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Oklahoma Historical Society Awards and Honors

The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) encourages organizations and individuals to nominate others or self-apply. You do not have to be a member of the OHS to nominate nor to receive an award. Current members of the OHS Board of Directors and current employees of the OHS, its museums, sites, and affiliates are not eligible. Awards are not necessarily given every year.

Submissions and Evaluations
The 2021 nomination period closed November 30, 2021. Nominations received within the nomination period are provided to the selection committees. Nominations are evaluated on merit, not endorsement.

Awards and Honors Available for Nomination

Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame
Instituted in 1993, the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame is the highest honor awarded by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This honor recognizes distinguished and long-term contributions to Oklahoma history through demonstrated excellence. It is bestowed on individuals based on their contributions to the preservation, collection, interpretation, and dissemination of Oklahoma history. Past inductees include John Hope Franklin, Angie Debo, Currie Ballard, and Henrietta Mann. Inductees receive the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame medal, and their biography is published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma. Nominations for the Hall of Fame may be submitted throughout the year, and inductees are selected in the fall/winter.
View a list of Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame members.
Download nomination form (PDF)

Bruce T. Fisher Award
Outstanding Oklahoma History Project
The Bruce T. Fisher Award recognizes the significant contribution of an individual or organization for projects including but not limited to digital, short-form publications, collections care, film, programs, and exhibits. The project must contribute to broader public knowledge or expand appreciation in any field of Oklahoma history. The work must have been completed in the previous year (October 1 to September 30) with a project budget of $20,000 or below. The awardee receives a commemorative plaque. Nominations for this award will reopen in fall of 2022.

Linda Williams Reese Award
Outstanding Dissertation or Thesis on Oklahoma History
The Linda Williams Reese Award recognizes outstanding dissertations or theses on Oklahoma history completed during the previous year. The awardee receives $500 and a plaque of recognition. Nominations for this award will reopen in fall of 2022.

Joseph B. Thoburn Award
Outstanding Student Historian
To encourage the study of Oklahoma history among young people, the OHS offers the Joseph B. Thoburn Award each year to the junior or senior high school student who exhibits outstanding achievements in the presentation or interpretation of state and local history. This may include but is not limited to involvement in local historical projects, and achievements in essay contests, scholastic tests, and Oklahoma National History Day competitions. The awardee receives $500 and a plaque of recognition. Nominations for this award will reopen in fall of 2022.

William D. Pennington Award
Outstanding Social Studies Teacher
The William D. Pennington Award is presented to an outstanding social studies teacher. We welcome nominations of persons who demonstrate effective teaching by any measure of excellence. This may include but is not limited to the use or development of innovative social studies curriculum or technology, a lasting impact on students, and remarkable support for Oklahoma National History Day projects. Nominees will be asked to supply a sample lesson plan with current Oklahoma state standards and expectations. The awardee receives $500 and a plaque of recognition. Nominations for this award will reopen in fall of 2022.

Additional Awards

Guardian of History Award
The Guardian of History Award recognizes elected officials who provide outstanding support of our mission to collect, preserve, and share Oklahoma’s unique and fascinating history. Recipients of the award recognize the critical role the OHS plays as a state agency and are vocal proponents of its continued success. Recipients receive a plaque of recognition.

Muriel H. Wright Award
Outstanding Article Published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma

First awarded in 1974, the Muriel H. Wright Award honors the author of the outstanding article published in the preceding volume of the OHS’s scholarly journal, The Chronicles of Oklahoma. All articles published in The Chronicles are considered for the award, and the recipient receives $500 and a plaque of recognition.