National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded year-long educational program for middle- and high-school students that involves them in a competition to prepare a history project on a designated theme, culminating in state and national competitions. Each year, more than 600,000 students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a specified theme and conduct extensive primary- and secondary-source research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries – either individually or in groups. Students compete in state contests for the opportunity to compete in the national finals held in June at the University of Maryland.
In order to encourage the study of our maritime history, the National Maritime Historical Society offers Special Prizes for maritime-related projects at a number of National History Day state contests. In 2015, NMHS is offering Special Prizes in thirteen state contests. A feature link has been added to the NMHS website at http://seahistory.org/education/national-history-day, which gives an overview of this year’s contests, logistics, suggested maritime topics and a description of the NMHS prizes. NMHS is interested in partnering with other maritime organizations and museums in support of this excellent program.
Submitted by Ron Oswald, National Maritime Historical Society