Article Date: May 1st, 2012
Author: Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Chair
Dark clouds and raindrops cleared just long enough for nearly 200 guests and the AKCHO faithful to reach the familiar doorways of the Museum of History & Industry for the 29th annual AKCHO Awards event.
Jim Kelly, Executive Director of 4Culture, kicked off the evening with the presentation of the 5th annual Golden Rain Globe Award, which recognizes the contributions that King County’s most outstanding historic sites and heritage museums make to the local tourism economy. The recipient must demonstrate successful adherence to the five principles of sustainable heritage tourism established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation: finding a balance between community and tourism, making sites and programs come alive, preserving and protecting heritage resources, collaboration, and focus on quality and authenticity. The 2012 Golden Rain Globe was presented to the Seattle Center Foundation.
AKCHO board president John Chaney presented the first-ever Board Legacy Award to Paul Dorpat, one of the co-founders of HistoryLink.org, but probably best known for his “repeat photography,” as featured weekly in The Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine, and in several volumes of Seattle Now and Then.
The Master of Ceremonies for this year’s awards program was King County Councilmember Larry Phillips, who recalled his long ties to the heritage community by noting that his father had been the resident architect for the International Fountain at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and his mother had served as a long-time member of the King County Landmarks Commission and the Washington State Historic Preservation Commission.
The 2012 Charles Payton Award for Heritage Advocacy was presented to the Ballard Historical Society for the “Bring the Ring Back to Ballard” Project, initiated two years ago by 97-year-old Bertha Davis, a longtime Ballard resident who remembered the 1600-pound bell that dated back to Ballard’s 1899 City Hall and helped start the process that gave the bell its voice back. With the installation of an automated mechanism, the bell now rings on a regular schedule throughout the day and its tones can be heard throughout Ballard’s Historic Landmark District. Sadly, Bertha Davis died just two months before the bell was reinstated.
The 2012 Heritage Education Award was presented to the Seattle Center Foundation, HistoryLink.org, and KCTS 9 for the “Imagine: Looking Forward by Looking Back” Curriculum, developed to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Seattle World’s Fair this year.
Patricia Cosgrove, director, of the White River Valley Museum, accepted the 2012 Long Term Project Award which was presented to the Museum to recognize the Mary Olson Farm Restoration Project. Cosgrove noted that it had taken more than 15 years “and three mayors” for the Museum to realize its aim of protecting the farm’s 67 acres of greenbelt and restoring not only the farm’s seven buildings (including an 1897 barn and a 1902 farmhouse) but also a stream that now is home to three runs of salmon every year. Today the Mary Olson Farm is a King County landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic sites.
The 2012 Technology Award was presented to Seattle-based writer and webmaster Joe Follansbee for www.fyddeye.com, a comprehensive maritime heritage website that includes robust local content and a place for maritime heritage advocates to post information about their efforts to save ships, lighthouses, and other historical artifacts related to life on the water. Follansbee is a past president of AKCHO and remains deeply involved in local heritage issues.
The Vashon-Maury Island Historical Society received the 2012 Exhibit Award for “Home of Record: Vashon Island and the Vietnam War.” Using the extraordinary photographic documentation of the war as captured by former Sergeant Chris Gaynor, a Vashon Island resident and Vietnam veteran, as well as the letters Gaynor wrote home during his tour of duty in the late 1960s, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum historian Dr. Bruce Haulman collaborated with Gaynor to create an exhibit that would honor Vashon’s soldiers killed in the war, recognize the impact of the war on Vashon as a community, and give all veterans and their families a chance to remember their service during the Vietnam War.
In receiving the award, Gaynor dedicated it to the memory of his best friend, Sgt. Richard Thomas Jackson, who was killed in action January 6, 1968. “Dick, you kept me alive. This one is for you buddy.” Audience members responded by rising to their feet in appreciation for the lessons in history and courage that Chris and the Vashon-Maury Island Museum had shared with the community.
The 2012 Virginia Marie Folkins Award was presented to the Paula Becker and Alan J. Stein for The Future Remembered: The 1972 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy, a 300-page book described as the definitive history of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Nearly two years of research and writing went into the creation of The Future Remembered, and the resulting book included extensive interviews with surviving fair staffers documenting their unique memories and perspectives. In accepting the award, Paula Becker noted that she felt everyone in the audience “should have a share of this award, since we did research in so many of your collections and AKCHO members shared your own stories with us. The book wouldn’t be what it is without access to AKCHO member archives.” Then Alan Stein pulled a ukulele out of a large paper bag and serenaded the theater with “Meet Me in Seattle at the Fair.”
Bob Kelly was not in town to accept the 2012 Willard Jue Memorial Award for Volunteers, but it was noted that every Tuesday for the past five years, he has driven from his Renton home to the Skykomish Historical Museum, a round trip of over 80 miles, to manage the Society’s website content and to serve as a public contact for those calling and visiting the museum was presented to Robert Kelly of the Skykomish Historical Society. Kelly’s friend Bob Boggs accepted the award on his behalf.
The 2012 Willard Jue Memorial Award was presented to Erica Maniez, Director of the Issaquah History Museums for the past twelve years. Maniez has led the effort to locate, identify, and catalog all the items in the Museum collections that were scattered throughout several buildings. All of the collection has been entered into the PastPerfect database, allowing much of the Museum archives to be accessed online. Also under Maniez’s direction, over 20 long-time residents of Issaquah have been interviewed through the Oral History and Video Project, and thousands of school children have learned about the history of Issaquah through tours, educational programs, history trunks, and an annual family Heritage Day. In addition, Maniez has written, edited, and published two local history books: Preserving the Stories of Issaquah, a collection of written recollections and photos from Issaquah residents and Images of America: Issaquah, Washington. Maniez also serves on Issaquah’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
The final award of the evening was for Single Impact Event Award – and it turned out that two completely different walking tours tied for the honor.
The first 2012 Single Impact Event was awarded to the Northwest African American Museum and the Museum of History & Industry for the “Seattle Civil Rights Movement: A Walking Tour of the Central District.” Inspired by the Freedom Riders exhibit at MOHAI, Julia Swan, MOHAI Programs Coordinator and Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, Northwest African American Museum’s Docent and Youth Curator Program Coordinator developed this walking tour series to explore the rich history of the Central District. Toliver and Swan accepted the award on behalf of their respective institutions, and both women spoke of the value of establishing partnerships to take advantage of other organizations’ staff expertise and experience.
The 2012 Single Impact Event was also presented to the Friends of Georgetown History for their annual Haunted History Tour. The tour originally was designed to present history in an unconventional way to the Georgetown neighborhood – over the past eight years, it has provided the perfect medium to educate and to entertain, and has grown to involve an annual audience of over 800. Tour guides share unique architectural details, thought-provoking neighborhood and community historical facts, and then – there are the ghosts. Along the tour route, “former residents” in full makeup and costumes emerge from buildings or alleyways and share their life or death stories. Important to the historical society is that all of the stories are based first on historical research and then embellished – maybe a just a bit – with neighborhood lore.
LaDele Sines, President of the Friends of Georgetown History, accepted the award in the company of some of theHaunted History tour guides who joined her on stage, then introduced volunteer Tamlin Marx who led the audience in a hilariously macabre singalong about a long-departed Georgetown resident.
Just after 9 o’clock, the Awards ceremony closed with a recording of the historic Ballard bell tolling curfew, and John Chaney’s parting words, “Bertha, this one is for you.”
Ed. note: All photos for this story courtesy of Kimberly Jacobsen. To read a more detailed account of the AKCHO Awards event, please visit the AKCHO website.