Special Prizes

At the Maryland History Day state competition a number of special prizes are awarded. Awards are determined by the Special Prize Committee, based on nominations made by judges. However, students can self-nominate when they register for the state contest.

Below is a list of Maryland Special Prizes, some of which require projects that address a particular topic to win.

Name of Prize Prize Sponsor Prize Description
African American History Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture Sponsored by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture which is committed to discovering, documenting, preserving, collecting, and promoting Maryland’s African American heritage.
Award for Excellence in Civic Action and Engagement Maryland Council for Social Studies Sponsored by the Maryland Council for Social Studies. This prize is awarded to an outstanding entry whose research and presentation relates to an individual, group or organization that worked toward and succeeded in making a difference in the civic life of their community, state or nation.
Barry A. Lanman Award for Oral History Excellence Martha Ross Center for Oral History, University of Maryland Baltimore County Sponsored by the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, University of Maryland Baltimore County. This award is presented to recognize exemplary student participants for high academic performance and technical skill in the creation of new oral history research or for the use of existing oral history resources in the completion of a Maryland History Day project. Students either conduct the oral history interviews as a part of their research or use existing oral history interviews in the collections of libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums. The award is established, on behalf of the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, as a lasting tribute to honor the distinguished career of Barry A. Lanman who has dedicated his professional life to the mentoring of students, the improvement of education, and the development of oral history as a distinct practice.
Dr. Dean Mesologites Award for Medicine and Society The Honorable Stephen J. Sfekas and Dr. Elizabeth Sfekas Sponsored by the Honorable Stephen J. and Dr. Elizabeth Sfekas
George Washington Leadership Prize George Washington’s Mount Vernon George Washington stood at the center of the world stage through the second half of the 18th century and has continued to do so since his death in 1799.  He played a pivotal role in every major event surrounding the founding of our nation in his roles as Commander in Chief, president at the Constitutional Convention, citizen farmer, and the President of the United States of America.  His actions have been examples of civic responsibility, patriotism, and historic complexity over time and remain relevant in national dialogue today.  This $350 prize will be awarded to an outstanding project in either the junior or senior division that demonstrates a clear understanding of the ideas and events defined by Washington’s life, leadership, and legacy.  In addition to outstanding historical interpretation, we award special consideration to projects that seek innovative and compelling ways to tell the story of George Washington so that his timeless and relevant life is accessible to the world.  http://www.mountvernon.org/
Historic Preservation Maryland Historical Trust Sponsored by the Maryland Historical Trust. This prize is awarded to projects in which students have involved the identification and evaluation of historical and cultural resources as part of their research methodology or whose projects are designed to encourage the protection of historical and cultural resources. Projects should focus on resources such as historic buildings, artifacts or objects, historic districts, landscapes, and land and underwater archaeology sites. Projects might include research on historic battlefields, industrial buildings like mills or canning and packing houses, archaeological evidence of Native American settlements, historic schools, or historic ships. Although a connection to Maryland cultural resources is desirable, it is not required. There are many possibilities for research on historic preservation through museums and historical societies. Students who wish to do research at the Maryland Historical Trust Library may contact mdesarran@mdp.state.md.us.
Judges James and Constantine Kit Sfekas Award for Law and Society  The Honorable Stephen J. Sfekas and Dr. Elizabeth Sfekas  Sponsored by the Honorable Stephen J. and Dr. Elizabeth Sfekas
Labor History  Community College of Baltimore County Labor Studies Program  Sponsored by the Community College of Baltimore County Labor Studies Program.
Legal and Constitutional History  Sponsored by a generous supporter of the humanities.
The Major General John E. Morrison Award in Excellence and Innovation National Cryptologic Museum Foundation Sponsored by the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation. This award is for outstanding projects that address topics related to the history of cyber, science, technology, engineering and math.
Maritime Heritage of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Committee of the Maryland Historical Society Sponsored by the Maritime Committee of the Maryland Historical Society. This award is presented to an outstanding project in the Senior Division that focuses on the maritime heritage of the Chesapeake Bay, its watershed, and tributaries. Projects may address all aspects of maritime history in the region, from prehistoric contexts to contemporary history, including but not limited to archaeological research, heritage lifeways (e.g., watermen, oystering), historic watercraft (e.g., construction, iconic vessels), and military history.
Maryland History Maryland Historical Society Sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society
Michael E. Patten Memorial History Award for the Best Use of Primary Sources Frank Patten Family Sponsored by the Frank Patten Family. One award is given to an individual or group project from a public school in the Senior Division, and an award is also made to the school of the winning student(s).
Military History Historical Miniatures Gaming Society Sponsored by the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society.
Milton Zaslow Award in Cryptology National Cryptologic Museum Foundation Sponsored by the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation. Topics might include the use of computers in cryptology, the impact of the National Security Agency, use of signals intelligence, Navaho Code Talkers, cryptology in the ancient world, and computer security. Students who wish to do research at the National Cryptologic Museum may contact the Museum library.
Naval and Maritime History Naval Order of the United States, National Capital Commandery Sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States, National Capital Commandery. The award is given to an outstanding entry in any category dealing with naval or maritime history, either U.S. or International, to include that of the United Sates Navy, United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, United States Public Health Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration or United States Merchant Marine.
Peace Study Center Prize Peace Study Center Sponsored by the Peace Study Center, Baltimore. The Peace Study Center Prize is given to entries that best examine the aesthetics of peace, justice, or non-violence as a way to sustain our earth, promote global awareness and support the dignity of all persons.
History of Science and Technology Human Context of Science and Technology Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Sponsored by the Human Context of Science and Technology Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Senator Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr. Award for Excellence in Government History Sponsored by Maryland Humanities
Women’s History

History Department, University of Maryland Baltimore County

&

The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center

The junior division prize is sponsored by the History Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The senior division prize is sponsored by the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center.
  • “It provided an opportunity for my child to learn through experiential opportunities. He had interviews and tours that were relevant to his topic that helped the history come alive and create unforgettable memories.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Parent
  • “Maryland History Day challenged my daughter to go deeper, deeper in research analysis and presentation. It took her to a whole new level academically.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “MHD illustrated the applicability of the study of history to contemporary issues and current events. It was very motivating to converse with the students about their historical topic and observe how they applied it to current events and their own life circumstances.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “By using a variety of sources, I was able to get angles on my topic that I wasn’t able to before. Also, I learned so much about a topic near and dear to my heart that will enrich my learning later in life.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • I’ve loved judging! It’s exciting to see the passion the middle schoolers have put in their projects. I hope that my critiques have helped strive for excellence throughout their lives.

    Dee Krasnansky, Maryland History Day Judge
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “[My son] became a real expert in his topic and, he says, developed a life-long love of history, especially the history of music. I cannot thank you enough for this rare and incredible opportunity.”

    Andrea LeWinter, parent of Maryland History Day participant
  • “The students are now far more prepared for the high level of scholarship and achievement that will be expected of them in future years. MHD also elevated many other skills too. These include public speaking, the use of technology, learning to collaborate.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
  • “The researching and communicating skills have made me a more confident person in all academic endeavors. These are skills that will last me a lifetime.”

    ​Maryland History Day student participant
  • “The part of History Day that had the most impact on me was seeing all the other entries and entry categories. It was really inspiring to see so many different people of history honored for their leadership and legacy as that was this years theme. You forget that the whole world has a history and there are so many different people and leaders who make up that history. The fact that this day brings together all of us students, our imaginations, our creativity, research skills, and history really reminds you how much of us would be lost if we didn’t remember those who made an impact.”

    ​Maryland History Day student participant
  • “My students became more competent researchers, and took ownership of their work. They had total free reign to choose their topic, direct their research, and create their final project.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Teacher
  • “I think the continual process of improving her research and presentation through the various levels of competition has been incredibly valuable. It has caused her to dig deeper in her research and build upon and refine her work and presentation.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “The thing that had the most impact were the skills that I got from this project. I developed better hunting skills in terms of looking for reliable sources and I also learned to work hard and not procrastinate to achieve something great.”

    Maryland History Day student participant
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day student
  • “[The students] learned a variety of ways to present their material and they could focus on what they wanted to learn about. The students had a choice in their learning. It was about their learning NOT what someone else felt they need to learn.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
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