The Ocean City Historical Society hopes to attract more youth with contests. Voters can win prizes to area businesses with this T-shirt contest going on through May 30. By Maddy VitaleThe Ocean City Historical Museum is looking to the future to collect more of the past with a T-shirt contest, that museum members say, is designed to generate more interest by young people in artifacts, photographs and other items that make Ocean City a special place to live.Beth Bowman, a museum Board of Trustees member, created the contest last year.“Everybody loves a T-shirt. It is a way for kids to get involved in museum,” Bowman said Friday.Last year the contest raised $1,000. The proceeds went back into the museum. This year, the hope is to top that figure, she said.The contest categories are commercial, creative, comedic and vintage. This year, about 50 T-shirts were entered in the contest, which closed at the end of April. It opened to the public for voting May 8 at the museum and runs through May 30. But there has been less interest in it than museum officials hoped.Bowman stressed that just $1 donation to the museum includes a ballot where people can vote in all four categories. Winners will be announced May 30 and all T-shirts will be returned to their owners after the contest. Part of the allure, Bowman said, should be the exciting and fantastic prizes people could win just by casting their votes for a certain shirt. Voters earn chances to win prizes from the many contest sponsors which include, Johnson’s Popcorn, Jon & Patty’s Restaurant, Arlene’s Restaurant, Oves Seafood & Beach Grill Restaurant, Surfers Supplies and 7th Street Surf Shop.“Come out and support the museum and your friend’s T-shirt,” Bowman said. “This contest is all about creating fun and a buzz for the museum.”She added, “We really want the community – specifically the young people – to get involved and have a better understanding of the history of Ocean City and the importance of it. We want people to save mementos they think the museum would be interested in.”Bowman joked that people should never throw anything out unless they check with the museum. The museum is always looking for old photographs. The museum is always seeking old photographs.She said not only is the donation for a good cause, but the contest is a lot of fun.“One dollar gives you the opportunity to vote in four categories. Support your favorite shirt and still be able to vote in the other categories,” Bowman said. “You’re able to vote as often as you like, and there is no limit on the amount of votes you can put in for your favorite shirts. You can’t beat that.”Bowman commended the business community for sponsoring the event.“They have entered their T-shirts and given us certificates for prize money in all four categories,” Bowman said. “This contest wouldn’t be possible without them.”Museum volunteer Carol Dotts credited Bowman for coming up with the idea for a what she called a wonderful and fun contest.“It really is getting the buzz out that history is fun,” Dotts said. “We would like people to come out and vote for their favorite T-shirts because Ocean City is their home for history. Whatever they can do to help tell the story is so important.”Dotts said the hope is by creating fun youth-friendly events at the museum such as the contest, the more people will provide artifacts to display there.“We really want to promote the history of Ocean City,” Dotts said.She said the museum is always looking for more photographs.“People come in looking for photos of what their home looked like 30 years ago, and it isn’t here. We have a great photo collection, but it could be so much bigger. If you have a photo we can make a copy and you could keep the original. Photos really help tell a story.”For more information about the contest call The Ocean City Historical Museum at 609-399-1801. The museum is located in the Ocean City Community Center at 1735 Simpson Ave. The Ocean City Historical Museum is in the Community Center.