New River Gorge National River - NPS

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

2020 Hidden History Photo Contest

What This Program Is About: 

     This Hidden History Photo Contest is an exciting way to celebrate local heritage through the art of photography. Photos capture a moment in time, and the images selected for this regional exhibit will celebrate southern West Virginia’s rich history. 

     This contest is part of Hidden History Weekend, an annual southern West Virginia event. Designed to reveal the area’s hidden and not-so-hidden history, this event shows stories through free guided walks at historic sites, talks, performances that feature traditional arts, and exhibits — including the winning contest photographs. 

     2020 Hidden History Weekend is September 25 - 27. Enjoy FREE history programs conducted virtually and at several heritage sites throughout southern West Virginia. Event details will be available at as the schedule is solidified. 

Who May Participate: 

Entry AGE Divisions: adult, age 15 to 17, age 11 to 14, and age 6 to 10. 

Eligibility: amateur photographers who are West Virginia residents. An amateur photographer is defined as a person who receives less than 50% of their annual income through photography. 

Photograph Subject Categories: 

Historic Object: Photos that show a man-made object of historic significance. EXAMPLES: a miner’s lunch pail, lantern, or an old gravestone.

Historic Structure: Photos that show a building or structure of historic significance. EXAMPLES: a railroad depot, bridge, or farmhouse. 

Historic Landscape: Photos that show a scene of historic significance. EXAMPLES: a historic downtown streetscape, farmstead, or mining area.

Site on the National Register of Historic Places: Photos that show a site included in the National Register of Historic Places. EXAMPLES: Thurmond railroad depot, Kimball War Memorial, or Nuttallburg conveyor. Search for WV sites on the National Register by county at

Creative Interpretation: Photos that show the artist’s view of history. Advanced editing techniques can be used in this category. EXAMPLES: an abstract photo impression of a coal camp or a photo collage of a historic event.

2020 History Happenings: Photos that show a reflection of current cultural activities. History happens every day, so this subject category is in honor of the challenges our communities have met in 2020. History happened here before, with many of our heritage stories now preserved in parks. The challenges and camaraderie of day-to-day life in the coal towns of the early 1900s, labor strikes in the coalfields, the influenza pandemic of 1918, and social unrest in our communities are examples of that preserved past. Contest entries in this category must follow contest image location requirements. Inappropriate photographs may be disqualified at the discretion of contest coordinators. EXAMPLES: student studying nature on a park trail as part of a home school assignment, family life at home during state-wide stay-at-home order, people practicing appropriate social distancing/mask-wearing while recreating at a park site, local protests of social unrest, and community businesses finding new ways to operate following health and safety guidelines.

Event Staff: Photographers who are staff of any Hidden History Weekend event partner can only place entries in this category. This includes employees of the National Park Service, West Virginia State Parks, Tamarack, National Coal Heritage Area, or New River Gateway CVB. Any photo subject matter above can be used. These images are ineligible for Best in Show rating.

Entry Rules:

THINK SAFETY FIRST: Follow all laws and site regulations, respect the rights of private property owners, and practice Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics. 

Location of photo subjectS: All history-based photographs must be taken at one of the following locations: National Park Service sites of New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area, or Bluestone National Scenic River; West Virginia State Parks of Babcock, Bluestone, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield, Pipestem Resort, or Twin Falls Resort; or within the National Coal Heritage Area, which includes the counties of Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Lincoln, Logan, Mercer, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, and Wyoming, as well as the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek watersheds of Kanawha County. 

Image type and Number of Entries: Each photographer can submit two photographs per subject category, only one color image and/or only one black & white/sepia image per category. 

Employees of Hidden History Weekend event partners may only submit a photo in the “EVENT STAFF” category. This includes staff of the National Park Service, West Virginia State Parks, Tamarack, National Coal Heritage Area, and New River Gateway CVB. 

IMAGE Format: Each entry can have minimal image manipulation, such as cropping and exposure adjustments. Advanced techniques, such as cutting or pasting, that creates an end product that does not reflect the scene as it appeared in reality should not be used. The one exception to this rule is in the Creative Interpretation category where such manipulation is encouraged.

Submission size: All entries must be submitted online. Image files must be in JPG file format and be no smaller size than 1600 x 1200 pixels. 

ENTry requirement: All entries must be the original work of the photographer and taken within 18 months of the contest entry deadline.

Entry Deadline: All entries must be submitted to the online contest platform no later than September 7, 2020 by 11:59 pm. 

How to submit photographs: All entries must be submitted online using the contest entry platform through Submittable. Use the following link to connect to this contest entry platform.      

Review contest entry rules and then click on the link to connect to the online contest platform ( Once there, you will first need to set up a FREE account of you do not already have one, then follow the instructions to enter your submissions into the appropriate contest photograph subject categories. Hard copy photo entries will NOT be accepted.

Judging and Awards: 

Judging Criteria: Each entry will be judged on the basis of creativity, photographic quality, and effectiveness of image to convey the unique character of the region’s cultural history in the contest subject categories.

Judging Process: The contest jury panel will judge the entries. All decisions are final. First, second, and third place winners in each subject category and age division will be selected, in both color and black & white image types. One overall Best in Show image will also be awarded in each age division. 

Awards: Winning photos will be on exhibit at Tamarack in Beckley from September 24 to mid-November, 2020. This exhibit will also rotate through various museum locations in the National Coal Heritage Area over the winter. These photos will also be featured in an online exhibit at, the park web site for New River Gorge National River. 

Contest winners will be notified by email about their contest rating and the location where their image will be displayed during the rotating winter season exhibit. Contest winners will receive a certificate of appreciation by mail in addition to their work being on public display at Tamarack, online, and various regional museums throughout the winter. Best in Show winners in each age division will receive an additional award. The adult Best in Show photographer will receive a workshop registration and two-nights lodging for Twin Falls Resort State Park’s 2021 Spring Photography Workshop.    

Photographer’s Rights:

Photographer Rights: Each photographer will retain all rights to any photograph submitted including ownership if applicable, other than those rights licensed below.

Agency Rights: By entering this contest each photographer hereby grants to the National Park Service and the National Coal Heritage Area (i) a non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display the photographs submitted and selected as winning entries to this contest, (ii) the right to use the photographer’s name, city, and state of residence in promotions, publications, and (iii) the right to use the photographs for promotional and educational campaigns (with photographer photo credit).

Questions: Contact Jodi at 304-465-2632 or 

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE for contest entry:

· Read and follow all contest rules 

· Prepare entry following submission rules

· Follow the link to the online contest entry platform at­contest.htm to submit your entry 

· ONLINE ENTRY DEADLINE: September 7, 2020 by 11:59 pm

· NOTE: no entries by mail or physical delivery to the park will be accepted. Only online entries will be accepted to this contest.

· QUESTIONS: contact Jodi at or call 304-465-2632