Marblehead Museum wins AASLH Award of Excellence

Photo by Olivia Falcigno

The Marblehead Museum and Historical Society received the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Award of Excellence for the museum’s dissemination project.

The award is considered by the AASLH to be the highest “recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history.”

“We are very honored to be recognized by the AASLH,” Executive Director Lauren McCormack of Marblehead Museum said. “It’s an organization, along with many other local mediums, that we belong to and look to as a leader in the field, so we’re very appreciative of them recognizing the work that we’ve done.”

The project, The Diverse History of Marblehead: A Research and Dissemination Project, involved a number of online resources, a database of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) individuals from town, and public programming and collaborations between the museum and community organizations, according to a press release. 

“All of this was undertaken as a concerted effort by the museum to focus our efforts on studying and sharing the hitherto untold stories of Black, Indigenous, and people of color who lived and worked in what is now Marblehead,” the press release reads. 

The project is ongoing, and aims to give all residents free access to historical context so that they can better understand the historical events that have led to the issues of racial injustice and inequality that are still present today. 

“The museum’s aim was to combat the lingering misconception that there were no slaves or Black, Indigenous, and people of color in historic Marblehead,” the press release continues. 

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945. Today, it gives out 51 national awards, honoring people, projects, and exhibits. 

“We at the museum have been spending a lot of time researching the diverse history of Marblehead, working on ways of disseminating that research to the public so that we are representing the history of all the people who have lived and worked in Marblehead as equally as possible,” McCormack said.  “To have that work and have that focus recognized as important in a way that we are helping to lead the field of local history museums forward, we’re very excited by that.”