The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum is still planning how to mark its 20th anniversary, but it already has a big award to kick-start the celebration.

The Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries named the Breman its Institution of the Year at the organization’s annual conference Jan. 22 in Albany.

Joyce Schlesinger, an emeritus trustee, and Margie Stern, the board secretary, join Breman Executive Director Aaron Berger at a celebration of the museum’s GAMG Institution of the Year award Feb. 17.

Joyce Schlesinger, an emeritus trustee, and Margie Stern, the board secretary, join Breman Executive Director Aaron Berger at a celebration of the museum’s GAMG Institution of the Year award Feb. 17.

Kennesaw State University history professor Catherine Lewis, who heads KSU’s Museum of History and Holocaust Education and serves as the GAMG president, said the Breman was selected “to honor the great work they have done in our community since its founding, from innovative public programs to compelling exhibits that engage diverse audiences. We were pleased to recognize their accomplishments, especially under the leadership under Aaron Berger.”

Berger, the Breman’s executive director, said it always means a lot when the museum receives an honor, such as recent recognition from USA Today as one of Atlanta’s Top 10 museums, but “this one is particularly special, at least to me, because it’s recognition by our peers in the museum industry.”

He added, “It’s really humbling and very motivating.”

The award is the third the Breman has received from GAMG since opening in the summer of 1996, Berger said. The others were for Exhibit of the Year for “Return to Rich’s” in 2013 and a commendation for work with Holocaust survivors.

Now that the museum has captured the state honor, it’s looking into possible regional recognition.

“It’s raising the bar, no doubt about that,” Berger said.

It’s also a good way to kick off the Breman’s 20th year, he said. The board and staff had a small celebration, including cake, and now are mapping out anniversary plans, which Berger said will be announced soon.

“It’s just the perfect first step,” he said. “We’ve got some good things coming.”