NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced that the Mount Desert Island Historical Society is the recipient of an Award of Excellence for “Beholding the Past,” the 2018 issue of the society’s annual magazine, Chebacco.
The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 74th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.
Since 1998, Chebacco (the name is derived from a common working boat of the 18th century) has been the lead publication of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society. For 2018, editors invited authors to tell the stories behind 14 objects or landscapes and commissioned an artist to photograph them. In the resulting articles and photographic portfolio, the reader encounters materials that are enlivened by close study and observation.
The 2018 edition also argues that museums should do more than keep objects in storage. Tova Mellen wrote in an introductory essay, “While holdings are items we collect, protect, and keep, beholdings are materials with which we can meaningfully and actively engage.”
In a review, museum consultant Rainey Tisdale wrote, “This publication is as beautiful as it is substantive. Its 16 essays, thoroughly researched through a wide range of primary and secondary sources, provide an exercise in close looking at local objects and local places… The overall effect is complex and compelling.”
Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2019 AASLH Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on Friday, Aug. 30.