The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has announced that the West Central Minnesota Historical Association (WCMHA) is the recipient of an award of excellence for “How the Great War Hit Home in West Central Minnesota: World War I Traveling Exhibit.”

The AASLH Leadership in History awards, now in its 75th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The WCMHA traveling exhibit project use of primary sources collectively in the 10 county west-central region in Minnesota demonstrated the use of good history. The counties include Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine. 

The primary sources used in this exhibit showcased each county and at the same time showed the connection of the World War I story throughout the west central Minnesota region.

This was a new approach for the WCMHA to tackle, and it was able to collaborate with neighbors and create new resources for each organization to learn from and lean on.

This exhibit demonstrates the relevance of local history by showcasing the local stories in the greater context of World War I history.

The WCMHA wanted the exhibit to help communities to understand how west-central Minnesota had an important role in such a large event in the nation and the world’s history.

The WCMHA wanted visitors to the exhibit to go home with a sense of how their own history fit into a larger picture and hopefully would understand more in-depth about World War I history.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer 57 national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. 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