Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and projects for outstanding heritage efforts. The nomination process is an opportunity to honor work that goes above and beyond expectations, serves as a model for future work, and inspires others. Special consideration is given to the development of new ideas, approaches, and innovations.
The Sally Donovan Award for Historic Cemetery Preservation is a special category that recognizes outstanding contributions in the preservation of Oregon Historic Cemeteries.
In 2022, a new non-competitive category was added for Standout Heritage Volunteers. Heritage organization have the opportunity to recognize volunteers at the statewide level who have greatly contributed to their organization.
Deadline: Nominations are closed for 2024. The 2026 Heritage Excellence Awards will be open for nominations in fall of 2025.
Timeline: The excellence awards have transitioned to a once a biennium celebration in coordination with our in person conference during even years. The nomination period opens in early November and closes in mid-January. The contact identified in the application will be notified of the review committee’s decision in February. Award winners are publicly recognized at Oregon Heritage’s Conference gathering in April of even years.
Recognition: Awards will be presented at the 2024 Oregon Heritage Conference. The awards event is included in full registration or you can register for the awards only on the conference webpage.
2022 Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards:
Awards presentation was held on April 28 during the 2022 Virtual Oregon Heritage Conference.
- Jefferson Public Radio’s Jefferson Exchange Underground History Program, Ashland. A monthly radio segment that spotlights little-known aspects of Oregon’s history through the lens of archeology. View Video.
- Capitol History Gateway Project, Salem. A multi-year project that resulted in exhibits, events, tours, and a digital welcome center at the Oregon State Capitol building. View Video.
- It Did Happen Here Podcast, Portland. The It Did Happen Here Podcast honors the memory of Mulugeta Seraw and records the movement that disrupted White Nationalist organizing in Oregon in the late 1980s and 1990s. View Video.
This year there is a new award category for standout heritage volunteers and recognizing their critical contributions to heritage preservation efforts in Oregon. View Video.
The 2022 Standout Heritage Volunteers are:
- Robert Zimmerling, Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
- MaryPat "Patti" Ball, Jefferson Historical Society and Museum
- Kristine Deacon, Oregon State Archives
- Willie B. Richardson, Oregon Black Pioneers
- Robert Butler, Malheur Country Historical Society
- Larry Landis, Benton County Historic Resources Commission
- Cory Mesloh Hamann, Big Butte Historical Society
- Barbara Trout, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and Kilchis Point Reserve
- Bruce Carey, Friends of Kam Wah Chung & Co Museum, Oregon State Parks
- Carol Knapp, SOULA: Eagle Brewery Project
- Oregon Post Commander David Solomon, American Legion Post 19, Albany
- Doug Reynolds, USFS Malheur National Forest Passport in Time program
- Eric Williams, Astoria Public Library
- Gayle Lewis, Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project (OCDP)
- Oregon State Capitol Volunteer Team, Oregon State Capitol and Capitol History Gateway
- Steve Hussey, Archaeological Society of Central Oregon
- William "Bill" Sparks III, Grand Lodge of Oregon Cemetery Committee
- Carla Wright, Prairie City Historic Cemetery District
2021 Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards:
Award presentation recording
- Bobbie Dolp, Salem, for her dedicated work in establishing the Lord & Schryver Conservancy and preserving the legacy of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver who established the first women-owned landscape architecture firm in the Northwest. Enjoy a video!
- Caples House Museum Restoration Project, Columbia City, for extraordinary fundraising efforts resulting in the restoration of the National Register listed Caples House Museum preserving not only the structure, but also the museum collection inside of it. Enjoy a video!
- University of Oregon's Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project, Eugene, for documenting and preserving the contributions of the Eugene lesbian community to Oregon’s enduring cultural, political, and social innovations. Enjoy a video!
- Johnny Edwards, Yamhill County, for his holistic and passionate approach to the preservation of the historic Lafayette and McMinnville Masonic Cemeteries. This is the Sally Donovan Historic Cemetery Preservation Award. Enjoy a video!
- Steven Greif, Coos Bay, for his dedicated volunteer service that has contributed to the growth and community impact of the Coos History Museum. Enjoy a video!
- The Darcelle Project, Portland, a multi-dimensional project that preserves and honors the story of Walter Cole, also known as Darcelle, and his achievements as an entrepreneur, performer, Portland icon, and activist for the LGBTQ community. The work included National Register nominations. Enjoy a video!
- University of Oregon's Institute for Policy Research and Engagement, Eugene, for their contributions in supporting community heritage preservation efforts through research, the RARE Americorps program, and disaster resilience planning. Enjoy a video!
Previous Awardees (2007-2020)