National History Day

National History Day (NHD) is a learning adventure that teaches critical thinking, writing and research skills and boosts performance across all subjects – not just history. To facilitate this, NHD provides a framework and curriculum materials for teachers and guidance for students.This video, produced by HISTORY® at the 2008 National Contest, provides an introduction to NHD for students, teachers, and parents who are interested in participating in NHD programs.

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How does it work? Students choose a historical topic related to the annual theme and then conduct primary and secondary research. Students are encouraged to look through libraries, archives and museums, conduct oral history interviews, and visit historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting the sources, and drawing a conclusion about the significance of the topic, students are then able to present their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website.

First, students grades 6th through 12th can participate at the local level. Students from Oneida, Oswego, Madison, Cortland, and Onondaga counties are eligible to take part in Central New York Region History Day facilitated by Onondaga Historical Association. Winners from this competition have an opportunity to use the judges’ remarks and revise their projects to present a second time at the New York State History Day. From here, winners can again revise their projects before moving on to The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day contest.


Representing Fayetteville-Manlius High School for the CNY Region, PeiLin Lu progressed from Region History Day 2021 to the virtual State competition in March. Here she earned 2nd place in the Senior Individual Exhibit category, and progressed to the National level, held virtually in June. PeiLin’s exhibit won 8th place in her category nationally, as well as a special Asian American History award. Her advisors were Kristina Jeanneret and Justin Polly.

PeiLin’s exhibit, Anna May Wong: Advancing Asian-American Representation through Communication, will be on display at the Onondaga Historical Association starting late July 2021.


The theme for National History Day 2022 is Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.
Information about CNY Region History Day 2022 will be forthcoming.

For more information regarding Central New York History Day, contact Scott Peal by email (scott.peal@cnyhistory.org) or by phone (428-1864 extension 317).

Interested in sponsoring and supporting CNY Region History Day? Contact Lisa Moore, Director of Development, at 315-428-1824 ext. 315.


Thank you to our 2020-2021 Sponsors


Theme Narrative & Sample Topics  »
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Resources for Students »
Learn how to enter the contest, watch webinars, find research links and more.

Resources for Teachers »
Find resources to help implement National History Day in your classroom.