National History Day

Special Prizes for Maritime Projects

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 half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary 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.

Watch a short video on National History Day 

National History Day MedalNational Maritime Historical Society offers special prizes for maritime-related projects

In order to encourage the study of our maritime history, the National Maritime Historical Society offers special prizes for maritime-related projects in 25 National History Day state contests. AL, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, LA, MA, ME, MI, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, RI, SC, TX, VA, WA and WI.  Don’t see your state listed here?  Let us know you’d like your contest to be considered for next year!

For information on participating as a judge, please email nmhs@seahistory.org.

Prizes for 1st Place

One each for middle and high school divisions: include a $150 cash scholarship (divided equally for group projects), a one-year membership in NMHS (which includes Sea History magazine), recognition on the NMHS website, and a certificate of achievement. The mentoring teacher also receives a one-year membership in NMHS and recognition on the NMHS website.

Prizes for 2nd Place

One each for middle and high school divisions: include a one-year membership in NMHS (which includes Sea History magazine), recognition on the NMHS website and a certificate of achievement. The mentoring teacher will also receive a one-year membership in NMHS and recognition on the NMHS website.

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The theme for 2019 is “Triumph and Tragedy”

2019 will be an exciting year for National History Day participants, with an abundance of maritime topics that fall nicely within this year's theme of Triumph & Tragedy!  Below is a list of suggested topics; please see the 2019 NHD Theme Book for more information.

Are you planning a project around a maritime topic and want to be considered for an award?  Let us know! >>

  • Maritime Topics from the 2019 NHD Theme Book:
    • D-Day: Triumph Despite Tragedy
    • Rerouting the Chicago River: An Engineering Triumph
    • Impressment of Sailors: An American Tragedy
    • Isabella, Ferdinand, and the Spanish Reconquista
    • The German U-Boats in the Battle of the Battle of the Atlantic
    • Christopher Columbus: Triumph or Tragedy
  • Great Naval Battles
    • Battle of Trafalgar
    • Battle of Jutland
    • Battle of the Philippine Sea
    • The Battle of Midway
  • The Titanic, Engineering Triumph to Human Tragedy
  • Construction of the Panama Canal (loss of life vs. engineering success and new trade route)
  • Henry the Navigator (began slave trade, but also opened up our knowledge of the world)
  • Murmansk Run
  • Shackleton’s Expedition
  • Opening the Northwest Passage
  • Sinking of USS Indianapolis and the ordeal of its survivors
  • The Dunkirk "Little Boat” evacuation of tens of thousands of soldiers
  • Mariel Boatlift