The National Maritime Historical Society

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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.  For a short video on National History Day, click here.

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.

The theme for 2018 is “Conflict and Compromise.”  Topics may focus on any place (local, national, or world history) and any time period.   The NHD Website poses some great questions to spark ideas.  Below is also a list of suggested Maritime Conflict and Compromise topics.  (Do you have other suggestions to add?  Email them to nmhs@seahistory.org!)

  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973
  • The Amistad Incident and Trial
  • Maritime boundary treaties and territorial claims
    • Territorial disputes in the South China Sea
    • Treaty of Tordesillas
  • The Boston Tea Party
  • Chesapeake-Leopard affair and the Embargo of 1807
  • Environmental topics, including:
    • The Oyster Wars and enforcement against illegal dredging
    • Fishing rights, environmentalism, and the establishment of oyster (or marine) sanctuaries
    • Greenpeace’s boat, Rainbow Warrior , and the environmentalist movement
  • Quasi-War
  • British Acts of Trade and Navigation (and consequences)
    • Molasses Act 1733
    • Sugar Act 1764
  • Teddy Roosevelt and Panama Canal
  • Conflict at Sea – Spanish Armada
  • Battle of Marathon
  • English-French disputes over North Atlantic fishing


Congratulations to our Maritime Prize Awardees for Their Winning Projects!

2017 Winning Projects
2016 Winning Projects
2015 Winning Projects
2014 Winning Projects
2013 Winning Projects
2012 Winning Projects
2011 Winning Projects