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MHD Judges

Volunteers make Michigan History Day® possible.

Help us make Michigan History Day a success!

Every year, thousands of Michigan students grades 4-12 research and prepare projects on a range of historical topics for Michigan History Day (MHD). Students can present the results of their research in a variety of formats, from the traditional research paper to a documentary, an exhibit, a website, or a live performance! The MHD program combines the rigor of legitimate historical research with students’ creativity in presenting their research.

We need the help of individuals with an interest in history and education to serve as judges at the State Finals. The most important qualities for a judge are strong common sense and an enthusiasm for interacting with students. You should have a lively interest in history, but not necessarily a specific background in history. 

A judge listening to a student's presentation

Judges evaluate the participants’ entries and provide constructive feedback to the students. Usually, part of the judging process includes the opportunity to interview the students who created the projects. One of the pleasures of judging at MHD is meeting students who have a passion for their topic! 

Questions about judging? Please contact michiganhistoryday@hsmichigan.org for more information.

District contests need judges too! Visit the District Information page to see contests happening near you. Please reach out the District Coordinators to judge at their contests.

MHD Judges at the State Finals

Judge Resources

We provide training in how to judge the Michigan History Day entries, and you will be placed on teams with experienced judges. When you sign up to be a judge, you will indicate the categories that interest you. The resources below may help.

Annual Theme

Each year, National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. The 2021-2022 theme is Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences. A student's topic may focus on any geographic area, historical period, event, group, or individual, but it must relate back to the annual theme. Explore the 2022 NHD Theme Book to learn more about this year's theme.

Documentaries

A documentary uses audiovisual equipment to explain the project topic’s significance just like a professional documentary would set out to do. Documentaries typically use photographs, film, and audio recordings.

Documentary Evaluation Form (New for 2021-2022!)

Things to Remember:

  • May not be longer than 10 minutes
  • Students must film and edit production
  • The documentary must have recorded narration, not live narration
  • Credits must be shown at the end of the documentary
  • A process paper and annotated bibliography is required
  • See the Contest Rule Book for the complete set of rules.

Exhibits

An exhibit is a visual representation of the student's research and conclusions. It uses things such as writing, photos, quotations, and artifacts to explain the significance of your topic.

Exhibit Evaluation Form (New for 2021-2022!)

Things to Remember:

  • A 500 word limit applies to all text and video that is part of the exhibit. This includes titles, captions, etc. The limit does not apply to quotations.
  • A brief credit for all visual sources must appear on the exhibit itself.
  • The exhibit must be no larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high. Circular exhibits must be no more than 30 inches in diameter.
  • Media devices used in an exhibit must not run for more than two minutes.
  • A process paper and annotated bibliography are required. 
  • See the Contest Rule Book for the complete set of rules.

Papers

A paper is the traditional form of presenting historical research. Various types of creative writing (for example, fictional diaries, poems, etc.) are permitted, but must conform to all general and category rules.

Paper Evaluation Form (New for 2021-2022!)

Things to Remember:

  • No group entries - only individuals
  • Papers must be between 1,500  and 2,500 words
  • Citations are required
  • Double space and use 12-point font
  • A process paper and annotated bibliography are required.
  • See the Contest Rule Book for the complete set of rules. 

Performances

A performance is a dramatic portrayal of the topic’s significance in history. It should be scripted based on the student's research of the topic. A performance is allowed to feature fictional characters, but they need to be based on historical fact.

Performance Evaluation Form (New for 2021-2022!

Things to Remember:

  • A performance requires the same amount of research as the other categories
  • The play must be student-produced and students must set up any backgrounds and props on their own
  • May not be longer than 10 minutes
  • A process paper and annotated bibliography are required
  • See the Contest Rule Book for the complete set of rules

Websites

A website offers a great opportunity to create an interactive presentation of the topic. Students are required to create their website by using the National History Day website software (NHD WebCentral).

Website Evaluation Form (New for 2021-2022!)

Things to Remember:

  • There is a 1,200 word limit that applies to all student-composed words
  • Links to other websites should not be on thewebsite (except to point out where to download software plug-ins)
  • A process paper and annotated bibliography are required. They must be in PDF format and included as an integrated part of the website.
  • The website may contain multimedia clips that total no more than three minutes
  • All quotes and visual sources must be credited within the website
  • See the Contest Rule Book for the complete set of rules.
Michigan History and Chronicle magazine

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Did you know that the Historical Society of Michigan, organizer of Michigan History Day, offers memberships? A cost-effective way to receive our magazines, attend our conferences and programs, and absorb all of our historical offerings in one neat package, our HSM Memberships are a great deal. 

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