Awards, Honors, and Key Initiatives

In recognition of its contribution to the knowledge and understanding of American history, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has received the following awards and honors:

  • In 2021, the Gilder Lehrman Institute was honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution with their President General's Medallion for service to American history. Watch acceptance remarks from Institute president James Basker here.
  • Through a two-year, $500,000 award from the World War One Centennial Commission, the Institute created lesson plans and presented a series of 40 development programs nationwide that explored and celebrated the legacy and memory of Americans who fought in World War One.
  • In 2017, the Gilder Lehrman Institute was the sole recipient of a major $1.8 million grant from the US Department of Education to expand our work with K–12 teachers in California. The funds support A More Perfect Union, a three-year, professional development program for elementary, middle, and high school teachers from Del Norte and Humboldt Countries and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The teachers participate in 100 hours of professional development that strengthens their knowledge of American history, civics/government, and geography as well as increases their ability to use research-based instructional practices.
  • Thanks to a $400,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded in 2017, the Gilder Lehrman Institute is bringing Revisiting the Founding Era, a three-year program fostering community conversations, to one hundred public libraries across the country.
  • The Gilder Lehrman Institute received the Lincoln Legacy Award from the Lincoln Society in Peekskill, New York, in 2014.
  • In 2013, the Institute was awarded an $800,000 grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities’s Bridging Cultures initiative to develop the Create Equal program, which invited libraries across the country to screen four acclaimed documentaries on the long civil rights movement—The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story—an host community conversations supported by scholars and local civic leaders.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama presented the Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academy Program with the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs. The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is a signature initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • The 2010 William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship was awarded to Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman for founding the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The prize is awarded to those who have followed in the footsteps of such great American historical figures as Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross, and Jane Addams, founder of Hull House.
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Gilder Lehrman Institute in 2010 a $1 million challenge grant to develop an Affiliate School Program to build a network of schools that receive free classroom resources and exclusive professional development opportunities.
  • The American Association of Museums awarded American History: An Introduction in the History in a Box series the 2009 Award for Best Publication Design of an educational resource. The award committee stated that the box “provides compelling educational information that is accessible and easy to use for the instructor. It is well conceived and produced with high-quality examples for students.”
  • The 2009 Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award, presented by the Civil War Trust, for extraordinary contributions to further the cause of battlefield preservation, was awarded to Richard Gilder for his notable involvement in American history, preservation, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History.
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Institute a $400,000 grant to develop a new traveling panel exhibition, Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, a Man for All Times.
  • The Gilder Lehrman Institute received the 2008 Award for Academic Excellence from the Council of Independent Colleges for its outstanding college-level seminars.
  • President George W. Bush and Laura Bush presented the 2005 National Humanities Medal to Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman for their work in promoting American history and for co-founding the Institute.
  • The Organization of American Historians presented the Friend of History Award to the Institute in 2005. The award recognizes outstanding support for the pursuit of historical research, for the public presentation of history, or for the work of the OAH.