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.

The theme for National History Day 2022 is Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.
CNY Regional History Day 2022 registration is open! We’re pleased to announce that we have more than 70 students registered for this year’s virtual CNY Regional History Day! Already, we’re seeing some very promising projects from our local students. There’s still time to enter – encourage the students in your life to involved by talking to their history teachers! Projects are due by March 5th, and winners will be announced on March 19th. Stay tuned as we select our winners, who will continue on to the statewide competition!

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

Thank you to our 2022 Sponsors

We would like to extend a special thank you to our Lead and Associate Sponsors; Bottar Law, the Dewitt and Eastwood Rotary Clubs, Constance Bull, and William G. Pomeroy Foundation, who have helped support these hard-working students. 

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, is on display at the Onondaga Historical Association now!

Theme Narrative & Sample Topics  »
Still searching for topic? This guide can help you narrow down your search.

Choose a Category »
Find the category that’s right for you.

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.