The Texas Historical Commission recognizes County Historical Commission (CHC) service with the Distinguished Service Award (DSA). While DSAs provide statewide recognition, local level acknowledgement from cities and counties proves to be just as meaningful. Consider a local award program to affirm quality preservation work in your county. Photo courtesy of Lavaca CHC.
Distinguished Service Awards
THC gives Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) each year to recognize CHCs that demonstrate exceptional service to preserve the heritage of Texas. While all CHC efforts are appreciated, DSAs acknowledge CHC contributions that are above average when compared statewide. Information required to evaluate a CHC with respect to award criteria is provided when reporting questions are answered in their entirity. The evaluation process is administered by CHC Outreach staff, who make award recommendations to THC's excecutive director. Atascosa CHC receives DSA during commissioners court.
DSA criteria are based on the work outlined for CHCs in Chapter 318 of the Texas Local Government Code. The award criteria are published in the CHC Handbook; a copy of that list has been provided below for your reference. We have also provided an electronic presentation that explains the criteria selection. Criteria address not only the breadth and quality of preservation work, but also aspects of CHC work that contribute to organizational stability and programs of work that can be sustained from year to year.
More than 150 CHCs submit a report by February documenting the previous year of service. CHC Outreach staff review reports in the spring and announce DSA winners by June. Announcements are made over the CHC listserv and THC's social media platforms. CHC Outreach staff prepare a DSA packet, which is mailed to county judges of each DSA-winning CHC. We recommend that DSAs be presented during county commissioners court so that appointees are acknowledged publicly for their efforts. These gestures are simple yet meaningful ways that county officials can affirm CHC accomplishments. Hays CHC photo.
DSA Listing 2002-2016 (PDF)
DSA Overview (PDF)
Award of Merit
THC’s Award of Merit recognizes organizations or individuals involved in preserving Texas' cultural and historical resources. This award is a wonderful way to recognize outstanding service within your CHC. It is sponsored, prepared, and issued by the THC but presented by the nominating party or local official. When scheduling events associated with this award, please allow four weeks for the nomination to be received, evaluated, and issued (if approved) by the THC Award Committee.
Reasons to nominate an individual for an Award of Merit:
- Track record of quality service over a long period of time (10 years is our recommended minimum)
- Outstanding service toward a pivotal project
- Responsible for revitalization of a CHC or other history-related organization
- Initiating and maintaining relationships with diverse organizations
- Engaging underrepresented communities in history-related activities
Reasons to nominate an organization for an Award of Merit:
- Track record of quality projects that promote history/preservation
- Continual service over a long period of time for the cause of history/preservation
- Outstanding leadership, service, or support toward a pivotal preservation project
- Leader or partner that made a significant contribution to historic preservation efforts
- Diverse organization that made a significant contribution to historic preservation efforts
Local Awards and Commendations
The THC is not the only entitiy that provides awards to individuals and organizations for preservation achievements. We recommend that CHCs pursue a variety of ways to honor the work accomplished by the CHC or a partner organization. CHCs can also coordinate their own award program to acknowledge decision-makers who support preservation, individuals who rehabilitate historic places, and organizations that work to save local history.
In celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, the Denton CHC presented certificates to the Denton County Judge and Commissioners at the May 6, 2014, county commissioners court meeting in recognition of their commitment and dedication to historic preservation.
Photo courtesy of the Denton CHC.
More about THC award programs here.