This annual awards program was established in 2020 to recognize public, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations, including museums and individuals, who incorporate the history and heritage of the United States Navy into their publications, documents, and artifacts at their facilities. Organizations eligible for the program encourage and publicize scholarly, well-researched historical stories that depict the Navy’s history and heritage as well as preserve and maintain artifacts on loan from the Navy.

“These awards are for those museums that serve as force multipliers in informing the public of our Navy’s history and the importance of sea power to the security of the nation,” said NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, U.S. Navy rear admiral (retired).

This program supports and promotes effective programs in non-federal organizations for exhibits, artifacts, and historical research. The awards program of 2024 mark the third iteration of this annual awards program.

Applicants wishing to participate in the Navy History and Heritage Awards program may do so in one of three categories:

  • Navy History and Heritage Excellence Pennant (History “E”): Presented to the organization recognized for outstanding overall achievement in operations, including maintenance, curation/conservation, exhibitory, and Navy history education from organizations offering U.S. Navy-related programming to the public.
  • Maintenance Excellence Pennant (Maintenance “E”): Presented to the organization that has demonstrated greatest improvement in material condition over the past year of a macro artifact (a historic ship or aircraft).
  • Curatorial Excellence Pennant (Curatorial “C”): Presented to the organization that has achieved excellence in the curation of the collections in its care, including maintaining and interpreting Navy artifacts on loan from NHHC central and local collections.

The window for submissions covering the 2024 calendar year will open March 1 and close June 1.

Applications for each of the award categories are available on the NHHC website:

Further guidance on application submissions is available here:

The winners of NHHC’s 2022-2023 Museum Excellence Awards were:

History and Heritage Excellence Pennant:

  • Stockton Maritime Museum

Maintenance Excellence Pennant:

  • USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum
  • Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum
  • Independence Seaport Museum

Curatorial Excellence Pennant:

  • USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum


NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC comprises many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, 10 museums, USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus.



Note to Media: For more information, contact the Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs Office at 202-433-7880 or