2016 Minnesota History Awards Announced

Three historians and two history groups will be honored for outstanding work in the local history field at the Minnesota Alliance for Local History Museums (MALHM) Conference on April 27.

While MALHM has honored organizations for many years, this is the first time it will bestow the Lifetime Achievement Award. The three members of the inaugural class have given a combined 132 years to their respective organizations and are well-known names in the local history community.

“The Alliance is proud to honor this year’s recipients,” stated MALHM Board member and History Awards Coordinator Dustin Heckman.  “Each recipient has proven exemplary in their dedication and service to their local communities in collecting, preserving, and sharing its history.”

Award recipients for the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards are:

Marlys Hirst (Baudette)

Marlys Hirst has served the Lake of the Woods County Historical Society as Executive Director since 1984.  During that time she has published three books on local history, one cookbook, and overseen three additions at the museum.  Marlys has been a leader not only within Lake of the Woods County but also regionally by her involvement with Minnesota’s Historic Northwest, a collaboration of history organizations in the northwest corner of Minnesota.

Art Warner (Little Falls)

Art Warner served the Morrison County Historical Society for 50 years.  For all but three years of that time, he served in the capacity of President.  Art played a pivotal role in professionalizing the organization and moving the museum to its current location.  His contributions to the local history community have been nothing short of extraordinary.  Art passed away on August 16, 2015.

Jan Warner (Little Falls)

Jan Warner served the Morrison County Historical Society for 50 years, most of which as a volunteer Executive Director.  She was instrumental in the construction of the museum’s current facility and helped lead the effort to form a Heritage Preservation Commission in Little Falls.  During the course of her service, Jan served on the board or assisted in the founding of eight regional and statewide organizations, including the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums.  She officially retired as Executive Director on August 27, 2015.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, MALHM will honor three local history projects with a Minnesota History Award at the Annual Meeting on April 27.  The meeting will be held at the Conference Center in Willmar.  This is the seventh award year.  Award recipients’ completed projects took place from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.  Nominations were taken by MALHM for six project categories:  behind-the-scenes, collections, partnerships, preservation, public programs, and publications.

“The Alliance is proud to honor this year’s recipients,” Heckman said.  “Each project symbolizes the great work being done by local history organizations across the state.  The communities that are served by these organizations should be proud of the work being accomplished at a local level to preserve history.”

Award recipients for the 2016 Minnesota History Awards are:

Northfield Historical Society (Northfield) for behind-the-scenes efforts to preserve the legacy of Malt-O-Meal in Northfield

Northfield Historical Society (Northfield) for its exhibit series, 40 for 40.

Waseca County Historical Society (Waseca) for its exhibit, Where the Big Woods meet the Prairie:  A Timeline of Unique Stories in Waseca County.

About the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums

The Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums, organized in 1991, is a statewide organization that seeks to nurture and encourage an appreciation of Minnesota’s local history by providing a structure to foster professionalism and excellent work among local and specialized historical organizations in Minnesota.  The organization is overseen by a 9 member volunteer board of museum professionals from across Minnesota.  In 2015, the organization hired its first staff member to serve as Coordinator for the Alliance.  More information on the organization can be found on their website at http://www.minnesotahistorymuseums.org.

For more information about the Conference, see the MALHM Workshops page or find the registration form here.

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