Now that you mention it Chris C, I have a very vague recollection about something like that as well but I'll be danged if I've been able to find it again anywhere. Now I'm wondering if maybe it is something I saw on some OTHER challenge entirely. Most challenges do post the submissions for public review.
In any case, when I realized that no one from NEH had ever bothered to respond to any of the other questions raised on this discussion board, I figured that means that no one at NEH has been given the responsibility of paying any attention here so my question isn't likely to get a response either. So I hunted up the the original news story where NEH announced the medal design competition and found the "media contact" person's (Paula Wasley) email address and sent her the following message:
" I doubt that you are the proper person to whom this should be directed but your name was given as the media contact when the competition was originally announced so I'm hoping you can forward my question to the correct individual at NEH. The competition for the National Humanities Medal has now closed. I understand that the winning design will be selected from among the entrants by a team of expert artists however, it would be nice to be able to view all the submitted entries. Can the submissions please be made public?"
Maybe if enough of us contact her, she'll actually pass the message along and we'll get some kind of response!
Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org Or, if you feel really strongly, you could even call her. Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424
Hello everyone in this discussion,
I am sorry if you had the understanding that the submissions were going to be posted for public viewing or voting, but that was never the case. There are many competitions on challenge.gov that do post publicly, so that may be where the confusion began. If you have any questions you can e-mail me directly at email@example.com. My phone number is 202-606-8441.
National Endowment for the Humanities
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20506
It would seem that an open competition to redesign a public (federal) medal would also allow the public to express their preferences on the various designs -- even if the judges intend to ignore the public consensus. Why should the review process be secret? It doesn't seem to fit with the participatory concept of this program. But hey, that is just my humble opinion.