Each year, the Indiana Historical Society recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations whose efforts have enriched the lives of others by conveying awareness and appreciation of Indiana’s history on local, regional and statewide levels.
The nomination deadline is August 1, 2023.
Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year is awarded to a fourth through 12th-grade teacher currently teaching American or Indiana history and is recognized by colleagues as making a significant contribution to the understanding of these two fields by his or her students.
Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award is awarded to a historian who has made distinguished contributions to the field of historical scholarship and/or the affairs and activities of IHS.
Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions over an extended period of time to the field of history and/or the affairs of IHS.
Hubert Hawkins History Award is awarded to a local historian for distinguished service and career in local history.
Willard C. Heiss Family History/Genealogy Award is awarded to a family historian for distinguished service or career in Indiana family history. Presentation may include articles, books, use of materials, preservations workshops and lectures, or it may include work in a library or archive, helping the public with questions about genealogy and family history over a long career.
Outstanding Historical Organization Award is awarded to a local or county historical society, organization or site in Indiana that has demonstrated remarkable public services and programs for its community, and has demonstrated excellent application of professional standards and best practices.
Indiana History Outstanding Event or Project Award is awarded to an organization for an exceptional educational event or history project implemented during the past year, either one-time or ongoing and relating to that organization’s mission. Examples include reenactments, publications, innovative media usage, exceptional teacher training, and displays or exhibitions.
Outstanding Collaborative Project Award recognizes an exceptional project by a historical/heritage organization and one or more partners implemented during the past year. Projects must be a history-based event or project, either one-time or ongoing. Special consideration will be given to projects that share county or regional history.
The nomination deadline is August 1, 2023.
All nomination forms and supporting documents must be submitted online, by email, or postmarked by August 1, 2023 to be considered. Late nominations will not be accepted.
Nominations may be submitted online, by email, or by mail.
ONLINE SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS:
MAIL/EMAIL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS:
Contact Tamara Hemmerlein, Local History Services director
The Awards Committee is composed of IHS staff and Trustees, and community members as appointed by
IHS. The Awards Committee reserves the right to move nominees into different categories, award multiple
nominees within a category, or decline granting of an award within a category, as appropriate.
All nominators will receive notice of results, and award winners will be contacted in September 2023.
Awards will be presented in-person at local community sites.
The Indiana Historical Society collects and preserves Indiana’s unique stories; brings Hoosiers together in
remembering and sharing the past: and inspires a future grounded in our state’s uniting values and principles.
IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
Congratulations to the 2022 award winners!
Jacob P. Dunn Jr. Award
The Jacob P. Dunn Jr. Award is named after the Indiana historian and author and is given annually to the author of the best article in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, published by the Indiana Historical Society Press.
Jodi Perras, Indianapolis
Jodi Perras is a writer, consultant and amateur genealogist whose search for an unknown grandfather led to his photograph in a 1920 Muncie minstrel show. Jodi’s article, “Embraced and Detested, Performed and Protested: Hoosier Blackface Minstrel Shows,” appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Traces. Her article examines the persistence of blackface minstrel shows in the Hoosier State from the 1850s to the 1960s, including the groups hosting the performances and others fighting for their dignity and the right to be seen and portrayed in popular culture as a human being and not as an inferior race.
Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year
The Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year Award, named in honor of Caleb Mills, the father of Indiana’s common schools, is made annually to a teacher (teaching grades 4-12) currently teaching American or Indiana history and recognized by his or her colleagues as making a significant contribution to the understanding of these two fields by his or her students.
Steve Reeder, Cloverdale
Steve Reeder serves as the head of the social studies department at Monrovia High School, where he teaches AP History, Honors Psychology and Honors Sociology. Through local history projects, he has led his students to love their community through learning about the history of its people and places. Steve and his students have also been recognized on the floor of Congress and are part of the Congressional record for their work in community and local history.
Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award
The Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award is named for Dorothy Riker, who was a 50-year employee and editor for the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau from 1929 to 1979. This award is made annually to a historian who has made distinguished contributions to the field of historical scholarship, including presentation, use of materials and preservation, or the affairs and activities of the IHS.
Susan Chavers, Lafayette
For more than 36 years, ArtSmart: Indiana (ASI) has maintained its vision and conviction that every fourth grader in the state of Indiana has the opportunity to learn about and appreciate Indiana’s history, art and culture. Written by Susan Chavers, ASI is a visual and interactive educational program that teaches the history of Indiana from 1800 to the present through the images of artists who were born, trained or worked in Indiana. What began as a free docent-led slide program for fourth grade social studies students has evolved into a resource for both classroom instruction and self-guided learning for any age. With the addition of a Resource Guide, a Teaching Guide, workshops for educators, a web-based version and more, ArtSmart: Indiana continues to be updated.
Hubert Hawkins History Award
The Hubert Hawkins History Award is named for Hubert Howard Hawkins, past executive secretary of IHS and director of the Indiana Historical Bureau. Mr. Hawkins was instrumental in increasing IHS membership during his work around the state and with the Indiana Junior Historical Society. This award is given to a local historian for his or her distinguished service and career in local history.
Candi Pastor Harrison, Delphi
Since 2005, Candi Pastor Harrison has devoted herself to collecting, documenting and sharing the history of Carroll County, Indiana, by fostering connections and collaborations among former and current residents of Carroll County. Her leadership in local history is guided by her love for Delphi and Carroll County and by her skills as a collaborator and researcher.
Indiana History Outstanding Organization Event or Project Award
The Indiana History Outstanding Organization Event or Project Award recognizes an organization for an exceptional educational event or history project implemented during the past year, either one-time or ongoing, which relates to that organization’s mission.
Monroe County History Center, “See Her Run: Monroe County Women in Politics”
The exhibit “See Her Run: Monroe County Women in Politics” explored the local history of women in Monroe County engaging in politics and local government. Using the County Clerk’s office to index and research local women who ran for elected office, hundreds of women were found — and it was uncovered that several women ran for local office before they were even allowed to vote themselves. The century since women’s suffrage was divided into three sections, from early runners to early winners to the last 40 years of women in local government and how they helped shape the community into what it is today.
Daughters of the American Revolution, Wa-Pe-Ke-Way Chapter, Danville
The Wa-Pe-Ke-Way Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter’s military banner program began in 2020 as a trial project, with a goal of honoring area veterans and active military service members. After starting with 107 banners in four towns and being incredibly well received by area residents, town leaders and visitors, the program has grown to nearly 300 banners in 12 Indiana communities across four counties — Hendricks, Marion, Putnam and Montgomery.
Outstanding Collaborative Project Award
The Outstanding Collaborative Project Award recognizes an exceptional project by a historical or heritage organization with one or more partners implemented during the past year, particularly for projects that share county or regional history.
Cedar Lake Historical Association and Hesston Steam Museum, “Steam Through History”
Cedar Lake became a recreational destination with the 1881 arrival of the Monon railroad, and steamboats ferried tourists to resorts from the depot — an aspect of local history shared with the public by the Cedar Lake Historical Association (CLHA). The Hesston Steam Museum (HSM) shares how the advent of steam power increased efficiencies and improved lives. Out of a partnership between these two organizations, the “Steam Through History” project was born. The single-week, limited-engagement program brought HSM’s 20-passenger, steam-powered, circa-1915 vessel onto the waters of Cedar Lake, Indiana. The 20-minute round-trip ride from CLHA’s Museum at Lassen’s Resort pier across Cedar Lake to the former site of the Monon railway depot was the highlight.
Outstanding Historical Organization Award
The Outstanding Historical Organization Award is presented to a local or county historical society, organization or site in Indiana which has demonstrated remarkable service to and programs for its community, and has demonstrated excellent application of professional standards and best practices.
Morgan County History Center and Museum
Planning for the Morgan County History Center and Museum — Morgan County’s first — began in August 2018. Organizers set out with goals of providing an excellent museum experience to the community and visitors, providing stewardship and management of the museum’s collection in accordance with established professional museum practices, increasing and maintaining financial strength and sustainability, and having a high-performing museum committee and volunteer staff. The grand opening took place on June 12, 2021. Since its opening, the History Center has hosted more than a dozen events for the public, including teaching grade-school students and giving history presentations to civic groups. In early 2022, the History Center launched the “Memories Project” — which collects interviews from older citizens of the county to gather and save their stories for future generations to enjoy.
Click here to see the full list of Indiana Historical Society Award winners from previous years.
Where can I get a nomination form?
See the Online Nomination Form or download the 2023 IHS Awards Nomination Packet. Contact Tamara Hemmerlein, Local History Services director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 234-0170 with any questions.
Which award category should I choose?
Choose the category that you feel best describes the work of the person or organization being nominated. You can learn more about each of the awards by clicking on “Award Categories.” The Awards Committee reserves the right to move nominees into different categories, award multiple nominees within a category or decline granting an award within a category as appropriate.
Should I nominate the organization or one person from the organization?
The three organization awards – the Outstanding Historical Organization Award, the Indiana History Outstanding Event or Project Award, and the Outstanding Collaborative Project Award – are given to an organization rather than an individual. A nomination for these awards should still include the name and contact information for someone at the organization who can be the main contact in the event that the organization is selected as an honoree. If the achievements of an individual from an organization meet the qualifications for any of the other award categories, that individual may be nominated separately.
What material is required along with the nomination form?
All nominations must include the nomination form and a minimum of two letters of support. Additional material which helps to document the individual’s or organization’s work may include additional letters of support, newspaper articles, brochures, photographs, book title pages, resumes, mission statements, and project summaries. Please ensure that all supporting documents are copied on 8 ½ ”x 11” paper.
What should I say in my letter?
Letters of support should clearly state the nominator’s relationship to the nominee and knowledge of his/her/its achievements. Letters may also address the quality of work undertaken by the nominee and/or describe the nominee’s impact on the community.
Who makes up the award selection committee?
The Awards committee is composed of a diverse panel of Indiana Historical Society staff, trustees and community members as appointed by the IHS Executive Committee.
To whom do I address the letter of support?
Letters of support should be addressed to the Annual Awards Committee, and mailed to Indiana Historical Society, Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202.
Can I nominate myself?
There are no rules to discourage self-nomination. However, the nomination should include at least two letters of support from people who know you or your organization.
When will I be notified of my nomination’s status?
All nominators will be notified in writing about the outcome of the Awards selection in September. Award winners will also be contacted in September.
I missed the deadline. Can I resubmit my nomination next year?
Nominations will be accepted only if they are submitted or postmarked on or before August 1, 2023. If you miss the deadline, you are welcome to resubmit your nomination the following year. With the exception of the Indiana History Outstanding Event or Project Award and the Outstanding Collaborative Project Award, nominations may be resubmitted if the person or group has not received an award in the previous years. Keep a copy of your nomination materials for the resubmission, as the copy received by IHS will not be returned to you.
I have additional questions. Who do I contact?
Please contact Tamara Hemmerlein, Local History Services director, at email@example.com or (317) 234-0170.