Awards of Excellence Program

The East Tennessee Historical Society’s Awards of Excellence program annually recognizes individuals and organizations for significant contributions to the preservation, promotion, and interpretation of the region’s history. Eligible projects include exhibits, lectures, conferences, publications, print and broadcast media, teaching, and lifetime achievement. Organizations and individuals across the region are invited to make nominations.

Established in 1982, ETHS Awards of Excellence nominations begin in January of each year. The awards will be presented at a special event honoring the award winners on the first Tuesday in June.

Community History Award (individual or organization) - in recognition of excellence in community leadership, specifically in promoting the preservation of local/regional history and heritage

Award of Distinction (individual or organization) - in recognition of a special project (such as a book or other publication, building preservation, exhibit) or special programming (conference, heritage event, lecture series, other)

History in the Media Award - presented to someone in the field of broadcast, print media, or Internet for outstanding contributions to the promotion of our region’s history.

Teaching Excellence Award - in recognition of outstanding or innovative teaching of history at any level, grades one through adult education.

Lifetime Achievement - is the Society’s most prestigious award and is reserved for one, who, over the course of a lifetime, has made outstanding contributions to the understanding and preservation of East Tennessee history. It is named for ETHS founder and early historian, Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey, author of The Annals of East Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century.

Nomination Guidelines

  1. Complete and return the nomination form by designated date (2023 for will be available the first of March)
  2. On a separate piece of paper, give a brief written description (500 words or less), explaining why the individual or organization should be recognized (attendance, community partner, etc.).
  3. With all nominations please include these additional materials:
         -  Copies of press releases, publicity, brochures, and photos
         -  Other pertinent materials pertaining to the project or person
         -  Two letters of support describing the response or impact of the project or person on
             local or regional history
  4. Projects completed within the past two years are eligible for nomination.
  5. Please provide an email and mailing address, as well as a phone number, for both the recipient and for the person who nominates the project.
  6. If a publication is nominated, please send a copy of that book.
  7. Organizations should feel free to nominate their own projects.

For more information, contact the East Tennessee Historical Society at 865-215-8824.

Previous Awards Programs

  • hosted by the East Tennessee Historical Society
    November 11, 2021 - 1:30pm

    This award periodically honors an East Tennessee history maker who is an ambassador for the region and represents integrity, dignity, leadership, and the volunteer spirit. It's given to an East Tennessean with either a recent accomplishment or a compilation of accomplishments in fields such as history, politics, entertainment, education,...