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Nominate Indiana History Movers and Shakers

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Annual Awards

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:

2020 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 postmarked no later than Friday, July 3, 2020. 

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


2019 Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2019 award winners!

Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year
April Tuason | Indianapolis

Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award
Amber D. Gowen | Evansville

Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award
Dianne Johnson Cartmel | Brownstown
Alan January | Indianapolis
Curt B. Witcher | Fort Wayne

Hubert Hawkins History Award
Alan Hague | Indianapolis
Helen Parks | Vevay
Thomas Howard Ridley | Indianapolis

Willard C. Heiss Family History/Genealogy Award
Mary Blair Immel | Lafayette
Linda Kelly Talley | Greenwood

Indiana History Outstanding Organization Event or Project Award
Delaware County Historical Society | Muncie

Outstanding Collaborative Project Award
Monroe County History Center and Alzheimer’s Resource Services for IU Health | Bloomington

Outstanding Historical Organization Award
Daviess County Historical Society & Museum | Washington

Click here for all awards given through 2018. 

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 3, 2020. 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 Kay Fetters at or call (317) 232-1888.


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