Maryland Humanities Council

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Special Prizes

At the Maryland History Day state competition a number of special prizes are awarded.  Recipients of special prizes  receive a cash award and a plaque, and in some cases, award winners are invited to showcase their projects at special events and in museum and community settings.

Awards are determined by the Special Prize Committee, based on nominations made by judges as they review entries in both junior and senior divisions and in all categories.  

All projects, whether or not they are entries for special prizes, must address the annual National History Day theme.

Below is a list of Maryland Special Prizes, some of which require projects address a particular topic to win. However, students are not required to address one of the special prize themes below. There are also special prizes at National History Day.


African American History - sponsored by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture

Award for Excellence in Civic Action and Engagement - 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 - 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. 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. 

Emily Hoffman Award for Outstanding Documentary - sponsored by Amy Plummer and Kenneth Hoffman.These awards are made to documentary projects in the junior and senior divisions that are ranked first or second place and advance to National History Day.

Ethical Issues in History - sponsored by the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics, University of Baltimore.

George Washington Leadership Prize - sponsored by George Washington's Mount Vernon.This $350 prize will be awarded to a junior or senior division project, individual or group, that demonstrates a clear understanding of  Washington’s character, his demonstration of rights and responsibilities, and the ideas and events that defined his leadership in his roles as commander in chief of the Continental Army, presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, entrepreneur, and/or first president and connects his legacy to events and ideas of the 21st century.  Prize winners will cite source materials that clearly define their study of Washington in such a manner that they can identify leadership abilities reflected in their project.

Historic Preservation - sponsored by the Maryland Historical Trust. The Maryland Historical Trust prize is awarded to student projects that successfully recognize and encourage the protection, use and appreciation of Maryland's diverse history. Projects should focus on resources such as historic buildings, artifacts or objects, historic districts, landscapes, and land and underwater archeology sites. Projects might include research on historic battlefields, industrial buildings like mills or canning and packing houses, archeological evidence of Native American settlements, historic schools, or historic ships. There are many more 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

Judges James and Constantine Kit Sfekas Award for Law and Society - sponsored by the Honorable Stephen J. and Dr. Elizabeth Sfekas.

Labor History - 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 – sponsored by the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation.  This award is for outstanding projects that address topics related to the history of science and technology.

Maritime Heritage of the Chesapeake Bay – 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.  

The Mary Douglas Glasspool Special Award for Religious Freedomsponsored by Rev. Florence L. Ledyard, Rector, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. The award is given to recognize superlative Maryland History Day projects that explore the history and spirit of the development and practice of Religious Freedoms found in the many nations, cultures and peoples of the world.

Maryland History
- sponsored by the Maryland Association of History Museums.  

Maryland History - sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society.

Michael E. Patten Memorial History Award for the Best Use of Primary Sources - 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 - sponsored by the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society.

Milton Zaslow Award in Cryptology - 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 – 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 - 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 - 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

Women's History - sponsored by the History Department and the Genderand Women's Studies Programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Special Prizes Awarded at National History Day

For information, contact Judy Dobbs
Maryland Humanities Council
410-685-4185 or