What is National History Day?
National History Day (NHD) is a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for teachers and students to engage in historical research. NHD is not a predetermined, by-the-book program but rather an innovative curriculum framework in which students learn history by selecting topics of interest and launching into year-long research projects. The mission of NHD is to improve the teaching and learning of history in middle and high school. The most visible vehicle is the NHD Contest.
Beginning in the fall, students choose a topic related to the annual theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, exhibits, performances, websites, or documentaries. These projects are entered into competitions in the spring at local, affiliate, and national levels, where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates at the national competition held each June at the University of Maryland at College Park.
National History Day 2021 – Communication in History: The Key to Understanding
The theme for 2021 is “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding”. Student topics may focus on any geographic area, historical period, event, group, or individual, but it must relate back to the annual theme. Of course, we immediately think of sending or receiving information via the internet, television, Morse code, or the Pony Express, which are/were all forms of communication. It is also exciting to think about all different the ways that people communicate, including with ideas and words, governance and protest, architecture and design, art and music, photography and movies, fashion and fad, and even in non-verbal ways.
National History Day 2021 Resources for students:
- 2021 NHD Theme Video (Youtube – Starts after a short advertisement)
Just skip the ad to get started with an introduction to this year’s theme by Dr. Kathy Gorn, Executive Director of NHD.
- 2021 NHD Theme Sheet (PDF)
- 2021 NHD Theme Book (PDF)
- 2021 NHD Student Resources
Everything you need to know about the five project categories: Documentary, Exhibit, Paper, Performance, and Website,
Plus: How to Get Started, Student Resources, National Contest Info, and more.
- NEW National History Day Contest Rule Book (PDF)
If you have participated in previous years, be sure to check out the new Contest Rule Book (effective June 22, 2020).
National History Day New Hampshire
The National History Day New Hampshire (NHDNH) program has been hosted by Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH since 2003.
To read more about NHDNH, visit the NHDNH website.
National History Day New Hampshire Resources for students:
NHDNH has some great tips for students on its page entitled “The Student Process”.
About the Shakers
Why should we be interested in the Shakers today? Well, consider that from the beginning, the Shakers have been practical idealists. They did not dream vaguely of conditions they would like to see realized; they went to work to make those conditions an actuality. The Shakers have always preached tolerance for all faiths and for all individuals. They could not abolish poverty from the world, but they could and did abolish it from their communities. The Shakers did not bluster or use violence; their courage was quiet, calm, and unyielding. They could not end wars, but they could and did keep out of them. In their business dealings with the “world’s people”, the Shakers are known for their upright dealing and strict honesty, individually and collectively.
It is a paradox that Shaker furniture and oval boxes are now being collected, and Shaker buildings and villages are admired, as contributions to American art, while the principles that the Shakers have valued so highly are not better known and more appreciated.
Shaker Resources for National History Day:
- Who Are the Shakers?
Read about the Shakers using primary and secondary online source materials.
- Guide to Museums and Libraries for Shaker Research
Finding aids for museums and libraries with Shaker materials in many regions of the country.