NCPH Robert Kelley Memorial Award

This $500 award honors distinguished achievements by individuals, institutions, or nonprofit or corporate entities for making history relevant to individual lives of ordinary people outside of academia.

This is a bienneial award. The Kelley Award will next be given in 2024.

2022 Winner

Constance Schulz

The Robert Kelley Memorial Award Committee is pleased to present this year’s award to a nominee with a long career of dedication and achievement to the public history field, Dr. Constance Schulz. A professor of history and independent public history practitioner for nearly fifty years, Dr. Schulz joined the University of South Carolina Applied History faculty in 1985. As director or co-director of that program for twenty-three years, Dr. Schulz has shaped a program that has inspired and educated generations of students to be ethical archival scholars and managers, documentary editors, and field scholars in comparative public history. Her students and colleagues note her generous spirit, deep experience, and track record of building processes and programs that have become models to emulate worldwide.

2024 Submission Guidelines

This award seeks to perpetuate the legacy and memory of a founder of the public history movement, Dr. Robert Kelley. It honors distinguished and outstanding achievements by individuals, institutions, non-profit or corporate entities for having made significant inroads in making history relevant to individual lives of ordinary people outside of academia.

The Kelley Award consists of a $500 cash award and framed certificate that will be presented at the annual meeting of NCPH. The award recipient will receive a complimentary registration for the awards breakfast at the annual meeting (NCPH 2024 will be in Salt Lake City, Utah).


Individuals or organizational entities may be considered for the award.

Award Criteria


Individuals may be nominated based on their achievements and specific contributions to the public history movement, usually over a sustained period of time.

Evidence of scholarly excellence must be combined with two or more of the following:

  1. Sustained service to NCPH in an appointed and/or elected capacity
  2. Demonstrated innovation in teaching and/or development of institutional training programs
  3. Creativity as evidenced through the development of teaching and/or educational outreach materials
  4. A singular achievement (i.e. a motion picture, major exhibit, or a well-recognized book) that significantly contributes to the general public’s understanding and appreciation of history
  5. A distinguished record of creating, administering, or managing an undergraduate or graduate public history program at an institution of learning
Organizational Entities

Institutions, colleges and university departments of history, non-profit, corporate or other organizational entities may be nominated based on the institution’s achievements and specific contributions in advancing the cause of public history, usually over a sustained period of time.

Evidence of program excellence must be combined with two or more of the following in evaluating the contribution of each nominated institution:

  1. Innovative excellence in the training of public historians (either at the undergraduate or graduate level) as evidenced by a quality public history curriculum and/or success in placement and accomplishments of graduates in public history related jobs
  2. Sustained commitment to the development of scholarly or other educational or teaching materials relating to the field of public history
  3. Sponsorship and/or delivery of high quality training courses, conferences, or educational outreach to the public or the public history community
  4. An outstanding record of public outreach programs (i.e. mass media, exhibitory, lecture series) that advance the appreciation of public history
  5. Demonstrated commitment to the value of expanding the public’s knowledge and appreciation of history in the institutional or corporate setting

Submission Process

  1. Nominations should be submitted in the form of a written narrative not to exceed 1,500 words (typed).
  2. Nominations should include pertinent supporting documents, including a copy of the nominee’s resume or curriculum vitae if available, plus a minimum of two and a maximum of five letters of support.
  3. Fill out this form with the nominee’s information.
    The form includes a file upload for the CV or resume and a file upload for supplemental material (the narrative and letters of support); all supplemental materials must be uploaded in one Word document or PDF. The completed form will be sent to each of the Robert Kelley Award Committee members and to the NCPH executive office.

Materials must be received (not postmarked) no later than November 1, 2023. Late submissions will not be considered.

Questions?  (317) 274-2716; [email protected]


Past Kelley Award Winners


  • Elizabeth Clark-Lewis


  • Martin Blatt


  • Lonnie G. Bunch, III


  • Donald A. Ritchie, Senate Historical Office


  • Janelle Warren-Findley, Arizona State University


  • Michael Devine, Director, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum


  • Lindsey Reed, Managing Editor of The Public Historian


  • Richard Allan Baker, United States Senate Historical Office


  • Alan S. Newell, Historical Research Associates, Inc.


  • Dwight T. Pitcaithley, National Park Service


  • The Government and Citizens of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in, First Native Peoples of the Klondike


  • The University of South Carolina Public History Program


  • Debra Bernhardt, Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University


  • Otis L.Graham Jr., University of North Carolina, Wilmington


  • The American Social History Project


  • Page Putnam Miller, Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History