Michael Ross

The Board of Governors of the Lycoming County Historical Society invites high school seniors to participate in the Society's eighth annual Richard L. and Miriam L. Swan Mix Student Historian Award competition. This award honors the lives of two dedicated educators and prominent local historians.

Since its fonding in 1907, the LCHS has promoted its mission to discover, collect, preserve and interpret the cultural heritage of our region. This competition provides Lycoming County high school students with the opportunity participate in the Historical Society's mission.

This competition invites seniors attending schools in Lycoming County to submit a four- to six-page essay which describes and interprets an object, artifact(s), or an exhibit displayed at the Historical Society's Taber Museum. The essay should include a description of the item(s) or exhibit and an interpretive explanation of how the chosen historical subject relates to modern life. Our goal is to encourage students to contemplate how the past can be such a significant and transformational influence on the present--and on the future.

Our 2020 winner, Alexandria McKenna of Montoursville, wrote the winning entry, Thoughtful Contemplation that Historical Lycoming County Bands and Music Industries at the Taber Museum Inspired in Me, concerning bands and music industries that once existed in Lycoming County.

The Taber Museum is filled with fascinating exhibits portraying our rich local history, and your senior students are guaranteed to find a wide array of interesting topics for consideration based upon the criteria listed below. A team of judges chosen by the Historical Society will determine the winner, and a cash prize of $500.00 will be awarded. The successful essayist will be recognized by the Lycoming County Historical Society at its annual meeting in April of 2021.

Participants are encouraged to undertake this project as soon as possible, in case of a future state-ordered lockdown which might necessitate the museum’s temporary closure.

Participant Information:

  1. Eligibility: Any senior attending school in Lycoming County is invited to submit an entry. One entry per student; essays become the property of LCHS and will not be returned.
  2. Due Date: Friday, April 2, 2021
  3. Announcement of Winner: Friday, April 16, 2021
  4. Cash Prize: $500.00
  5. Judging: The winner will be determined by a team of judges selected by the LCHS. All entries will be reviewed anonymously (essays will be identified by number, not by name). The decision of the judges is final.
  6. Contact Person: Submit questions to the museum staff (email: info@tabermuseum.org or phone 570-326-3326). You may submit your final essay via email to info@tabermuseum.org or present it in person at the front desk, LCHS Thomas T. Taber Museum, 858 West Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
  7. Theme: "The Taber—Today and Tomorrow" - How is the past (as displayed at The Taber Museum) connected to the present and to the future?
  8. Essay Requirements: Select an artifact or an exhibit displayed at the Taber Museum and write an essay in which you address the following:
    • Describe the object's/exhibit's appearance, the materials used in its construction and its use or importance.
    • What does this historical subject tell you about life in the past?
    • How is this historical subject similar to its modern counterpart?
    • How is this historical subject different from its modern counterpart?
    • How might this historical subject change in the future?
  9. Format: Your cover page must include a title, your name, your school, your email address and phone number. The essay must be at least 4 pages (1,000 words) and no longer than 6 pages (1,500 words), typed, double-spaced, 12-point font such as Geneva, Helvetica, Times, or New York (as a guide, consult appropriate MLA writing standards). Since the essay requires descriptive and interpretive language rather than formal academic research, any source materials used must be cited but a formal bibliography is not required.