 27, 2014) – Museum of Geology Associate Director Sally Shelton has been named the 2014 recipient of the national Dudley Wilkinson Award of Distinction.

The award was established in 1988 to recognize museum professionals who have demonstrated commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the registration profession. It was named for Dorothy H. Dudley and Irma Bezold Wilkinson, authors of Museum Registration Methods, and is presented every two years.

At the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Shelton manages paleontological collections and teaches several university courses related to museum studies, conservation and paleontological resource management. She currently serves as Society for Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) Legislative and Regulatory Committee chair, Mammoth Site Collections Committee member, Journey Museum geological exhibits curator and Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission member. She is also a co-organizer and lecturer for the Curation of Natural History Collections course sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum Management Program.

“I have been hopelessly in love with museums since my parents took me to the old museum at Texas Tech when I was just barely old enough to form and hold a memory. … I have never worked anywhere but in museums since I took that first step in college. It’s like a magic carpet ride,” Shelton said of her passion for museums.

Shelton earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology with an option in museum science from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in museum science with a thesis in paleontology from Texas Tech University and a post-graduate diploma in geological conservation from Sedgwick Museum at University of Cambridge. She served as collections officer at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; director of collections care and conservation at the San Diego Natural History Museum; president of the SPNHC; outreach and archives chair for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; board member of the San Diego Archaeological Center; and chair of the Museum Assessment Program Advisory Board for the American Association of Museums.

She was part of the first group selected for the Collections Care Pilot Training Project at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She was the sole American in the post-graduate diploma program in geological conservation at the Geological Conservation Unit, Sedgwick Museum at the University of Cambridge, where her portfolio research focused on conservation of meteorites in museum collections, developing and refining tests for measuring mercury emissions from minerals and the conservation of fossil bone in volcanic ash. She was a delegate and coordinator of a workshop on international fundraising for collections care support at the Second Symposium and World Congress on Natural History Collections in Cambridge. Last year, she was one of two recipients of the Mammoth Site’s Volunteer of the Year award.


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,020 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at