Telling the stories of America’s river people and preserving our nation’s river history

America’s rivers have long carried the stories of men and women who have made and continue to make our history. Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Kennebec, Hudson, Potomac, Roanoke, Chattahoochee, Brazos, Colorado, Rio Grande…the names are many and ring out with poetry and love. These names elicit memories, songs, and stories that tell of the passion and lives of the people of ancient and modern cultures. Images are conjured that form our understanding of these natural and national treasures.

The National Rivers Hall of Fame was established in 1985 following twenty years of planning. One hundred and thirteen national advisors served as founders for the National Rivers Hall of Fame as it began the program to preserve the history of the men and women of the rivers of the continent.

The mission of the National Rivers Hall of Fame is to collect, preserve, and share the stories of the men and women who have made their lives on the rivers of America.

NRHF Trio


Hall of Fame Inductees

The National Rivers Hall of Fame lets you capture the drama of river people from all across America. Explore our nation’s rivers in the keelboat audio exhibit, enjoy the steamboat invention theater, then steer barges in a modern-day towboat pilothouse simulator.
Hall of Fame inductees are the pioneers, the explorers and the artists who are no longer living. They were movers and shakers from the days gone by and the recent past. These men and women made significant contributions related to America’s rivers and river industries, which is why we honor them.

Complete List of National Rivers Hall of Fame Inductees

John Bickel, Chairman
Don Hattery, Vice Chairman
Dave Tschiggfrie, Secretary
Scott Lawlor, Treasurer

Milt Avenarius
Kristin Bickel-Clark
Ana Bissell
Marian Bissell
Nat Bissell
Sam Bissell
Tom Bissell
Wally Brown
Capt. Michael Conklin
John Cooke
Teri Goodmann
Ike Hastings
Helen Kilgore
Dave Maloney
Sandy McDowell
Deb Mueller
Carter Newt
Paul Rhines
Doug Schlesier
Capt. Robert Staples
Capt. Kevin Stier
Capt. John Vaughn
Sue Walz
Mona Woodward

Achievement Award Winners

The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers. The National Rivers Hall of Fame is a part of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.

Complete List of National Achievement Award Winners

John M. Bickel  |   National Chair

Harry Cook  |  President Emeritus  |  National Waterways Conference, Washington, D.C.

Jack Custer  |  The Egregious Seamboat Journal, Louisville, KY

Tom Dunn  |  Gateway Riverboat Cruises, St. Louis, MO

Gary Frommelt  |  Horn Blower Marine, Corydon, IN

Berdon Lawrence  |  Chairman of the Board, Kirby Corporation, Houston, TX

Capt. Charlie Lehman  |  American Commercial Barge Lines (retired), Jeffersonville, IN