The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) recently announced the winners of the 70th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. This year, AASLH is proud to confer sixty national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books, and organizations.
“The Leadership in History Awards is AASLH’s highest distinction and the winners represent the best in the field,” said Trina Nelson Thomas, AASLH Awards Chair and Director, Stark Art & History Venue, Stark Foundation. “This year, we are pleased to distinguish each recipient’s commitment and innovation to the interpretation of history, as well as their leadership for the future of state and local history.”
The Leadership in History Awards Program was initiated in 1945 to build standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout America. Each nomination is peer-reviewed by AASLH’s state captains. Final awards are decided by the Awards Committee, comprised of AASLH’s fourteen regional representatives and the National Awards Chair.
There are a number of people, museums, and organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region that have been honored with awards:
Washington D.C.–Visitor Experience Re-Vision at President Lincoln’s Cottage
New Jersey–Community Museum Leads Community Recovery initiative at Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum
Pennsylvania–Brain L. Fitz and Kenneth Burkett for the publication The Scripture Rocks: Why Douglas Stahlman Carved His Legacy in Stone; The Big Graph at Eastern State Penitentiary; The Civil War in Pennsylvania traveling exhibit at Senator John Heinz History Center; the project Dressing the Bed: a Living Demonstration of 18th Century Needlework at the Betsy Ross House
The awards include:
- The Award of Merit which is presented for excellence in history programs, projects, and people when compared with similar activities nationwide.
- The Albert B. Corey Award is named in honor of a founder and former president of AASLH, and recognizes primarily volunteer-operated historical organizations that best display the qualities of vigor, scholarship, and imagination in their work. This year’s winner is the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum in Vashon Island, WA.
- The HIP (History in Progress) Award is given at the discretion of the awards committee to 5% or less of the total winners of the Award of Merit. It is for a project that is highly inspirational, exhibits exceptional scholarship, and/or is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships, or collaborations, creative problem solving, or unusual project design and inclusiveness. The 2015 recipients are Centre d’histoire de Montréal, the Jenks Society for Lost Museums, and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.
- New for 2015 is the Michael Kammen Award, named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Cornell University’s Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture Emeritus. It is presented to a history institution with an annual budget under $250,000 that has shown outstanding effort. The 2015 winner is the Lombard Historical Society in Lombard, IL.
Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2015 AASLH Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, September 18. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the HISTORY.