Service Awards for CHCs and CHC Appointees

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) 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. 

Distinguished Service Awards

THC gives DSAs each year to recognize CHCs that demonstrate exceptional service to preserve the heritage of Texas based on information provided in CHC annual reports. While all CHC efforts are appreciated, DSAs acknowledge CHC contributions that are above average when compared statewide. Reporting questions, when answered in their entirety, provide information that is necessary to determine if CHC performance fulfills award criteria. The evaluation process is administered by CHC Outreach Program staff, who make award recommendations to the THC's Executive Director.

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 a list that 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 190 CHCs submit an annual report. CHC Outreach Program staff review reports and announce DSA winners. Announcements are made over the CHC listserv and the THC's social media platforms. CHC Outreach Program 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. This is a simple, yet meaningful, way to affirm CHC accomplishments. 

DSA Listing 2002-2022

DSA Overview

DSA Criteria Flyer

DSA winners for the 2022 year of service here.

DSA winners for the 2021 year of service here.

DSA winners for the 2020 year of service here.

DSA winners for the 2019 year of service here

DSA winners for the 2018 year of service here.

DSA winners for the 2017 year of service here.

DSA winners for the 2016 year of service here.

Award of Merit

The 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 provided by individuals and organizations that have made regional or statewide contributions. Award 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 six 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:

  • Outstanding leadership and implementation of a pivotal preservation project
  • Responsible for substantial revitalization of a CHC or other history-related organization
  • Contributions that led to broader interpretation of diverse resources in the region
  • Engaging underrepresented communities in history-related activities

Reasons to nominate an organization for an Award of Merit:

  • Track record (5 or more years) of quality projects that promote history/preservation
  • Outstanding leadership and implementation of a pivotal preservation project
  • Recognize a partner organization that made significant contributions to historic preservation efforts
  • Diverse organization that made a significant contribution to historic preservation effort.

Local Awards and Commendations

The THC is not the only entity that provides awards to individuals and organizations for preservation achievements. While the THC recognizes regional and statewide contributions, we recommend that CHCs consider acknowledging local preservation contributions. A CHC can coordinate its 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. 

More about THC award programs here