Guide or Instruction
About the Governor's Archives Awards
The State Seal of Wisconsin
Three Governor's Archives Awards are given each year for archival achievement, archival innovation, and archival advocacy.
The Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board (WHRAB) and the Wisconsin Historical Society invite nominations for the Governor's Archives Awards.
The awards honor outstanding work with historical records in Wisconsin. They recognize individuals, programs or organizations that have made significant contributions to preserving or increasing the availability of original historical documents in any format. There are three award categories: archival achievement, archival innovation, and archival advocacy.
All Governor's Archives Awards are for outstanding work with historical records in Wisconsin.
Historical records are defined as original documents in the following formats: letters, diaries, scrapbooks, journals, photographs, films or videos, sound recordings, maps, microfilm, or original digital documents such as databases, spreadsheets, narrative text, or graphic images.
Work with personal and family papers, business records, organizational documents, state and local government records, or court files qualify for all the awards. Published sources such as newspapers are not considered historical records for the purposes of these awards.
Each category — achievement, innovation and advocacy — has unique criteria. See more below.
Eligibility for Governor's Award for Archival Achievement
This award recognizes a historical records repository that has made an outstanding contribution to the archival profession, or a notable achievement of value to the archives community, its patrons or constituents. It is open to Wisconsin archival repositories and individuals only. The activity or contribution being nominated must be for work that is continuing.
Governor's Award for Archival Achievement Criteria
- Establishing sound and active archival programs, where none has previously existed
- Substantially increasing public access and usefulness of an existing archival collection
- Contributing to a graduate degree program for archives students or to continuing education programs for professional archivists and other archives staff
- Preserving a threatened archival collection
- Making any other major contribution to the preservation, use or appreciation of Wisconsin's archival heritage worthy of recognition
Eligibility for Governor's Award for Archival Innovation
This award recognizes individuals, programs or organizations that successfully experiment with new ways to demonstrate the significance or relevance of historical records for understanding the past, or that use historical records to reach new audiences. This award is open to Wisconsin archival repositories and individuals only. The activity or contribution being nominated must have occurred within the last 3 years, and may be continuing.
Governor's Award for Archival Innovation Criteria
- Experimenting with new approaches to raising awareness and appreciation of historical records as keys to Wisconsin's cultural heritage
- Using new technologies for disseminating information about historical records
- Conducting public programs or classroom teaching that employs historical records in new ways
- Using historical records to reach new audiences
Eligibility for Governor's Award for Archival Advocacy
This award honors an individual or organization in Wisconsin or elsewhere for notable contributions to archival programs through organizational leadership, public advocacy, and financial or volunteer support. The nominated individual or organization must be advocating for Wisconsin programs. The activity or contribution being nominated must be for work that is continuing.
Governor's Award for Archival Advocacy Criteria
- Establishing an educational or public history program designed to encourage the use of archival collections
- Creating writings, research or publications that contribute to a better understanding of archival collections in Wisconsin
- Teaching, public speaking or public programming that increases use or appreciation of archival collections
- Providing state, local or national leadership on archival issues
- Providing legislative support for Wisconsin archives or historical records
- Financially supporting work with historical records
- Making significant contributions of volunteer time to an archival repository or organizing volunteers for work with historical records
- Be sure to state clearly the archival nature of the nomination. A published or other secondary source does not qualify for the award unless the overall activity encourages the use of primary source material. Work with newspapers is not considered archival for the purposes of this award.
- Supporting material must be submitted with the nomination. Such material should establish the merits of the work being nominated. All submitted materials become the property of the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board (WHRAB) and will not be returned.
- If the nomination is for the production of an original work, five copies of such material should be submitted. Examples include, but are not limited to: books, films, videos, written lectures, photographs, collection finding aids, databases, and compact discs. If sending five copies of a work is impractical, please provide a photocopied representative sample from the work.
- If the nomination is for a new or significantly expanded archival program, three (3) letters of support may be submitted (at the discretion of the nominator). These letters must be from individuals not affiliated with the program, but who have substantial knowledge of the activities being nominated. Each letter should be no longer than three (3) typewritten pages.
- An individual or organization may only win once for any given project. Non-winning nominations are allowed to be re-submitted for awards in subsequent years.
Each year the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board sets up a panel of independent judges, consisting of three Board members and two non-Board members, to select the winner(s) of the Governor's Archives Awards in each category.
The Wisconsin Historical Society Board of Curators' Awards Committee then confirms these winners at its annual meeting. The Wisconsin Historical Society Board of Curators' consists of 10 members appointed by the governor. It assists Wisconsin institutions in applying for federal grants for archival work and in improving the appreciation and care of historical records in Wisconsin.
The date and presentation of each award will be made at a time and location agreed upon with the recipient.
Nominations must be delivered to the address below by April 1 of each year.
How to Apply
- A completed copy of the nomination cover sheet (PDF, 25 KB) must be included with the nomination.
- Nominations must include a typewritten, double-spaced narrative of historical records work or contributions for which a nomination is being made. The narrative may not exceed five double-spaced pages.
- Nominations must include a simple timeline of the nominated work.
Send cover sheet, narrative and supporting materials to:
Wisconsin Historical Society
Governor's Archives Awards
Attention: Simone Munson
816 State Street, Room 436
Madison, WI 53706
Recent Award Winners
Read about the recent Governor's Archives Awards winners.
For more information about this award or to obtain a printed nomination form by mail, contact Simone Munson at 608-264-6470 or write to the address above.