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. Click the accordions to find out more information, including topic-specific resources.
- Excellence in African American History, Sponsored by the Maryland Commission on African American History and CultureThis award recognizes two projects that include research on the history and culture of African Americans.
For more information, see the website of the MCAAHC. For topics pertaining to this prize, look at our topic lists and the available research days at Morgan State University and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
- Excellence in Asian History, Sponsored by the UMBC History DepartmentThis prize recognizes one project on the subject of Asian history or the history of the Asian diaspora.
For inspiration for this topic, look to the Thinkport Inquiry Kits in World and U.S. History. The Maryland Historical Society also has documents relating to immigration into Baltimore; find more on their website. Thank you to the UMBC Department of History for sponsoring this prize.
- Excellence in Civic Action and Engagement, sponsored by the Maryland Council for Social StudiesThis 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 differences in the civic life of their community, state, or nation.
MDCSS works to build a community of social studies educators in the state of Maryland, and through this network advance cultural understanding, respect for human differences, and an appreciation of diversity.
- Barry A. Lanman Award for Excellence in Oral History, Sponsored by Barry LanmanThis 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 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.
Learn more about oral history in Maryland on the Martha Ross Center for Oral History website.
- Eugene J. Becker Award for Excellence in Cybersecurity and Cryptology, Sponsored by the National Cryptologic Museum and FoundationThis prize awards projects that include research on computer safety, codes, code breaking, and related topics.
For more information, check out the National Cryptologic Museum.
- George Washington Leadership Award, Sponsored by George Washington's Mount VernonGeorge 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
- Excellence in Historic Preservation, 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 Lara Westwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Excellence in the History of Science and Technology, sponsored by the UMBC Department of History
- Excellence in LGBTQ+ History, sponsored by Aaron HeinsmanThis prize is awarded to two projects that focus on areas of history related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), and other gender and sexual minorities. Priority will be given to projects that focus specifically on the arc of LGBTQ+ history, social movements, and the advancement of human rights.
- The Major General John E. Morrison Award for Excellence in Education and Innovation, sponsored by the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation
- Excellence in Maryland History, sponsored by the Maryland Center for History and CultureThis prize goes to projects that focus on topics in Maryland History. For inspiration, you can always visit the Maryland Center for History and Culture’s Website.
- Michael E. Patten Memorial History Award for the Best Use of Primary Sources, Sponsored by the Frank Patten FamilyThis prize is awarded in honor of Michael E. Patten. It goes to an outstanding project that makes significant use of primary sources. For more information on the Patten prize, as well as past winners please visit the Michael E. Patten Award website.
- Senator Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr. Award for Excellence in Government History, sponsored by Maryland HumanitiesThis prize goes to two projects focusing on government history. For inspiration, check out the Thinkport Inquiry Kits on U.S. Government.
- Excellence in Labor History, Sponsored by Bill Barry and friendsThis prize is awarded to projects on the history of labor, labor laws, political advocacy and organizing. For more inspiration, look at the CCBC Program in Labor History
- Excellence in Legal and Constitutional History, sponsored by Cynthia Raposo and Joseph FureyThis prize is awarded to two projects that focus on legal history, constitutional history, or both.
The Oyez website and the website of the National Archives in D.C. are two good sources for this project. If you want to do a local history project, ask your town hall or courthouse if they have archives you can access!
- Excellence in Women's History Prize, sponsored by the UMBC Department of History and the Maryland Women's Heritage CenterThis prize is awarded to two projects that focus on women’s history. For inspiration, check out the Women’s Heritage Center website.
- Excellence in White House History, sponsored by the White House Historical AssociationSponsored by the White House Historical Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Executive Mansion, this $400 prize is awarded to an outstanding project in both the Junior and Senior divisions that documents and analyzes White House history through such subjects as individual presidents, first ladies, residence staff, White House art and architecture, or important events that took place in the White House.
Consider lesser-known and even untold stories in White House history. Get started by reviewing the White House Historical Association’s suggested project starters and browsing through research they’ve started, including our Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood initiative.