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USS Constitution Museum Honors Dr. Don Hickey for Artful Scholarship

Published Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Dr. Don Hickey, historian, author and professor at Wayne State College, received the Samuel Eliot Morison Award at the USS Constitution Museum annual Chairman's Dinner and Awards Ceremony.

The USS Constitution Museum held its annual Chairman’s Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Oct. 17 in Boston, Mass. During the dinner, the Museum recognized several individuals who have displayed characteristics the USS Constitution has come to represent: dedication to community, commitment to purpose, and excellence in all endeavors.

Dr. Don Hickey, historian, author and professor at Wayne State College, received the Samuel Eliot Morison Award. This award, named in honor of the renowned maritime historian, is given for artful scholarship and desire to preserve our past for future generations.

A longtime student of the War of 1812, Hickey was called “the dean of 1812 scholarship” by the New Yorker. An award-winning author, Hickey has written seven books and nearly 100 articles on the war. He is best known for The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict and Don't Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812.

Hickey joined elite company with the honor. Previous winners of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award include journalism and broadcast giant Walter Cronkite; Tip O'Neill, who served as Speaker of the House from 1977 until his retirement in 1987, making him the only Speaker to serve for five complete consecutive Congresses, and the second longest-serving Speaker in U.S. history; and David McCullough, American author and historian, and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.

“This is a special honor to me for several reasons,” Hickey said. “Morison was the most prolific and accomplished historian of the 20th century, Old Ironsides is our most famous warship, and the museum in Boston dedicated to honoring this iconic ship is one the best-run facilities of its kind in the nation. I'm humbled by the honor. I certainly never thought I'd get an award that earlier went to someone like Walter Cronkite or David McCullough.”

As the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution, the Museum proudly reminds the community of her legacy and the many ways in which citizens can pay tribute to her years of service. From a fighting warship in 1812 to being named America’s Ship of State in 2009, “Old Ironsides” is not only a hometown hero but an American icon.

The 2013 Award recipients honored by the Museum at the Seaport Boston Hotel on Oct. 17 in addition to Hickey: Peter H. Smyth, President and CEO, Greater Media, Inc. will receive the Charles Francis Adams Award, given in honor of one of the Museum’s founders. This award is presented to a person who has given of himself or herself for the betterment of the community; Herbert P. Dane, Life Trustee, USS Constitution Museum will receive the “Old Ironsides” Exemplary Service Award in recognition of his dedication to the USS Constitution Museum.

“It is an honor to be able to present these men who are distinguished in their own fields with these awards,” said Anne Grimes Rand, President of the USS Constitution Museum. “Each award has significant meaning and the recipients were thoughtfully selected for the contributions that they have not only made to our community, but also to the Museum and the preservation of history for future generations.”

The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution. Through collecting, preserving and interpreting the stories of “Old Ironsides,” the Museum is able to share the history of the ship and her crew with the public. Hands-on, interactive programs and exhibitions create a positive and memorable experience for all ages by inspiring within them appreciation for the freedom that Constitution symbolizes. For more information visit www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org.