NCPH Outstanding Public History Project Award

$1,000 recognizing a project–digital, print, film, exhibit, etc.–that contributes to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past or that serves as a model of professional public history practice.

2019 Winner

We are the Roots: Black Settlers and their Experiences with Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies, Jenna Bailey, Centre for Oral History and Tradition, University of Lethbridge; Deborah Dobbins, Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots; and David Este, University of Calgary

2019 Honorable Mention

The Orange Story, Jasmine Alinder and Patrick Hall, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Erika Street Hopman, Chavo Bart Digital Media; Jason Matsumoto and Eugene Sun Park, Full Spectrum Features

2020 Submission Guidelines

Acknowledging the value of historical understanding to the general public, and the fact that this understanding results from a variety of public history projects, the National Council on Public History’s Outstanding Public History Project Award recognizes excellence in work completed within the previous two calendar years (2018 and 2019) that contributes to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past or that serves as a model of professional public history practice.  The annual Outstanding Public History Project Award consists of a $1,000 cash prize and a certificate presented at the NCPH Annual Meeting (in Atlanta, GA in 2020). Award winners also receive complimentary registration for the awards breakfast.


Projects–from digital to print, and from exhibits to brochures to films–by individuals, groups, community organizations, businesses, or other organizations or work done in support of such projects may be nominated. Individuals or organizational entities responsible for the project may nominate themselves, be nominated by others familiar with the project, or be nominated by the award selection committee itself. These projects include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Media – webpages, web-based video, audio, blogs, documentaries, and films (DVD, etc.)

Exhibits – in museums, cultural centers, and other public venues

Public Programs – lecture series, walking tours, oral history projects, outreach activity, educational offerings, workshops, etc.

Written Works – research, reports, brochures, working papers, etc. or historical fiction (including books), that contribute to larger public history efforts to broaden public history understanding.

Please note that non-fiction books and journal articles are not eligible for this award.

Award Criteria

Nominations and supporting materials should specifically address four equally weighted criteria:

  1. the creativity and/or innovativeness of the approach
  2. the quality of historical research and interpretation resulting from the use of material culture, oral history, or any other appropriate form of documentary evidence
  3. the social, civic, and/or intellectual impact of the project
  4. the professionalism of the history practitioner(s) involved

Submission Process

  1. Nominations should be submitted in the form of a written narrative not to exceed 1,000 words and clearly address the four criteria. The project’s primary and secondary audience, if applicable, should also be identified in the narrative.
  2. Nominations for projects such as DVDs, videos, CDs, books, etc. should include copies of the production, submitted with the written narrative and other materials.
  3. Nominations should include pertinent supporting documents, such as a copy of the nominee’s resume or curriculum vitae if available. If the nominee is an organization or institution, information on its governance, mission, and size should also be provided. Other materials, including letters of support or formal reviews from newspapers, magazines, or professional journals, are encouraged. Nominations for exhibits, public programs, and most media projects should include examples of feedback from the public; wherever possible and appropriate, nominations for written works also should include such feedback.
  4. Send a completed cover sheet (click to download) and a copy of all materials to each of the Outstanding Public History Award Committee members (listed here) and one to the NCPH executive office at: NCPH, 127 Cavanaugh Hall – IUPUI, 425 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202 or [email protected]. Clearly mark each submission, “NCPH Outstanding Public History Project Award.” If emailed, nominations must be sent in one complete document (MS Word or a PDF).  Please note that materials will not be returned.

Nominations must be received (not postmarked) by December 1, 2019.

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

A challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities makes possible our expanding awards program and other uses of earned income on the NCPH endowment. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Past Project Award Winners


  • “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” Elizabeth Chew and Christian J. Cotz, James Madison’s Montpelier; Chris Danemayer, Proun Design LLC; and Molly O’Brien, Northern Light Productions
    • Honorable Mention – “Confinement in the Land of Enchantment: Japanese Americans in New Mexico during World War II,” Sarah R. Payne, Colorado State University Public Lands History Center; Andrew Russell, Central New Mexico Community College; and Victor Yamada, New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League


  • “Mann-Simons Site Interpretive Enhancements,” John Sherrer, Historic Columbia.
    • Honorable Mention- “Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” Annie Anderson and Sean Kelley, Eastern State Penitentiary History Site.


  • “The Philadelphia Public History Truck,” Erin Bernard and Temple University Center for Public History.


  • “Histories of the National Mall,” Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University
    • Honorable Mention- “Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation,” Rob DeHart, Paulette Fox, and Mark Hooper, Tennessee State Museum


  • Report to the Public: An Untold Story of the Conservative Vice Lords– Lisa Junkin Lopez, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and Benneth Lee, National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated
    • Honorable Mention- #QR1863: A Twitter Reenactment of Quantrill’s Raid– Julie McPike, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area; Christine Metz Howard, Lawrence CVB; Abby Magariel, Watkins Museum of History; Kristen Soper, Lawrence Public Library


  • Museo Urbano at 500 S. Oregon-Yolanda Chávez Leyva and David Romo, Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso
    • Honorable Mention- Virtual Watervliet– Starlyn D’Angelo, Shaker Heritage Society and Jose Kozan, Virtual Grounds, LLC


  • Texas Women’s History Moments-Nancy Baker Jones, Cynthia J. Beeman, Melissa Hield, and Teresa Paloma Acosta, The Ruthe Winegarten Memorial Foundation
    • Honorable Mention- Out in Chicago – Chicago History Museum


  • My Place is in the Voting Booth-Elizabeth R. Osborn and Elizabeth Kidwell, Indiana Supreme Court
    • Honorable Mentions-  Polk Street: Lives in Transition-Joey Plaster, Independent Consultant, and Cleveland Historical App-Mark Tebeau, Cleveland State University


  • Bracero Archive – Matthew Garcia, Brown University; James Halabuk, George Mason University; Sharon Leon, George Mason University; Peter Liebhold, National Museum of American History; and Kristine Navarro, Institute of Oral History
  • Nevada Test Site Oral History Project – Robert Futrell, Andrew Kirk, and Mary Palevsky, University of Nevada Las Vegas
    • Honorable Mention- Allegany County, Maryland African American History Project – Western Maryland Regional Library;
    • Honorable Mention- 1779 Committee of Safety Meetings – Norwalk Historical Society
    • Honorable Mention- National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
    • Honorable Mention- De la Pluma a la Imprenta: La Cultura Impresa en Puerto Rico, 1806-1906 – Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
    • Honorable Mention- Utah Indian Curriculum Guide – American West Center
    • Honorable Mention- District of Columbia Neighborhood Heritage Trails – Cultural Tourism DC and District Department of Transportation