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The History Center’s Oral Histories LIVE! Program Wins Prestigious 2023 AASLH Award of Excellence

Nashville, TN – The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) congratulates the Linn County Historical Society (d.b.a. The History Center) for receiving an Award of Excellence for Oral Histories LIVE!. The Award of Excellence is part of the AASLH Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history.


“The History Center is humbled and honored to receive this recognition, the highest possible from the AASLH,” stated Jason Wright, THC’s Executive Director. “However, credit must be given to the dozens of Linn County people that have been interviewed. This program would be nothing without them. Their candid stories of struggles, successes and life-lessons-learned have been extremely informative and entertaining. In addition, Mike Wilson and Esther Wilson -- before Esther passed away -- believed in this program from the start and became the sole sponsors of the program. THC could not do this without the help of Mike Wilson.”


The “Oral Histories LIVE!” program was developed because there needed to be a way to capture the stories and histories of those that have had impactful lives in Linn County. So many of these stories have been lost to the ages, and every day that passes brought a permanent closure to so many more. While many historical societies record oral histories with just the interviewer and the subject, THC decided to try something a little more accessible to the public it serves. Using the model of the Bravo Channel’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, THC captures these oral histories in a room filled with attendees, using a moderator to guide the conversation and facilitate audience questions.   


All the Oral Histories LIVE! presentations are professionally videotaped and post-produced for the best possible viewer experience. These are posted on THC’s website and are available to anyone. Over 1,700 people from all over the world have viewed these recordings. In addition, THC deploys interns to transcribe these presentations. These transcriptions become part of THC’s searchable archives. Those seeking primary source material related to any Linn County subject they are researching can easily find and use these recordings. This year, AASLH is proud to confer fifty-one national awards honoring people, projects, and exhibits. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.


The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to


The Linn County Historical Society (d.b.a. The History Center or THC) serves to preserve and tell the stories of Linn County, Iowa. THC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is currently serving over 22,000 people annually with exhibits, programs and research. Approximately 60% of its in-person visitorship and program attendees are from Linn County. 24% are from states other than Iowa. The remaining 16% come from other counties in Iowa. THC has celebrated cash-positive year-ends for eight years and has no debt. This financial achievement has been accomplished through a strictly managed sustainable business plan that focuses on maximizing revenue while providing the mission-driven services that the community desires. 


The organization has created a varied set of programs to reach the greatest range of audience. These programs are designed to be unique and entertaining. Most importantly, THC practices the highest standards of preserving and telling history when designing and delivering these programs.   

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