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History Awards

The Historical Society of Michigan's history awards honor individuals, organizations, and more with recognition for their contributions to Michigan's history. 

Our History Awards

The Historical Society of Michigan’s awards programs ensure that the people and organizations that preserve and promote Michigan’s rich history receive acclaim for their contributions. Our annual State History Awards recognize people, programs, and publications that have furthered the understanding and appreciation of history throughout the state, and our Charles Follo and Superior awards recognize contributions to Upper Peninsula history. In addition, HSM’s executive leadership team bestows the History Hero Award on an individual that has helped further our mission. Explore the categories below to find out how you can help us honor deserving individuals and organizations.

Award Winners at the 2018 Michigan History Conference in Sturgis

State History Awards

Kendall Wingrove presenting an award to Murphy Darden at the 2018 Michigan History Conference

Each year, the Historical Society of Michigan presents State History Awards to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation and understanding of Michigan history. The awards are presented at the annual Michigan History Conference and recognize the excellence of achievement by an individual or organization in the collection, preservation, and/or promotion of state and local history in several categories.

The Upper Peninsula History Awards

The Historical Society of Michigan presents two awards at its Upper Peninsula History Conference. Named in honor of Charles Follo, a schoolteacher from Escanaba who worked to establish historical societies and promote the history of the Upper Peninsula, the Charles Follo Award is presented annually by HSM to the individual who has made the most outstanding contribution to the preservation and promotion of U.P. history. The Superior Award, established by HSM in 2006, recognizes historical societies, museums, and other historical organizations that have preserved and advanced U.P. history.

Kendall Wingrove presenting a UP History Award to Lindsey Hiltunen

History Hero Award

Paul Keep presenting History Hero Award to Janet Mendler

The Historical Society’s executive leadership team presents the annual History Hero award to a person who, while usually not working directly in the history field, has made significant and lasting the Historical Society of Michigan’s mission and who has given a lifetime of dedication to the preservation and promotion of Michigan’s rich and storied history. Past recipients include Ned Brandt, Judge Avern Cohn, Richard Santer, Janet Mendler, James Paquette, William Anderson, Leslie Williams, and Tawny Ryan Nelb. All of these individuals have demonstrated their extraordinary dedication to community service and made important contributions to Michigan history.

Nominate Someone for a History Award

You can make a nomination for one of our history awards. Our awards committee requires a narrative of at least 500 words describing the nominee’s significance and a few supporting materials to help the committee members understand the full scope of their contributions to Michigan history. Letters of recommendation are helpful but not required.

Kendall Wingrove presenting a book award at the 2018 Michigan History Conference

At HSM, we love recognizing the individuals, organizations, and entities that endeavor to preserve, expand, and celebrate Michigan's history across the state.

- Larry J. Wagenaar


Reach out to our awards team at to speak with someone about our award programs.