Service Awards for County Historical Commissions and Appointees

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) sponsors two awards that recognize County Historical Commission (CHC) service––the Distinguished Service Award and the Award of Merit. More information about these awards is featured below. While these awards provide statewide recognition, we find that 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.

More About the THC Award Program

Distinguished Service Awards

Four women and a man pose with a documentDistinguished Service Awards (DSA) are given each year to recognize CHCs that demonstrate exceptional service to preserve the heritage of Texas. All CHC efforts are appreciated. DSAs acknowledge above average contributions. CHCs are eligible for DSA consideration by submitting an annual report; however, a CHC is awarded a DSA only if work documented in the annual report fulfills the DSA criteria. The DSA evaluation process is administered by CHC Outreach staff, who make recommendations to THC's excecutive director. All information required to evaluate a CHC is provided when reporting questions are answered in their entirity. Tarrant CHC appointees receiving their DSA at the 2009 Annual Historic Preservation Conference in photo above.

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.  

DSA winners are announced by June of each year, after THC staff have reviewed each report--typically 180 CHCs turn in a report each year. DSA announcements are made over the CHC listserv and THC's social media platforms. CHC Outreach staff prepare a DSA packet, which is mailed to the county judges of each DSA-winning CHC. We recommend that DSAs be presented during county commissioners court and that county officials invite local media to cover the event. This affords all appointees the chance to participate in this public ceremony and be publicly acknowledged for their efforts. These gestures are simple yet meaningful ways that county officials can affirm CHC accomplishments. Photo courtesy of Hays CHC.

DSA listing for the 2014 year of service

DSA listing for the 2013 year of service

DSA listing for the 2012 year of service

DSA listing 2008-2011 (PDF)

DSA Criteria Reference Sheet (PDF)

DSA Criteria Presentation (PDF)

Award of Merit

A copy of the Texas Historical Commission Award of MeritTHC’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.

More About the Award of Merit

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.

Pictured at right are members of the Denton County Commissioners Court and Denton CHC, along with Denton County Office of History and Culture staff.
Photo courtesy of the Denton CHC.


More about THC award programs here