Wisconsin Historical Society

National History Day – Students

  • Excited? Reluctant? Enthusiastic? Overwhelmed? If any of those words describe how you’re feeling about starting your National History Day project, you are in good company. Approximately 10,000 Wisconsin students will start a project this year.

 

WHY DO NHD?

  • NHD brings your passion for history to life
    • YOU choose what you want to discover about the past
    • YOU ask the questions you want answers to 
    • YOU draw conclusions through primary source study
  • NHD puts you in the role of a detective
    • Find new or little-known stories of the past
    • Gather your evidence and make your case
    • Show off your talent by sharing your discoveries
  • NHD looks great on high school/college applications by demonstrating your:
    • Research skills
    • Project management
    • Time management
    • Historical competency 

Starting a Project?

Excited? Reluctant? Enthusiastic? Overwhelmed? If any of those words describe how you’re feeling about starting your National History Day project, you are in good company. Approximately 10,000 Wisconsin students will start a project this year.

The best way to get started? Look over the materials below to learn more about the project and to get topic ideas.

This project might be complicated, but you can do it!

WHAT IS NHD?

About Competition

You do not HAVE to compete. Learning new history and sharing what you learn is a great accomplishment. Of course you can compete, but that is 100% your choice. Should you want to compete, please visit our contest page.

About The Theme

nhd-logo

Why do I have to follow the theme?

  • The theme makes you look at a history in a different way.
  • It allows you to make new connections.
  • A theme also unifies all of the projects done in a year. It makes judging fair.

What advice do you have for following the theme?

  • Mention all the theme words, do not just focus on one.
  • Don’t forget about HISTORY.
    • Does your topic/event affect Environmental History? Military History? Sports History? Tell us!
    • Include how this topic/event CHANGED history.
    • Can we still see these changes today? Tell us how our lives shifted because of this!
    • Find a brief overview of this year's theme.
    • Learn more about the scope of the theme.
    • See how it relates to several sample topics.

Research Help

Strong research is the most important part of a good National History Day project. 

Stuck? Explore these resources for inspiration:

WHAT Category Should I Do?

Click on a category to learn more.

▼ Exhibits (group or individual) 

Requirements
  • 500 student-composed word limit
  • 40” width x 30” depth x 72” height limit
  • Process Paper
  • Bibliography

Please Note - This is the most popular catagory.

Guide to Exhibit Making

Example

▼ Website (group or individual) 

Requirements

  • 1,200 student-composed word limit
  • Process Paper
  • Bibliography

Please Note - Websites are always due on the day contest registration closes.

Guide to Website Making

Example

▼ Performance (group or individual) 

Requirements

  • 10 minute time limit
  • Process Paper
  • Bibliography

Please Note - You do not need to submit a script.

Guide to Developing a Performance

Example

▼ Documentary (group or individual) 

Requirements

  • 10 minute time limit
  • Process Paper
  • Bibliography

Please Note - You do not need to submit a script.

Guide to Documentary Making

Example

▼ Paper (individual only) 

Requirements

  • 1,500-2,500 word limit
  • Process Paper
  • Bibliography

Please Note - Papers are always due on the day contest registration closes.

Guide to Writing a Historical Paper

Example

Explore Your Options

Take the Quiz

Contest Rule Book