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Nominate Indiana History Movers and Shakers

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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. We are accepting nominations for the following awards:

2022 Awards Nomination Packet
Award Categories

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.

Nomination Instructions

Download the award nomination and instructions packet. Nominations must be sent via email by July 18 or postmarked by July 8, 2022

If you are unable to download the nomination packet, please call (317) 232-1888.

2021 Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2021 award winners!

Jacob P. Dunn Jr. Award

Rebecca Bibbs, Anderson
Rebecca Bibbs is a reporter at the Anderson Herald Bulletin. She covers education, social justice and the towns of Madison County. Rebecca’s article, “Just a Matter of Time: Belford “Sinky” Hendricks,” appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Traces. In her article, Rebecca explores the remarkable music career of her great-uncle, an Evansville native who left an indelible mark on several genres of mid-twentieth-century music, from country to rock to disco, contributing to the soundtrack of the lives of Americans from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year

Troy Hammon, Fishers
Originally from Bristol, Indiana, Troy has been an educator for the last 25 years, the last 23 of which have been as a social studies teacher at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). He is active in education boards, including the Geography Educators Network of Indiana, and he is currently the president of the Indiana Council for Social Studies. Troy is a strong supporter of National History Day and has been since 2015. At Shortridge High School, he spearheaded the participation with the entire IPS system. This expansion allowed for a creation of an IPS regional contest.

Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award

Jill Weiss-Simins, Indianapolis
Jill Weiss-Simins is a historian at the Indiana Historical Bureau, a division of the Indiana State Library, where she has worked since 2008. She has greatly enhanced the study and public understanding of Indiana history through her contributions, including the State Historical Marker Program, The Talking Hoosier History podcast and the Indiana History Blog.

Hubert Hawkins History Award

Dr. James MacLeod, Evansville
Dr. James MacLeod is a professor of history at the University of Evansville, where he has been since 1999. James is an active local historian and serves on the boards of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society, the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society and the Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science.

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.

Lawrence County (Illinois) Historical Society, “An Eagle on His Button,” Lawrenceville, IL
One outstanding project is the video production of “An Eagle on His Button: The Story of the African American Civil War Soldiers from Lawrence County.” The film presents history in a way that engages with local stories as well as tying in these histories to the broader story of the Civil War and the struggle to end slavery in the United States. In addition, a descendent of one of the soldiers was part of the team that helped to create the video. At one point, Lawrence County was part of Knox County, Indiana, prior to becoming part of Illinois, and the production heavily features the 28th USCT (United States Colored Troops), which was based in Indianapolis.

Marshall County Historical Society, “The Extraordinary Photography of J.R. Koontz,” Plymouth
The organization put together an exceptional exhibit highlighting Marshall County’s J.R. Koontz (1874-1947), who was a self-taught amateur photographer who lived his entire life on a farm near Bremen. His natural talents as a photographer illustrated his growing technical skills and his keen interest in broader cultural ideas.

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.

Bartholomew County Historical Society and Bartholomew County Public Library, “It Began With Bartholomew,” Columbus
2021 marks the bicentennial of Bartholomew County and the centennial of the Bartholomew County Historical Society. Leading up to this celebration, the communities of Bartholomew County began looking for ways to celebrate their history. The result was the project “It Began with Bartholomew,” a five-part documentary series that showcases the rich history of the county with highlights of its different regions.

Leadership Johnson County at Franklin College, “Booker T. Washington Community Center Rededication Project,” Franklin
Leadership Johnson County at Franklin College is a nine-month community leadership training program that focuses on community awareness and leadership development. Participants of the program are tasked with completing a community service project. For this particular award, the Leadership Johnson County project group, the DREAM Team (Diversity in Recreation for Education, Alliance and Motivation) Class of 2021’s project was to highlight a local history that was not previously well-known. The DREAM Team’s project highlighted the history of the Booker T. Washington School in the city of Franklin and to uncover more in-depth stories of the former students and educators. They coordinated the renaming of the center and a rededication of the newly-named Booker T. Washington Community Center.

Click here to see the full list of Founders Day Award winners from previous years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get a nomination form?
Download the award nomination and instructions packet. Call (317) 232-1888 to request one via mail or email to request one via email.

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?
Letters should be addressed to the Awards Committee and mailed to 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 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 late August. Award winners will also be contacted in late August.

I missed the deadline. Can I resubmit my nomination next year?
Nominations will be accepted only if they are postmarked on or before July 9, 2021. 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 send an email to Lily Groot at or call (317) 232-1888.


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