2021 Maine 4-H Virtual Exhibit Hall Guidelines

General Information | Judging According to the Danish System | Exhibit Elements | Exhibit Hall Project Categories

8/5/2021 Update: A new music category has been added to this year’s Exhibit Hall! Check out the description below for more information.

Download the Maine 4-H Virtual Exhibit Hall Guidelines, 2021 (PDF)

Participation in the Maine 4-H Virtual Exhibit Hall is an opportunity for 4-H members to be recognized for their efforts on projects they have completed and skills they have gained over the past 4-H year. Club members and independent 4-Hers from Maine are eligible and welcome to submit entries to the Exhibit Hall, following virtual 4-H state fair rules.

hand crafted birdhouseGeneral Information

Setting up the Exhibit Hall

You must submit your exhibits to the state 4-H exhibit hall staff between now and August 31, 2021. Exhibits will be organized by category in the virtual hall. Photos of your work should be taken according to the Photo Tip Sheet. You must name your file with your first and last name and the category you want to submit (i.e.; chris clover communication arts). Written projects can be uploaded as doc., docx., or PDF format. Photos should be jpg. format. Videos are limited to three (3) minutes. If an accommodation is needed to enter an exhibit (such as help with photographing or internet connectivity), please contact your county office staff. Three (3) project exhibits allowed per member. A separate entry form must be submitted for each project. Up to three (3) photos of each exhibit is allowed. Instructions for entering and uploading your projects will be sent when your online registration form is received.


All current 4-H members, including Independent members, in Maine are eligible to exhibit their projects in the State Virtual Exhibit Hall.

4-H Rules and Exhibit Guidelines for Individuals

  1. Entries are open to all enrolled 4-H members aged 9 to 18 (4-H age) in any county in Maine. 4-H members aged 5 to 8 (4-H age) are considered Cloverbuds. 4-H Cloverbuds may submit entries for non-competitive display to the exhibition hall if they are currently enrolled in 4-H.
  2. 4-Hers may exhibit only those items that are produced and/or prepared by him/her during the current 4-H year (after October 1, 2021). NO KITS will be accepted, except in “Sewing & Needlecraft” or “Building Models” project categories. By a “KIT”, we mean articles made of pre-cut or pre-formed pieces that are only assembled by the 4-Her.
  3. Members may enter up to 3 exhibits (see project categories below).
  4. Exhibit hall entry will be completed online. Each exhibit must have its own completed 4-H Exhibit/Judging online form. Up to three (3) photos of each exhibit is allowed. Notice to Leader or Parent: Any special circumstances, such as a learning or physical disability, should be noted by an explanation in the space provided on the form.
    1. IMPORTANT: When filling out your entry form, pay special attention to your reflection. Your reflection of your exhibit is how the audience and judges will connect with your project. What did the project mean to you? What did you learn in the process of completing your project? What special skills were necessary to complete the project? See examples of reflections here.
  5. Instructions for entering and uploading your projects will be sent when your online registration form is received.
  6. Artwork and projects should be photographed according to the Photo Tip Sheet. Photographed submissions should follow the guidelines for the appropriate project category (see below).
  7. NEW THIS YEAR: Video submissions are allowed in certain project categories. Video length is limited to three (3) minutes in the following categories: Communication Arts, Music, Photography and Film, and Reading, Writing, and Recitation.
  8. Exhibits will be accepted between now and August 31, 2021. Items not submitted during this time period will not be entered into the virtual exhibit hall.
  9. Judging will be done on the “Danish System.” Each worthy exhibit will be awarded a ribbon based on how well it displays the appropriate skills for a member’s age and skill level, with the exception of Cloverbuds. Cloverbuds will receive a participation ribbon for every item they exhibit in the Virtual Exhibition Hall. Cloverbuds will not be included in the judging process. No premiums are being awarded for participation in the Virtual Exhibition Hall, however, ribbons will be awarded and an associated number of “chances” will be entered for drawings. Ex: blue ribbon = 3 chances, red ribbon = 2 chances, white ribbon = 1 chance. All cloverbuds will be entered automatically. Keep in mind that quality is being judged, not quantity.
  10. Prizes. Youth will be entered in randomized drawings for $25 gift cards. These prizes were provided by the Maine 4-H Foundation. Cloverbuds will have their own drawing. Youth ages 9 and up will be entered based on their ribbons. Blue ribbons will be entered three times, Red ribbons will be entered two times and white ribbons will be entered once. Gift cards will be mailed directly to youth.

Judging According to the Danish System

The Danish system is a method of evaluation where a product or process is evaluated against a set of standards, and recognition is awarded on the degree to which the standard has been met by each competitor. In Danish system judging, the exhibitors are not judged against each other. In a ‘true’ Danish system, the standard of excellence is the same for everyone regardless of age or experience. In 4-H, a ‘modified’ Danish system uses standards that are adjusted according to a member’s age and years of experience in the project. The Danish system is used in 4-H for 9 through 18 year olds because it is a way to provide recognition to greater numbers of youth who may all be making significant progress in their projects. The Danish system is considered by National 4-H Policy to be a competitive form of judging and is therefore not to be used for 4-H members under the age of 9.

In Maine 4-H, ribbons traditionally awarded by the Danish system are:

  • Blue: for excellence, exceeding the standards
  • Red: for good work that meets the expected standard
  • White: for work that falls below the expected standard

All Judgements will be final.

Exhibit Elements

Posters: For a digital poster, please visit our tipsheet page to find templates to use for your poster. Posters can include photographs taken by the member (or have permission to use), hand drawings, or copyright-free images.

girl holding fresh vegetablesExhibit Hall Project Categories

Art & Craft—2D and 3D

  • Any original drawing or painting
  • Any original sculpture
  • Any item hand-crafted by 4-Her including (but not limited to) the use of skills in: Candle/Soap Making, Decorative Painting/Tole Painting, Paper Mache, Basketry, Ceramics/Pottery, Jewelry Making, etc.

Building Models

  • Model built with store bought kit (lego, lincoln logs, k’nex) following kit instructions.


  • Model built using existing blocks to create your own design or masterpiece.

Citizenship, Community Service, & Leadership

  • A project in citizenship, community service or leadership.

Communication Arts

The activity of conveying ideas written or verbal. Projects in this category should cover any form of communication including public speaking, journalism, etc.

  • A written project limited to a single page.
  • A video submission must be three (3) minutes or less.


  • A recipe or group of recipes including title, list of ingredients and amounts in order of their addition, and instructions for preparation. Can include a photo or illustration of a prepared dish.


  • A business model, the development of your own product, or examples of marketing of your own product.

Fiber & Needlecraft

  • Any fiber or fabric item hand-crafted by 4-Her using skills in: sewing, weaving, knitting, crochet, macrame, needlepoint, embroidery, fabric painting, felting, spinning, etc.


  • A poster depicting what has been done in a music project during the current 4-H year.
  • An original song* written by the 4-H member, presented as sheet music, with or without lyrics. (single page limit)
  • A video of a musical performance* featuring the 4-H member. Video must be three (3) minutes or less.

*Project title must include the name of the piece and the composer (even if it’s an original piece that the 4-H’er created themself!).

Photography & Film

  • Photo: Black and white or color single photo of high quality, illustrating techniques of photography (rule of thirds, good lighting, special effects, etc.)
  • Film: An original animated or live-action short film or documentary. Video must be three (3) minutes or less.

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

An object created using mainly items that have had a previous purpose (e.g. a shelf made from old barn boards, a handbag from a feed bag)
A restored object, such as a small piece of furniture that has been repaired and/or refinished.


Animal Care/Veterinary Science

  • Depict your project about the care of an animal (livestock or pet)
  • Any item made for an animal (g. tack box)
  • Any animal product (g. 6 clean eggs or a sheepskin vest)
  • Depiction of the parts of an animal, animal health, genetics and/or nutrition

Aquatic Life

  • Project concerning aquatic life (freshwater or marine)
  • Aquaculture/Aquaponics—Rearing aquatic animals and/or cultivating aquatic plants for food. Projects in this category should reflect work in this category.

Computer Science

  • A single digital 2-D art piece
  • A 3-D printed object
  • Depict something the member learned related to computers (hardware, software coding, web design, etc.)

Conservation, Ecology & Natural Resources

  • A project about conservation or ecological issues
  • A project showing conservation practices (g. recycling, logging, water quality)
  • Item made from something found in nature (g. log made into a birdhouse or bench)


  • Explain how an existing process or product works.
  • Illustrate a plan for a new process or product (or an improvement on an existing one) created by the member.
  • A new product prototype (or an improvement on an existing product) built by the member. Include an explanation of the problem-solving process to create it.


  • Research or demonstrate types of energy such as solar, geothermal, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, coal, fuel oil, renewable, or research of energy efficiency.


  • Labeled display of drawings or photos of insects
  • Photo of a specimen exhibit neatly mounted and labeled with specimen’s name, date and location collected


  • Project about geology (study of rocks and minerals)
  • Photo of a specimen exhibit neatly labeled with specimen’s name, date and location collected


  • Project about your geocaching or GPS adventure
  • A map or chart created using GIS technology

Human Health & Nutrition

  • Project promoting health and wellness, such as nutrition, benefits of exercise, emotional health, sports health, etc.
  • Project about first aid and/or emergency preparedness

Mechanical Science

  • Depiction of a part or entire mechanical system; labeled, with explanation of the item’s function. (g. a car exhaust system, a starter, etc.)
  • Depiction of a piece of machinery or mechanical system that the member built, renovated, repaired, or is in the process of doing so. (i.e. a car exhaust system, a string trimmer, an entire tractor, etc.)

Plant Science & Crops/Botany

  • Depiction of plant science or farming
  • Photo of sample vegetables, crops or fruits grown by the member:
  • Berries or grains – 1 pint
  • Small vine crops (g. beans, peas) – 10 specimens
  • Large vine crops (g. cucumbers, pumpkins, squash) – 1 specimen
  • Root crops (g. potatoes, carrots) – 3 specimens
  • Vegetables grown in heads (g. broccoli, cabbage) – 1 specimen
  • Other vegetables (g. corn, tomatoes, peppers) – 3 specimens
  • Flower Gardening and Houseplants grown by the member
  • Garden flower plants
  • Potted house plants
  • Potted herbs

Wildlife Biology

  • Project about wildlife that you studied
  • Casts of tracks you made
  • Items made for wildlife use (g. birdhouses or feeders)

Woodworking & Metalworking

  • A project built from wood
  • A carved project
  • A wood-burning project
  • A detailed woodworking plan
  • An object made primarily from metal using a process such as metal machining, welding, forging, etc.

Writing, Reading, & Recitation

  • A poem (single page limit)
  • A short story (only first page of story will be on display)
  • A list of books read this 4-H year with a short synopsis for each (single page limit)
  • A video of the member reciting a poem, short story, or original work. Video submission must be three (3) minutes or less.