Past Winners


1. A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia

A co-production: Museum of Vancouver (MOV), University of British Columbia, Chinese Canadian Museum Society of BC

Co-curators: Denise Fong, Viviane Gosselin, Henry Yu

A Seat at the Table is two connected exhibitions exploring Chinese immigration in British Columbia. Located in the community and in a traditional exhibition space, the project explores Chinese migration from multiple viewpoints using voices and artifacts from the public. Based on deep research and extensive community consultation and collaboration, “A Seat at the Table” is accessible and engaging. Food is a key part of the story and provides a through line for both projects, which invites visitors to ‘take a seat’ and engage with home video, personal stories, artifacts and public art projects. The project strikes an effective balance between challenging histories of racism and discrimination, and stories of resilience and vibrant community life. Visitors are also invited to record their personal stories as or with Chinese Canadians, providing a connection to contemporary experiences and creating an oral history archive for future researchers. Combined, the mutli-modal storytelling, community partnerships and compelling 3-D experience make “A Seat at the Table” an exceptional exhibition experience.

2. Awakenings

Umbereen Inayet and Cheryl Blackman, Awakenings, Toronto History Museums.

Awakenings a multimedia series from the City of Toronto Museums, using music, art and performance to explore under-represented histories. Delivered online, the ambitious project features artists, performers and historians ruminating on the inter-connected histories of Torontonians of different ethnocultural and class backgrounds. It shows how places and stories seemingly connected to White settler colonial histories, have erased the presence of racialized people. “Lanes,” a film by Karimah Zakia Issa” draws a connection between 19th-century publishers William Lyon Mackenzie and Mary Ann Shadd Cary. In the film, a contemporary activist moves through the Mackenzie King House in downtown Toronto, pulling Shadd Cary back into the narrative of rebellion and protest that is located at the historic site. Videos also explore histories of race and racism through explorations of food, identity, Indigeneity, placeand culture. Awakenings succeeds as a public outreach project because it connects hidden histories to contemporary debates about race and colonialism, creatively engaging the public in a dialogue about past, present and future.

3. Landscapes of Injustice

Jordan Stanger-Ross, lead investigator & Michael Abe, project manager

Landscapes of Injustice is a multifaceted project about the history of displacement and dispossession of Japanese Canadians. The byproduct of an impressive partnership of academic and non-academic organizations and practitioners, Landscapes applies best academic public history research and dissemination practices to bear on the problem, identifying the scope of dispossession in hopes of helping Japanese Canadians recover from these losses. The project presents a series of blog posts and online content that connect archival material to living Canadians, showing how people continue to be touched by dispossession. Other outputs of the project include a museum exhibit, resources for educators, and an academic book. Combined, this is an excellent example of historians expanding the footprint of their research beyond traditional publications to publicly-engaged projects.


Public History Prize – 2020

1. Know History
Historic Métis Communities Video Project

The Historic Métis Communities Video Project is a well-produced series of seven documentary short films that is by the communities and for the communities. The collaborative work of Know History, the Métis Nation of Ontario, and SandBay Entertainment, each three-act film highlights a Métis community in Northern Ontario, its origins, challenges, and connections to the contemporary Métis community.

The jury commends the team, which designed the project as an educational tool for grades six to ten, for the community-focussed and engaging approach to telling these complex histories through film, and how these histories are rooted in both the voices of community members and archival records.

2. Team: Stacey Zembrzycki (Dawson College); Nancy Rebelo (Dawson College); Eszter Andor (Montreal Holocaust Museum); Anna Sheftel (Saint Paul University); Philip Lichti (multimedia production); Joyce Pillarella (booklet graphic design); Caroline Künzle (translation); and Antonia Hernández and Corina MacDonald (graphic design and web development).

Survivors: Ted Bolgar; Fishel Goldig; Paul Herczeg; Muguette Myers; George Reinitz; Tommy Strasser; Musia Schwartz; Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman; and Sidney Zoltak.
Refugee Boulevard: Making Montreal Home After the Holocaust

Driven by community outreach and oral histories, Refugee Boulevard: Making Montreal Home After the Holocaust is an audio tour of six child survivors who came to Montreal through the War Orphans Project in 1948. Developed by researchers at Dawson College, the Montreal Holocaust Museum, Saint Paul University, and survivors, the tour is rooted in strong scholarship, while linking the past to the present and future through community outreach and collaborative research methods.

The tour is well crafted and can be followed easily in-person or using online mapping services, such as Google Streetview. As such, it is an effective demonstration of how digital resources and methodologies can expand and enrich more traditional forms of public history. Survivors’ personal anecdotes provide a depth to the content that is supported by a strong narrative framework and the supplementary booklet.

3. Canadian War Museum
Second World War Discovery Box

The Second World War Discovery Box is a hands-on learning experience that is available free to any classroom in Canada for a two-week loan. The boxes are comprised of a curated selection of both original and reproduction artifacts from the Canadian War Museum, and are supported by digital resources including historical overviews, archival materials, personal stories, and lesson plans. The Discovery Box takes the museum experience out of Canada’s capital, bringing it to learners across the country.

The committee was impressed by how the content of the Second World War Discovery Box is based on strong scholarship, while presented in a way to make historical practice adaptable across age ranges. This promotes the best practices of historical thinking for teachers and students, and as such it reflects the important cross-fertilization between public history and history education.


Aanischaaukamikw, Cree Cultural Institute, Footprints: A Walk through Generations

Footprints: A Walk through Generations is a superior example of public history. Both in how it was assembled and circulated, this exhibit epitomizes the best practices from the field. It also shows the potential for public history to contribute to broader societal issues such as public health and social justice.


No prize competition was held in 2018.


Graphic History Collective with Paul Buhle, Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle. Between the Lines.

If one of the goals of Public History is to engage directly with an audience, the Graphic History Collective with Paul Buhle hit the mark with their collaborative anthology of nine short comics.  Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle is an excellent blend of high level scholarship, Labour History, and captivating art that shows how Public History can embrace different media in innovative ways.

2016 has established itself as a hub of conversation among emerging scholars, senior historians, students, teachers, the media, and other practitioners of public history on a wide range of historical topics.  Since 2008, this innovative website has brought historical context and critical commentary to a broad range of political and social issues, and in 2015, it launched many new initiatives, including a digital exhibition page.  With 13,000 unique page views per month, is committed to making history public and accessible, while setting a high bar for the quality of scholarship it delivers.



Susan Roy (University of Waterloo); Larissa Grant, Terry Point, Leona Sparrow, and Jason Woolman (Musqueam First Nation); Viviane Gosselin (Museum of Vancouver); Susan Rowley and Jordan Wilson (Museum of Anthropology, UBC). c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city.

The project is a series of exhibitions at the Museum of Vancouver, the Musqueam First Nation Cultural Resources Centre, and the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia. By exploring the history of Vancouver from the point of view of the Musqueam First Nation, this collaborative and dynamic project offers a critical reflection on city building, colonialism and dispossession, museum collecting practices, Indigenous activism, and Indigenous landscapes in the urban metropolis.

This series of exhibits explores the history of Vancouver from the point of view of the Musqueam First Nation. It is a collaborative and dynamic project which offers a critical reflection on city building, colonialism and dispossession, museum collecting practices, Indigenous activism, and Indigenous landscapes in the urban metropolis.


Ronald Rudin, Philip Lichti, and Archinodes. Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac National Park.

This online website repatriates the voices of residents from seven New Brunswick communities who were removed from their lands in the 1970s to create Kouchibouguac National Park. The map created to facilitate the removals is reworked into an accessible online navigational tool that allows the user to locate memories of place within the park’s boundaries. In its multi-media presentation of audio memories, videos of the park, and still photographs, Returning the Voices sets a new standard in design for producing historical narratives of place.


James Opp, Anthony Whitehead and Will Knight, “Rideau Timescapes”. A free downloadable app for Apple iOS.

This innovative iPhone application takes its users on a journey through the past, allowing them to interact with the visual heritage of lockstations along the historic Rideau canal. GPS technology allows visitors of the lockstations to overlay the past and present views. The unique Timescape view allows them to witness the changes in the landscape through time. By combining historical documentation and technology, the creators of this tool have made an outstanding contribution to public history, in the process creating a platform that can be used in contexts other than the Rideau Canal.



Aaron Floresco and Rhonda Hinther, “The Oldest Profession in Winnipeg: The ‘Red Light’ District of 1909-1912” (Documentary film by Past Perfect Productions, 2011)

This engaging documentary film tells the provocative story of Winnipeg’s Red Light district in the early twentieth century. The filmmaker, Aaron Floresco, deftly combines strong historical content with an impressive array of creative elements—historical re-enactment, music, advanced editing of archival photographs and documents; animated maps; and interviews with experts. The writers, Floresco and Rhonda Hinther, effectively use the records of a commission of inquiry as the basis for their storyline, drawing out the character and perspective of police, prostitutes, “johns,” and brothel operators. The result is a high-quality production that makes this controversial moment in Winnipeg’s past inviting and accessible to a wide public audience.



Ronald Rudin. Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian’s Journey through Public Memory.

The winner of the inaugural Public History Prize is Ronald Rudin, for his project Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian’s Journey through Public Memory. Published by the University of Toronto Press, the book explores the commemorations and collective memory of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadie and the 250th anniversary of the deportation of the Acadians. Adopting a highly innovative approach as an “embedded historian,” Rudin conducted interviews with a wide range of peoples – Acadians, Anglophones, and First Nations – and he draws on his own personal reflections on the formation of public memory. Rudin’s remarkable project also includes an accompanying web site and a documentary film, Life After Île Ste-Croix, which are integrated with his book. By combining film, internet, and print, Rudin has created an outstanding and thought-provoking contribution to public history that challenges the field’s traditional boundaries.Honourable MentionHeather MacDougall. Making Medicare: The History of Healthcare in Canada, 1914-2007. Canadian Museum of Civilization Social Progress Web Gallery, Heather MacDougall’s Making Medicare exhibition in the Canadian Museum of Civilization Social Progress Web Gallery is an eye-catching, bilingual, and comprehensive narrative of the gradual development of Canada’s hospital and medical services insurance programs. This web component of more than three hundred windows is impressive, for it allows a general audience to navigate with ease through a timeline spanning over ninety years and within categories detailing the various economic, social, and political actors and factors that shaped Canada’s medical system. Of note is the educational tool designed for students and teachers to further enhance their understanding of this history. The Committee is extremely pleased to honour this thoroughly researched and highly accessible work that makes an important contribution to the fields of public history and health care.



Les lauréats 2015 sont : Susan Roy (University of Waterloo); Larissa Grant, Terry Point, Leona Sparrow et Jason Woolman (Musqueam First Nation); Viviane Gosselin (Museum of Vancouver); Susan Rowley et Jordan Wilson (Museum of Anthropology, UBC). c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city.

Cette série d’expositions est au Museum of Vancouver, au Musqueam First Nation Cultural Resources Centre et au Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia et étudie l’histoire de Vancouver du point de vue de la Première nation Musqueam. Elle est un projet collaboratif et dynamique qui offre une réflexion critique sur l’urbanisme, le colonialisme et la dépossession, les pratiques de collections muséales, l’activisme autochtone et les paysages autochtones dans la métropole urbaine.


Ronald Rudin, Philip Lichti, et Archinodes, Le retour des voix au parc national Kouchibouguac.

Ce site en ligne redonne les voix des résidents de sept collectivités du Nouveau-Brunswick qui ont été séparés de leurs terres dans les années 1970 dans le cadre de la création du parc national Kouchibouguac. L’outil de navigation accessible en ligne permet à l’utilisateur de localiser des souvenirs dans les limites du parc et a été conçu à partir de la carte qui a été créée pour faciliter les délogements. Le projet établit une nouvelle norme dans la conception de récits historiques des lieux.



James Opp, Anthony Whitehead and Will Knight, “Rideau Timescapes”. (Une application qui peut être téléchargée gratuitement sur l’iPhone d’Apple)

Cette application innovante iPhone permet aux utilisateurs de faire un retour dans le passé et d’interagir avec le patrimoine visuel des postes d’éclusage qui longent le canal historique Rideau. La technologie GPS permet aux visiteurs des écluses de superposer les vues passées et présentes. L’outil unique Timescape View leur permet d’observer l’évolution du paysage au fils du temps. En associant technologie et documentation historique, les créateurs de cet outil ont apporté une contribution exceptionnelle à l’histoire publique et, dans le processus, ont ainsi créé une plate-forme pouvant être utilisée dans d’autres contextes que celui du canal Rideau.


Aaron Floresco et Rhonda Hinther. “The Oldest Profession in Winnipeg: The ‘Red Light’ District of 1909-1912” (réalisé par Past Perfect Productions, 2011)

Ce documentaire captivant raconte l’histoire provocante du quartier du « Red Light » de Winnipeg au début du vingtième siècle. Les cinéastes ont su combiner adroitement le contenu historique avec un impressionnant éventail d’éléments créatifs : reconstitution historique, musique et techniques avancées de montage de photographies et documents d’archives; des cartes animées du quartier; et des entrevues avec des experts. Les scénaristes, Aaron Floresco et Rhonda Hinther, se sont servi avec efficacité des dossiers d’une commission d’enquête pour faire ressortir les perspectives des différents acteurs de l’histoire, tels la police, les prostituées, les proxénètes et les surveillantes de bordels. Il en résulte une production cinématographique qui fait de ce passé controversé de Winnipeg une œuvre alléchante accessible à un large public.



Ronald Rudin. Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historians Journey through Public Memory.

Le récipiendaire du Prix inaugural en histoire publique est Ronald Rudin pour son projet intitulé Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historians’ Journey through Public Memory. Le livre, publié par University of Toronto Press, explore les commémorations et la mémoire collective du 400e anniversaire de la fondation de l’Acadie et du 250e anniversaire de la déportation des Acadiens et des Acadiennes. En adoptant un rôle très innovateur à titre d’« historien intégré », Rudin a mené des entrevues auprès de différentes personnes – des Acadiens et Acadiennes, des Anglophones, des Autochtones – et il s’inspire de ses réflexions personnelles sur la formation d’une mémoire collective. Le projet remarquable de Rudin inclut également un site Web correspondant et un film documentaire, Life after Île Ste-Croix, qui s’intègrent à son livre. En associant film, Internet et texte imprimé dans son ouvrage, Rudin a créé une contribution remarquable à l’histoire publique qui suscite la réflexion et qui conteste les pratiques traditionnelles existantes dans le domaine.

Mention honorable

Heather MacDougall. La lutte pour l’assurance maladie : L’histoire des soins de santé au Canada, de 1914 à 2007, Galerie du progrès social du Musée canadien des civilisations, L’exposition La lutte pour l’assurance maladie de Heather MacDougall présentée sur la Galerie du progrès social du Musée canadien des civilisations est une narration accrocheuse, bilingue et complète du développement graduel des programmes d’assurance maladie dans les hôpitaux et les services médicaux du Canada. Cette composante Web comportant plus de trois cents pages est impressionnante, car elle permet à un auditoire général de naviguer facilement à travers un calendrier qui s’étend sur plus de quatre-vingt-dix ans et à travers des catégories qui exposent en détail les différents acteurs principaux et facteurs économiques, sociaux et politiques qui ont formé le système médical canadien. Il convient également de mentionner que cet outil pédagogique est conçu pour permettre aux élèves et aux enseignants et enseignantes d’accroître leur compréhension de cette facette de l’histoire. Le comité est très heureux d’honorer cet ouvrage bien documenté et hautement accessible qui apporte une contribution remarquable aux domaines de l’histoire publique et des soins de santé.