Rules for Participating in the Competition

Eligibility.  To be eligible to win a prize under this competition, you—

a)  Must register to participate in the competition under the Official Rules promulgated by NEH;

b)  Must comply with all the requirements listed here and the America COMPETES Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-358);

c)  Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States and 18 years of age or older before the submission period ends;

d)   May not be a Federal employee acting within the scope of your employment; and

e)   May not be an employee of NEH or an immediate family member (spouse, parents or step-parents, siblings and step-siblings, children and step-children, and household members).

  1. If you are a Federal grantee, you may not use Federal funds to develop applications for this competition unless such use is consistent with the purpose of your grant award.
  2. If you are a Federal contractor, you may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop or fund efforts in support applications for this competition.
  3. You may use Federal facilities or consult with Federal employees during the competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all  contestants participating in the competition on an equitable basis.
  4. NEH will accept submissions from single individuals only and not from entities or groups of individuals. You may, however, submit more than one entry
    if you have developed more than one unique medal design.

Insurance and Indemnification

a)   By participating in this competition, you agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in this competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.  Provided, however, that you are not required to waive claims against NEH arising out of the unauthorized use of or disclosure by NEH of your intellectual property or confidential information.

b) By participating in this competition, you agree to indemnify the Federal government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to competition activities.

c)  Based on the subject matter of the competition, the type of work that it will possibly require, and an analysis of the likelihood of any claims for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss potentially resulting from participation, NEH does not require you to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to
participate in this competition.

Intellectual Property Rights.

a) By submitting a design to the competition, you represent and warrant that you are the sole author and owner of the submitted design.  Designs must be your original work, and must not violate or infringe the rights of other parties, including but not limited to privacy, publicity, or intellectual property rights, or material that constitutes copyright or license infringement. Your design may not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, defamatory, or in any way disparaging. Your design cannot have been submitted previously in another promotion or contest of any kind.

b)  You understand and agree that if your entry is selected as the winning design, it may be modified or altered by NEH, in its sole discretion, as deemed appropriate or necessary to execute, produce, or distribute the winning design in its final medal format.

c)  The winning contestant will, in consideration of the prize to be awarded, grant to NEH an irrevocable, royalty-free, exclusive worldwide license to reproduce, distribute, copy, display, create derivative works, and publicly post, link to, and share, the winning design or parts thereof, for the purpose of the competition and for any official NEH purpose. Non-winning contestants will retain intellectual property rights in their designs.

  1. NEH reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the competition for any reason, which includes the right to decline to select a winning design if NEH determines that no submission satisfactorily meets the selection criteria.
  2. By participating in this competition, you are providing your full and unconditional agreement to abide by the rules set forth by the Humanities Medal Design Competition Official Rules found at 


GUIDELINES FOR JUDGES:  Prize Contests Under the America COMPETES Act
National Humanities Medal Design Competition


General Guidelines for Judges:

All individuals serving as judges under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-358) (the “Act”), regardless of employment status, are subject to specific ethics requirements set forth in the Act. According to the Act, judges are those persons who “select the winner or winners of a prize competition.” 

Judges may not:

-          have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any entity that is a registered participant in a competition; or

-          have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered participant.

In addition, Federal employees outside of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), who are acting within the scope of their official duties when serving as a judge for a NEH competition under the Act, remain subject to the ethics regulations applicable to their agencies.

Judging the National Humanities Medal Design Competition:

The Chairman of NEH has appointed a panel of qualified judges to select the winner of the National Humanities Medal Design Competition. The panel is comprised of three distinguished individuals from outside NEH, selected for their expertise in the fields of art, sculpture, and minting.  A short biography for each judge appears on the website.

Before providing any submitted designs to the panel of judges, NEH staff members will initially review all submissions to ensure that they are minimally competitive and that judges can apply the criteria described below.  To ensure that the judging process is fair and impartial, judges will conduct a blind review of those submissions and advise the Chairman of NEH, who will choose the final winning design.

Judges will evaluate the submitted designs on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Design relates to the humanities:  The subjects and ideas of the humanities—literature, history, philosophy, and others—need to be conveyed in the design of the medal. This may be done through realistic or abstract design.


  1. Design will translate into a three-dimensional medal:  Ultimately, the design needs to be translated into a three-dimensional medal. A winning design, which may be two-dimensional, will have to be adapted by an artisan in order to create a sculpture for the medal. Can this design become a bas-relief medal?


  1. Design can be replicated:  Between ten and twelve medals need to be struck each year to present to National Humanities Medalists. Can this design be replicated successfully, without excessive cost, for many years to come?


  1. Beauty of design:  Is the design graceful, elegant, and to be cherished by its recipient? Is it worthy of a Presidential medal?