Autry Public History Prize

20The Autry Public History Prize is awarded annually to media exhibits, public programs, or written works that contribute to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past or serve as a model of professional public history practice in the history of the North American West. The award consists of a $1,000 prize and a certificate to the award recipient. The prize is made possible by the generous support of the Autry Museum of the American West. 

Please note that academic non-fiction books and journal articles are not eligible for this award. Eligible projects may include, but are not limited to, the following areas: 

  • Media such as web pages, web-based video, audio, blogs, documentaries, and films
  • Public Programs such as lecture series, walking tours, oral history projects, outreach activity, educational offerings, workshops, etc.
  • Written Works such as research, reports, brochures, working papers, etc., or historical fiction (including books), that contribute to larger public history efforts to broaden public history understanding.
  • Exhibits in museums, cultural centers, historic sites, and other public venues

To be eligible for the award in 2021, the project must have been completed in 2020. When submitting material to the award committee (see below) for consideration please follow the Autry Prize Submission Guidelines

2021 Note: The committee has requested that all materials be submitted electronically using the email addresses below.

-2021 Awards Cycle opens January 25, 2021

-2021 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2021

The WHA office sends award notifications in August.  View past recipients

Ben Johnson, Chair

Loyola University Chicago

Kathryn McKee

Kenan Institute, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

HannaLore Hein

Idaho State Historical Society

The Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry Museum of the American West brings together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire our shared future. Co-founded in 1988 by Jackie and Gene Autry and Joanne and Monte Hale, the Autry has grown to encompass a broad and inclusive representation of art, artifacts, cultural materials, and library holdings. In 2002, the Autry merged with Women of the West, a nonprofit organization highlighting the impact of diverse women’s experiences on the history of the American West. In 2003, the Autry merged with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. The Autry's diverse collections include more than 600,000 artifacts, artworks, and archival materials that reflect the interconnectedness of cultures and histories in the American West.

Past Recipients

2020 | Center for the Study of the American West, West Texas A&M University for Red Dead University. Contributors: Alex Hunt, Tim Foster, A.J. McCormick.

2019  Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri for The Pendergast Years: Kansas City in the Jazz Age and Great Depression. Contributors: Jason Roe, David LaCrone; View more here:

2018 | Utah Division of State History, Utah State Historical Society, Utah Historical Quarterly, University of Utah, Utah State Capitol Preservation Board for Utah Drawn: an Exhibition of Rare Maps.

2017 | Benjamin Johnson, Trinidad Gonzales, Sonia Hernández, John Morán González, Monica Munoz Martiñez at the Bullock Texas State History Museum for the exhibition Refusing to Forget.

2016 | Oakland Museum of California for the exhibition Pacific Worlds

2015 | South El Monte Arts Posse for East of East: Mapping Community Narratives, digital archive, Columbia University, 2015. Click here to read more.

2014 | Kansas City Public Library for Civil War on the Western Border: The Western-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865

2012 | Oregon Historical Society for the Oregon Encyclopedia Project.

2011 | Ferndale Museum for Letters Home.

2010 | American West Center at the University of Utah for the Utah Curriculum Project.

2009 | National Oregon/California Trail Center for Big Hill Experience.

2008 | Estevan Rael-Galvez for New Mexico Digital History Project. Click here to read more.

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The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas.

The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860