The Commission’s highest honor, the Richard J. Hughes Award, is given for lifetime achievement in the field of New Jersey history. The 2006 recipient is Anna Aschkenes, Jamesburg, who will be honored for her many years of work on behalf of the history community of Middlesex County. Ms. Aschkenes is the executive director of the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, a post she has held since 1983. The Commission is one of the largest county cultural and heritage agencies in the state. It serves 800,000 people in 25 municipalities. In her capacity as executive director Ms. Aschkenes oversees both history and arts programming. She and the MCCHC have won numerous awards from the American Association of State and Local History, the National Association of Counties, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Congress of the United States. She is the author of The Hub and the Wheel, New Brunswick and Middlesex County, An Illustrated History (1987) and Middlesex County: Crossroads of History (2000).
The Alfred E. Driscoll Prize of $1,000 is awarded to the author of an outstanding doctoral dissertation on a topic in New Jersey history. The 2006 recipient is Martin Minner for his Indiana University dissertation, Metropolitan Aspirations: Politics and Memory in Progressive Era Newark.
In addition to the Hughes Award and the Driscoll Prize, the following individuals and organizations will receive Awards of Recognition from the Historical Commission:
Atlantic City Historical Museum. The museum is located on the historic Garden Pier at NJ and the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Its mission is to present a culturally diverse history of the resort city for visitors and residents alike. The museum has a permanent exhibition that includes costumes, historical artifacts, photographs, and Miss America memorabilia. The museum offers changing exhibits and an award winning documentary, Boardwalk Ballyhoo: The Magic of Atlantic City.
Howard Gillette, Rutgers Camden. Howard Gillette is honored for his scholarship on Camden, and for his work in public history. A professor of history at Rutgers, his most recent book is Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City (2005). He is also the founder and director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, a research and advocacy organization devoted to bringing new intellectual and monetary resources to cultural practices in the humanities in the Mid-Atlantic states
Paul Israel, Thomas Edison Project. Dr. Israel is nominated for his work as editor of the Papers of Thomas Edison. He joined the Edison Papers staff in 1980 as an associate editor, and became director and general editor in 2002. He is the author of many books, including Edison: A Life of Invention, for which he won the Dexter Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. The Edison project which he directs has documented how the inventor helped make New Jersey a center for innovation.
Living History School Program of Cherry Hill Township. This program offers fourth and fifth grade students the opportunity to experience early 19th century farm life in South Jersey. The program brings to life the history lessons of the classroom in a meaningful and memorable way for the students, and the Cherry Hill School District includes the Farmstead visit as part of the required Social Studies Curriculum for all fifth grade students. This past year the program served about 1,000 Cherry Hill students, and another 500 students from outside the district.
Michael J. Mills, Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects, LLC. Mr. Mills is recognized for his distinguished career in the field of historic preservation. His list of award-winning projects includes the preservation and restoration of the New Jersey State House and the Somerset County Court House. He served as President of New Jersey’s statewide non-profit preservation organization, Preservation New Jersey, from 1994 to 2003. For his exceptional work in the field of historic preservation, Michael Mills was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
The New Jersey Historical Commission is a division of the NJ Department of State. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in the state by preserving the historical record and advancing public knowledge and awareness of the Garden State’s rich heritage. For information on the award recipients or the Historical Commission’s annual conference, contact Marc Mappen, Executive Director, at 609-984-0902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.