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The Dibner Award

In Search of the Canadian Car The Dibner Award for Excellence in Museum Exhibits was established in 1985, through the generosity of Bern Dibner, to recognize excellence in museums and museum exhibits that interpret the history of technology, industry, and engineering to the general public. Winning exhibits, in addition to being well designed and produced, should raise pertinent historical issues. Artifacts and images should be used in a manner that interests, teaches, and stimulates both the general public and historians (pictured to the right, an image from "Collider" at the Science Museum, London, the 2014 Dibner Award winning exhibition). The award consists of a plaque and up to $1,000 to cover expenses for a member of the design team to accept the award at the SHOT awards banquet.

Exhibits are eligible for this award if they have been open to the public for no more than 24 months before the deadline for nominations. The Society especially encourages nominations from local and regional historical societies. Virtual exhibits are not eligible for the award .

Anyone, including the institution or individual responsible for its creation, may nominate an exhibit for the Dibner Award, using the nomination form available here as a PDF or Word document. The completed nomination form should be e-mailed to each member of the Dibner Committee. Deadline for nominations for the 2015 prize is 1 May 2015 (for the 2016 prize, the deadline will be 15 December 2015), except in the case of traveling and short-term exhibits that close before that date; in those cases, nominators must submit their documents to the committee at least two months in advance of the exhibit's closing date. Nomination documents may not under any circumstances exceed 1 MB or contain anything other than text and static images.

After reviewing nominations, the committee will choose a short list of finalists, giving sole consideration to the evaluation documents submitted. The committee will then arrange for a "live" reviewer to visit each of the short-listed exhibits and write a report. Normally the chair will draw upon recommendations for live reviewers made by the nominator in the nomination document, although s/he may use her/his judgment to assign alternative reviewers as needed, including members of the committee.

For more information, please contact the committee chair or David Lucsko, SHOT Secretary,


2014 Dibner Award Committee

Alex Bochannek (2013-2015)
Kathy Franz (2015–2017)
Barbara Ganson (2015–2017)
Mike Geselowitz (2015–2017)
Marc Greuther (2013-2015)
Johannes-Geert Hagmann (2015–2017)
Allison Marsh (2014–2015), Chair



Recipients of the Dibner Award

2014 "Collider," Science Museum, London
2013 not presented
"Driving America," The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
"In Search of the Canadian Car," Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa, Canada
"Split & Splice: Fragments from the Age of Biomedicine," the Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
"America by Air," National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. USA
"As Time Goes Byte: Computing and Digital Culture," Museum of Communication, Berne, Switzerland
SS Great Britain Museum, Bristol, England
"Time Galleries," the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England; lead curators David Rooney and Gloria Clifton
"Locomotion--The National Railway Museum at Shildon," County Durham, England; head curator Janice Murray. Honorable mention: "No.1 Pump Station," Mundaring Weir, Western Australia.
"Heroes of the Sky: Adventures in Early Flight, 1903-1939," the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, curator Bob Casey.
"Show of Force", the Armley Mills Industrial Museum, Leeds, U.K., curated by Neil Dowlan; and "Engenho e Obra: Engineering in Portugal in the 20th Century", a joint effort of the Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research, IN+, Instituto Superior Técnico, and the Institute of Contemporary History of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Universidade Nova de Lisboa; directed by Manuel Heitor
"Shinkansen," National Railway Museum, York, curators Belinda Morris and Richard Gibbon; and "World City," Museum of London, curators Alex Werner and Karen Fielder
"Writing On Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe", Trout Gallery at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania in cooperation with the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., curators Peter Lukehart and Claire Richter Sherman, and "On Time", National Museum of American History, curator, Carlene Stephens.
"Universal Machine: Computers and Connections," at the Powerhouse Museum, New South Wales, Australia
"History Works!", Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Bethlehem, PA, USA and "Watkins' Bethany: The Family, The Farm, The Mills", Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and Park, Lawson, Missouri
"Fibres, Fabrics, and Fashion", Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, United Kingdom
"Steel, Stone and Backbone: Building New York's Subways 1900-1925", New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, New York
Theodore Roosevelt Dam and Desert Blooms Exhibit, Arizona Historical Society, Pheonix, Arizona
"The Historical Museum of Bielefeld", Historisches Museum, Bielefeld, Germany
"The Line of Battle", Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Madison, Wisconsin; The American Computer Museum, Bozeman, Montana; Museo del Vidrio, Monterey, Mexico
Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Lowell, MA; "The Information Revolution," Herbert H. Dow Museum, Midland, MI; National Science Center, Delhi, India
"The Cannery," The Baltimore Museum of Industry; "Milestones of a Revolution: People and Computers," The Computer Museum, Boston, Massachusetts Motorola Museum of Electronics, Schaumberg, Illinois, Tsongas Industrial History Center: Lowell, Massachusetts
David Allison, chief curator, Bernard Finn and Steven Lubar, curatorial team, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution; "The Information Age"
Thomas Elliot and Steven Hamp, Henry Ford Museum, "The Automobile in American Life"; David Chase and Carolyn Laray, National Building Museum, "Sheetmetal Craftsmanship: Progress in Building"; Donald Hoke and Christopher Miller, Outagamie Museum, "Tools of Change: The Work, Workers, and Tools of the Lower Fox River Valley, ca. 1840-1950"
Steven Lubar and his colleagues at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, for "Engines of Change"

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