Named after Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641–1693), the Slovene polymath of the 17th century, who dedicated his life to science and collecting, the Valvasor Award is given for lifetime achievement in the museum field and for outstanding contributions to the conservation, presentation, and popularisation of movable natural and cultural heritage in Slovenia and abroad.
In addition, the Slovene Museum Society bestows Valvasor Recognitions for important achievements in the field of museology in the previous year, while the Valvasor Honorary Recognition is awarded to special merit in popularising museology and movable cultural heritage and for significant donations and sponsorships to museums and galleries. The Valvasor Carnation, however, promotes museums' participatory projects with a larger social impact.
Following a call for the Valvasor Award and Recognition nominees, the commission makes the selection of winners based on activities of the preceding calendar year. By rule, the awards are given in one of the museums in Ljubljana on the eve of International Museum Day (18 May).
In the last two decades, the lifetime achievement awards have gone to individual curators and museum workers such as Nina Zdravič Polič (Slovene Ethnographic Museum), Metka Fujs (Murska Sobota Regional Museum), Andrej Dular (Slovene Ethnographic Museum, ex Bela krajina Museum), Darja Pirkmajer (Celje Regional Museum), Anja Dular (National Museum of Slovenia), Andrej Medved (Obalne galerije - Coastal Galleries), Inja Smerdel (Slovene Ethnographic Museum), Lilijana Nedič (Slovenian Cinematheque), Timotej Knific (National Museum of Slovenia & Department of Archaeology, University of Ljubljana), Breda Ilich Klančnik (Moderna galerija (MG)), Meta Gabršek Prosenc (Maribor Art Gallery), Irena Šavel (Murska Sobota Regional Museum), Jasna Horvat (National Museum of Slovenia), Lidija Tavčar (National Gallery of Slovenia), Maja Žvanut (National Museum of Slovenia), and Kemal Selmanović (National Gallery of Slovenia).
Winners of single achievement awards and recognitions are announced in the annual booklet that accompanies the awards ceremony. Archives of these booklets are available at the website of the Association of Slovene Museums (see link below).