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.

Before submitting your nomination, be sure that you have read the 2018 awards manual, spoken with your state or regional representative, explored this site, reviewed the instructions and criteria for your type of nomination, and have looked at our examples of critical testimony letters. You can also read articles on previous year’s winners 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 by phone or email.

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. Before January, you can view last year’s recorded webinar here.
  • Be concise—extraneous documentation does not help a nomination. If you are uncertain on how much documentation to include, we will be happy to help you decide.
  • Show us how your project demonstrates “good history.” Read the Awards Committee Statement on Good History for more information and examples.

Tips for Letters of Critical Review:

  • 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 for All Categories:

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