Historical Society introduces awards for small, innovative sites

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is doing something for the little guys.

The organization’s first History in Pennsylvania — or HIP – Awards will be presented Oct. 19 at a luncheon at the Union League in Philadelphia.

And rather than places like Independence Hall or the Gettysburg National Park, the society will recognize more modest but significant sites and individuals who champion preservation and local heritage.

The Philadelphia organizations being honored are the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden for the preservation of the Sakura Pavilion buildings and Bartram’s Garden for its Community Farm and Food Resource Center. Local historian Louis M. Iatarola will also be awarded for his work with the Historical Society of Tacony.

“These are small and mid-size places, not the usual, everyday places” that people think of as landmarks in Pennsylvania history, said Prudence Haines, director of the History Affiliates, a Historical Society program created to support such sites.

“One of our goals in announcing these awards is to bring people together ad help form a sense of community among history and heritage organizations. They don’t get a chance to talk together very often. We want to facilitate conversation and cooperation among these groups,” Haines said. “And we want to celebrate their achievements.”

The Friends of the Japanese House and Garden will receive the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts Award for Excellence in Stewardship and Collections Care. The Sakura Pavilion structures are two of only four buildings still standing in situ from the 1876 Centennial. The buildings are now being used as program space and for storage.

Bartram’s Garden will receive the Community Partnership Projects Award for the creation of the farm and resource center, which is managed by students of the local high school. The goal of the farm is to showcase healthy food choices and inspire an appreciation for nature in a community that has little access to open space.

Other winners of the HIP Awards are:

• The Wharton Esherick Museum for its exhibit, “Poplar Culture: The Celebration of a Tree.”

• Concord Township Historical Society for “Legacies & Lessons: Western Delaware County Presents the Civil War at 150.”

• Nancy Roan, of Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc., who has encouraged interest in the history of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

• Bank of America will also be honored with the “”Leadership by a Corporation in Support of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s History and Heritage Community Award.”

History Affiliates is currently building a website that will include a directory to facilitate communications between individuals and organizations, and it is forming a network that will link and support volunteer-run, small and mid-sized organizations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

For information about the Oct. 19 luncheon, go to www.hsp.org/hipawards.

Contact the writer at ajaffe@planphilly.com.

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