The National Rivers Hall of Fame honors and preserves the memory of those whose connection to inland waterways merit special recognition. 

The Hall of Fame was founded on the belief that rivers and their advocates are major catalysts for the economic and cultural development of America. Established in 1985, the organization joined the Dubuque County Historical Society to be the permanent home for its collections, stories, and exhibits on these impactful individuals.

Iowan John P. Bickel brought the National Rivers Hall of Fame to Dubuque. His concept of a Hall of Fame Museum that presented river stories began in the late 1970s, but it was not until the partnership with DCHS that it found a permanent home. Working cooperatively these two entities used their resources to focus on river life, the impact of the Mississippi River, and the river town history of Dubuque. The first exhibit that opened because of this partnership was The River Adventure in 1988. With the opening of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in 2003, the National Rivers Hall of Fame found a home in the National River Center. The organization continues to work with members of DCHS to identify stories and persons of interest to induct into the Hall of Fame. 

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National Rivers Hall of Fame Achievement Award Honorees

The Hall of Fame awards contributions posthumously to individuals who made significant contributions to America's waterways, while the Achievement award recognizes current supporters of our waterways.

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National Rivers Hall of Fame Board

  • John M. Bickel, Chairman
  • Don Hattery, Vice Chairman
  • Dave Tschiggfrie, Secretary 
  • Kristin Bickel-Clark
  • Ana Bissell
  • John Bissell
  • Wally Brown
  • Capt. Michael Conklin
  • Jerry Enzler
  • Teri Goodman
  • Helen Kilgore
  • Dave Maloney
  • Dean Millius
  • Carter Newt
  • Jeremy Putman
  • Capt. Robert Staples
  • Capt. Kevin Stier
  • Jon Tschiggfrie
  • Capt. John Vaughn
  • Mona Woodward


National Rivers Hall of Fame Advisory Board

  • John M. Bickel
National Chair
  • Dr. John Anfinson,
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Superintendent (retired), Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • Tom Dunn, Gateway Riverboat Cruises, St. Louis, MO
  • Gary Frommelt, City Cruises/City Experiences, Chicago, IL
  • Michael Hagan,
American Commercial Barge Line (retired), Jeffersonville, IN
  • Berdon Lawrence, Chairman of the Board, Kirby Corporation, Houston, TX
  • Chad Pregracke, Living Lands & Water, Founder