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Kentucky Heritage Council
Nominees sought for 31st Annual Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 11, 2009  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation and Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office are seeking nominations for 2009 Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards, given annually to individuals, organizations and projects that have made a significant contribution preserving Kentucky’s historic and prehistoric resources.  This year marks the 31st anniversary of this signature statewide event, which recognizes historic preservation efforts made through the restoration or rehabilitation of an important building, structure or community resource or through a lifetime commitment to encouraging and promoting historic preservation.

Awards are presented in three categories:

Preservation Project Awards recognize outstanding examples of historic building restoration or rehabilitation, or other types of projects that have had a positive impact on Kentucky’s built environment.

Service to Preservation Awards honor those who have furthered historic preservation activities or had a positive impact in their communities, including individuals, organizations, public officials, financial institutions, news media and/or volunteers. 

The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award goes to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth.  The 2008 honoree was David H. Hall, retired Bardstown/Nelson County Historic Preservation Administrator.

Nominations must be submitted to the Kentucky Heritage Council, 300 Washington Street, Frankfort, KY, 40601, in person or via mail or fax at 502-564-5820.  All entries must be received or postmarked by Monday, April 13.  Nominations will be reviewed and awards made by a panel of judges representing various historical organizations across the state, including the Kentucky Heritage Council and members of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation.  Winners will be recognized during a special ceremony in Frankfort in May, which is National Preservation Month.

During the ceremony, winners of the 11th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition will also be honored.  The contest is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky, Inc., and open to all Kentucky schoolchildren in grades 1-12.  The 2009 theme, Preserving the Spirit of Home, challenges students to consider why historic buildings make us feel at “home” and hold memories that contribute to the unique spirit of a place.  Students may want to discuss how a certain historic building makes them feel at home, or how the loss of a historic building has or could create a loss in their community spirit and sense of place.

Nomination forms for Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards are available online at the Kentucky Heritage Council Web site,
The deadline for photo-essay entries is March 15.  Entry forms and winning photos and student essays from previous years may be viewed online at

The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor Ida Lee Willis, the first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now the Kentucky Heritage Council) and widow of former Governor Simeon Willis.  It was during Mrs. Willis’ tenure that Kentucky’s successful statewide historic preservation program was initiated.  Mark Dennen is the acting Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer.

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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 3/11/2009