v26-3 Edgewater Historical Society Earns Award

Vol. XXVI No. 3 - FALL 2015

By Tiffany Middleton

“Motoring Through Edgewater” exhibit a National “Leader in History”

CHICAGO, IL – The Edgewater Historical Society was recently named a national “Leader in History” by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for the recent “Motoring Through Edgewater” exhibit, which opened in July 2014 and was extended until May of this year. Our neighborhood historical society was one of 60 award recipients nationwide honored by the Association, which seeks to recognize achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

“The Leadership in History Awards is AASLH’s highest distinction and the winners represent the best in the field,” said Trina Nelson Thomas, AASLH Awards Chair and Director, Stark Art & History Venue, Stark Foundation. “This year, we are pleased to distinguish each recipient’s commitment and innovation to the interpretation of history, as well as their leadership for the future of state and local history.”

The award-winning exhibit, “Motoring Through Edgewater,” chronicled the role that the automobile played in Edgewater during the first half of the 20th century, including putting Edgewater on the map as a “Northside Motor Row.” Using maps, photos, advertisements and artifacts, the exhibit brought to life a piece of Edgewater history still visible today, but often overlooked. “The history really pushed us to develop the exhibit in creative ways, using a variety of sources to help illustrate what was happening in Edgewater during this time, and how it all fit into part of a larger national story,” explained curator Tiffany Middleton. “Motoring” highlighted everything from automobile showrooms with terra cotta details still in the community today, auto shows with beauty contests, and auto races, to the evolution of the Illinois license plate. The exhibit also included several programs on topics such as trucks and road maps, as well as a live performance.

“The exhibit really engaged the public,” said Middleton. “We saw this exhibit as an opportunity to really showcase this, along with our own growth. We considered it a remarkable achievement for an organization run by volunteers, and we couldn’t be more proud to accept this award.”

The Leadership in History Awards Program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout America. Nominations are first reviewed at the state level by AASLH representatives, then reviewed at the national level by AASLH leaders in Nashville. Presentation of the awards will be made at a banquet during the 2015 AASLH Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, September 18. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

A full listing of the 60 award recipients can be found at: about.aaslh.org/awards

A portion of “Motoring Through Edgewater” is still on view through the summer at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum. Admission is free.