Peyton Anderson, 2009 Public Relations Committee Chair proposed that the Board of Directors create the ABANA Blacksmith Heritage Award. The Award was suggested by committee member Linda Tanner. The motion to create this award was presented by the Public Relations Committee Chair.
The purpose of the award is to honor the recipient for “service to the community by increasing the public knowledge and awareness of blacksmithing.” This award is not given for service to ABANA itself, though that would not be discouraged by any means. The award serves to recognize those organizations and the key individual(s) that lead them for their efforts to keep the Blacksmith’s Heritage in the eye of the public at large. The award is given when the ABANA Board of Directors deems it appropriate. Generally, the Board follows the committee’s recommendations and awards it once a year although the Board could present the award more or less often.
The Board of Directors uses the services of the Blacksmith Heritage Award Committee to seek out qualified candidates. The responsibility for the approval of the award recipient rests solely with the ABANA Board of Directors.
The committee looks for organizations and the key individual(s) that lead them that have served in the field of promoting an increased public knowledge and awareness of blacksmithing and made a significant impact and contribution, viewed from a long range of time. The recipient should show a quasi-historical perspective in how the blacksmithing field has progressed, grown, and developed, due to the recipient. It is not awarded to the most popular organization in the field on a given year, nor even something someone can try to “win.” The award is earned and time is the key to awarding the most eligible organization
Since it was established 4 awards have been presented:
- In 2010 the Award was presented to the Dollywood Blacksmith shop and the Herschend Family of businesses in Tennessee
- In 2012 the Award was presented to the Anderson Blacksmith Shop at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia
- In 2014 the Award was presented to the Metal Museum in Memphis Tennessee
- In 2016 the Award was presented to the Historic Westville in Georgia
- In 2018 the Award was presented to the Whitaker and Spencer Forges at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina
The committee is composed of three people who are appointed for six-year terms. The committee will appoint its own successors to make a rotating replacement of one member every two years. The ABANA President will nominate and the Board will ratify the initial committee members and their terms.
The ABANA Blacksmith Heritage Award Committee member may or may not be an ABANA Board member. This committee’s responsibility is to present the ABANA Board of Directors with the nomination of potential recipients of the Blacksmith Heritage Award. The committee and the ABANA Board of Directors then keep the award secret to be able to surprise the recipient. Should a nomination be rejected, the Committee is under no obligation to submit another nomination in that calendar year. If the award is determined for a conference year, it is to be presented at the conference. If not, the award is announced in The Anvil’s Ring, unless there is some function where the recipient may be present.
The Blacksmith Heritage Award consists of a hand-forged hammer on a plaque which will have the words “Heritage Award” presented to “the recipient’s name” with the year date given along with the words “For Outstanding Service in the area of increasing the public knowledge and awareness of the Blacksmith’s Craft”.