Over 200 attendees at the first annual History in Pennsylvania "HIP" Awards last week created an atmosphere bursting with fraternity, pride, and excitement. Fraternity, surrounded by friends and colleagues from small history and heritage organizations throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania sharing the same passions and confronting the same challenges. Pride, for the achievements of the eight awardees honored at the luncheon and for the collective accomplishments of the history community as a whole. And excitement, for the better future possible through greater communication, collaboration, and a support network anchored in the History Affiliates program. The mood at the Union League of Philadelphia on October 19, 2012 was exuberant.
The awards program kicked off with an opening by Kim Sajet, President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She introduced First Lady of Pennsylvania Susan Corbett, who gave an entertaining and rousing speech. Sharing personal stories about visiting and working at Pennsylvania history museums and heritage sites, Corbett emphasized that history is more than facts, figures, and dates: it should be revered and experienced. Corbett was followed by Phil Katz of History Making Productions. He debuted a short film about the importance of Southeastern Pennsylvania's historic sites, calling for greater collaboration among the hundreds of local history organizations and looking towards the leadership of the History Affiliates program.
After a short lunch break, History Affiliates Director Pru Haines and History Affiliates Advisory Board Member Doug Miller (Site Administrator of Pennsbury Manor) began giving out awards.
- Educational and Public Programs Award winner (mid-sized): Wharton Esherick Museum, for "Poplar Culture: the Celebration of a Tree"
- Educational and Public Programs Award Winner (all-volunteer): Concord Township Historical Society, for "Legacies & Lessons: Western Delaware County Presents the Civil War at 150"
- Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts Award for Excellence in Stewardship and Collections Care winner (mid-sized): Friends of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden for "Sakura Pavilion at the Centennial Buildings Historic Preservation"
- The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation Award for Excellence in a Community Partnership Project winner (mid-sized): Bartram's Garden for "Community Farm and Food Resource Center"
- Volunteer of the Year Award winner: Louis M. Iatarola from Historical Society of Tacony
- Volunteer of the Year Award winner: Nancy Roan from The Goschenhoppen Historians Inc.
- Leadership by a Corporation in Support of Southeastern Pennsylvania's History and Heritage Community Award winner: Bank of America
- Leadership by a For-Profit Organization for Effective Heritage Tourism and Marketing Award winner: History Making Productions
The staff of the Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories was invigorated by the success of the HIP Awards program! The Philadelphia Inquirer's article about the event was great advocacy for small history organizations. We were happy to congratulate in-person the current HCI-PSAR participants honored last Friday (Bartram's Garden, the Historical Society of Tacony, and the Goschenhoppen Historians). And in the next two years of the HCI-PSAR project, we look forward to connecting with more all-volunteer, small, and mid-sized history organizations in the five-county region. We are optimistic that doing our small part, surveying archival collections and providing guidance on archival management, will synch up with the History Affiliates' work to build a supportive community of small local history organizations.