Tips for Preparing an Award Nomination

Worried your application isn’t competitive? Not sure how to get recognition at the national level? We’ve assembled these tips and sample nominations to help you get started and create a great application.

We hope that the following tips for preparing an AASLH Leadership in History Awards nomination will give your project  an even better chance for being recognized on a national level. The suggestions you will find below are in addition to those printed in the Awards Nomination Forms.

Before submitting your nomination, make certain that you thoroughly review the printed criteria and instructions in the Awards Nomination Instructions,  as well as review the information on this page including examples of critical testimony.

Each year, we write up profiles on almost every winner. Browse past winner profiles by year and state here.

We realize that you may still have questions, however, so please feel free to contact your state team captain, regional representative, or the AASLH office at 615-320-3203 or email:


Look up your state and regional representative.

Tips for a Great Nomination:

  • Don’t wait until you have a question to contact your state team captain or another AASLH representative—we encourage you to get in touch with them prior to submitting your notebook or even before starting the nomination process.
  • Attend the free webinar “What are the Leadership in History Awards?” held in January.

Regarding critical testimony

  • If you are uncertain who you might ask to provide critical testimony, contact your local college or university for suggestions or call a local museum or historical society.
  • Remember, the individual must have professional expertise in the area of your nomination and cannot have been associated with your organization or the project.
  • If you cannot find a qualified person locally, contact someone at your state level.
  • Here is a document you can give to reviewers to let them know what AASLH looks for in a letter of critical review.
  • Make certain that the qualifications of individuals providing critical testimony either are clearly stated in the testimony itself or in their CV/resume (which must be included with the letter).
  • Items not considered critical testimony include: press releases, pre-publication reviews and commentary, letters of support from people involved in the project or elected officials, or other self-promotional material.
  • For examples of the types of critical testimony we are requesting for each category, click on the links below.

Civic Engagement


Individual Achievement



Public Programming

Special Projects

Photographs and Images

  • Make certain that your photographs provide a complete overview, showing all aspects of the exhibit or project.