John Wesley Powell Prize
Historic Preservation and Historical Display Projects

The Historic Preservation and Historical Display Prize annually honors distinction by an individual or principal collaborators for a single historical display/interpretation project, or historic preservation project completed in the last two years. The award is given for any form of interpretive historical presentation including, but not limited to, museum exhibits, interpretive media products, or programs; or to any project involving the preservation of records, artifacts, buildings, historical sites, and other historical entities. The prize rotates annually between projects of historical display/interpretation (awarded in odd years) and those of historic preservation (awarded in even years).

The Powell Prize commemorates the explorer and federal administrator whose work demonstrated early recognition of the importance of historic preservation and historical display.

Evaluation Criteria

Nominations and supporting materials should specifically address the following criteria:

1. Exemplary practices that serve as models for future federal activity.

2. Significant value in furthering history in and of the federal government.

3. The quality of historical research and interpretation resulting from the use of archival material, material culture, oral history, or any other appropriate form of documentary evidence.

4. (When applicable) A high level of technical expertise in the field of historic preservation including rehabilitation, restoration, reconstruction, and preservation projects that are in line with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.

Submission Process

The award is made solely on the basis of the materials submitted to the Powell Prize Committee.

1.  Nominations should be submitted through Google Forms. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you have issues submitting through Google Forms from a government email address, please try using a personal account. If you continue to have issues, contact Mattea Sanders at to obtain physical mail address. 

2. Nominations should be submitted in the form of a written narrative not to exceed 1,000 words and a separate explanation of how the project that succinctly addresses the evaluation criteria of less than 500 words.

3. Supporting visual materials of key aspects of the activity or project, appropriately labeled. These materials may include: photographs (digital or hard copies), plans, elevations, brochures, or newsclips (all submitted material becomes the property of SHFG). Supplemental materials should be emailed to with the title of the project in the subject line. 

If you have questions, please contact one of the panel members:

Alexandra Wenzl

Historian, Region 6 Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service

Virginia Parks

Cultural Resources Team, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Caridad de la Vega, Historian

National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service


Society for History in the Federal Government
PO BOX 14139
Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044

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