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Contest Rule Book

Section III B. Exhibits

An exhibit is a visual representation of your research and interpretation of your topic's significance in history, much like a small museum exhibit. The analysis and interpretation of your topic must be clear and evident to the viewer. Labels and captions should be used creatively with visual images and objects to enhance the message of your exhibit. Part II, Rules for all Categories applies to exhibits.

Rule 1: Size Requirements
The overall size of your exhibit when displayed for judging must be no larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high. Measurement of the exhibit does not include the table on which it rests; however, it would include any stand that you create and any table drapes. Circular or rotating exhibits or those meant to be viewed from all sides must be no more than 30 inches in diameter.


Rule 2: Media Devices
Media devices (e.g., tape recorders, projectors, video monitors, computers) used in an exhibit must not run for more than a total of 3 minutes and are subject to the 500 word limit (see below). Viewers and judges must be able to control media devices. Any media devices used must fit within the size limits of the exhibit. Any media devices used should be integral to the exhibit—not just a device to bypass the prohibition against live student involvement.

NOTE: For example, a brief excerpt from a taped student-conducted oral interview or a dramatic reading might be appropriate, but taped commentary or analysis is inappropriate.

Rule 3: Word Limit
There is a 500 word-limit that applies to all text created by the student that appears on or as part of an exhibit entry. This includes the text you write for titles, subtitles, captions, graphs, timelines, media devices (e.g., video, slides, computer files) or supplemental materials (e.g., photo albums, scrapbooks, etc.) where you use your own words.

NOTE: Reminder: Words in timelines or scrapbooks do count toward the limit if they are student composed.
NOTE: Be careful that your message is clear and contained on the exhibit itself; judges have little time to review supplemental material. Extensive supplemental material is inappropriate. For example, oral history transcripts, correspondence between you and experts, questionnaires, and other primary or secondary materials used as sources for your exhibit should be cited in your bibliography but not included as attachments to your bibliography or exhibit.

Category Checklist

Individual and Group (2-5 students)

  • No larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high when displayed
  • 3 copies (plus one for you) of written materials: title page with required information; 500 word description of the research methods used (a judging team may retain one copy for review)
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary sources
  • Exhibit addresses the theme
  • Title is clear and visible
  • Labels, captions, and titles include no more than 500 words
  • Has visual impact and shows interpretation
  • Names and addresses of all group participants listed on entry card
  • Entry card and fee mailed by deadline
  • Prepare to answer judges' questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions.)

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