Public History Prize


Inaugurated in 2015, the RHS Public History Prize recognises work that promotes public understanding of history and communicates a critical understanding of the past.

Offered in partnership with the Historical Association and the Institute of Historical Research’s Public History Seminar, the Prize celebrates work in Museums & Exhibitions, Film & TV, Radio & Podcasts, Online Resources, Public Debate & Policy, as well as work undertaken by students.

Very regrettably, the 2021 Prize was postponed on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to run the Public History Prize again in the near future with our partners. We will share this information as soon as we are able.


2018 Public History Prize

The Winners of the Public History Prize for 2018 were announced at an awards evening at the Mary Ward Hall on 26 January 2018. Full details can be viewed here. The 2018 Public History Symposium was held in Birmingham on 16 March 2018.

2018 judging panel: Professor Mary Beard (University of Cambridge); Dr Alix Green (University of Central Lancashire); Professor Aled Jones (National Library of Wales); and Professor John Tosh (University of Roehampton). It was chaired by Professor Ludmilla Jordanova (Durham University).


2015 Public History Prize

The 2015 Public History Prizes were presented by Professor Amanda Vickery (Queen Mary, University of London) at a reception at University College London on Friday 27 November 2016. Full details of the 2015 Awards are here.


Comments from our judges
Alix Green

Alix Green

“There is excellent work being done across the country to engage people with the past in innovative and exciting ways, everything from museum exhibitions to historical film and theatre, from community heritage projects to digital resources… We hope not only to entice new audiences to history in all its forms, but also to help the field of public history develop by connecting people and celebrating success.”

 – Alix Green, Public History Prize judge, 2018


Aled Jones

Aled Jones

As a historian who now heads a national public cultural organisation, I feel passionately about the value of public history and its capacity to change lives. Our history is ever-present, and the richness and diversity of the ways it is conveyed to us, across a dazzling range of fields and media, is something that should rightly be celebrated. The Public History Prize will draw national and international attention to the brilliant work being done up and down the country, in small and major venues, to keep us all in touch with our past.”

 – Aled Jones, Public History Prize Judge, 2018


Mary Beard

Mary Beard

“I was five years old and being taken to the British Museum for the first time. I remember straining to see a piece of ancient Egyptian carbonised cake high up in a case — when this curator came by, with some keys and unlocked the case, and got it out so I could see it properly. It may not be quite what we usually mean by ‘public history’, but for me it crystallizes many of its qualities. Someone literally wanted to open the past up for me, he went the extra mile, he brought the past to me without talking down to me — and it was an encounter I never forgot.”

 – Mary Beard, Public History Prize Judge, 2018.


Please send enquiries about the Prize to the RHS Office: