West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc. Wins 2013 AASLH Award of Merit!

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc., is the recipient of an Award of Merit from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards for “No More Wiggle-Tail Water:” Interpreting the History of Morgantown’s Water Supply.”  The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 68th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The award recognizes the eight interpretive signs that were erected in the Spring of 2012 and related programming to tell the story of Morgantown’s early water supply, especially focused on the resources at the West Virginia Botanic Garden. The Botanic Garden located at 1061 Tyrone Road in Morgantown includes the now-drained reservoir that supplied water to Morgantown from 1912 to 1969 as well as the land protecting the reservoir basin.  The West Virginia Humanities Council funded the design and construction of the signs. The extant features related to the reservoir include the main earthen dam and embankment, spillway, outlet tower, diversion dam and accompanying pipe to the reservoir basin, wooden pilings for the treatment pond, and foundations of the chemical feed house and reservoir manager’s house. Barb Howe, the WVBG board member who directed the project, said, “We designed the signs to help visitors understand how the extant features related to the natural environment as shaped by successive water companies; by ‘benign neglect’ after 1969; and, since 2000, by the West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc.” The signs were developed by Erin Smaldone, education director at the WVBG with assistance from Dave Smaldone, associate professor of recreation, parks and tourism at WVU using the research compiled by Howe and historian Michael Caplinger.  The award nomination also included an article by Howe and Caplinger entitled “’No More Wiggle-Tail Water’” in the Papers and Proceedings of the Monongalia Historical Society (December 2010); an article on the project in History News: The Magazine of the American Association for State and Local History (Autumn 2012); and a forthcoming article on the Botanic Garden in Wonderful West Virginia (August 2013). The West Virginia Botanic Garden also now has an entry in e-WV, the on-line encyclopedia of the West Virginia Humanities Council. The West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc., is a 501 ( c ) (3) organization that manages the Botanic Garden under a lease from the City of Morgantown, which owns the property, and the Morgantown Utility Board. The Botanic Garden is open daily from dawn to dusk free of charge. More information is available at www.wvbg.org.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer eighty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books, and organizations. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2013 AASLH Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, September 20. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

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 brings 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 http://www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history.  From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society.  AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and monthly newsletter.  The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.

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