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Help in research for National History Day projects and links to the National History Day website.

General Information



*Image source:  NHD 2019 Theme logo from NHD website.

National History Day Mission

The future of democracy depends on an inspired, thoughtful and informed citizenry. Historical understanding is crucial to that process. National History Day teaches essential historical literacy that motivates students to secure the future of democracy.
What is National History Day? 

National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic organization for elementary and secondary school students.

Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in a national competition each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.

In addition to discovering the exciting world of the past, NHD also helps students develop the following attributes that are critical for future success:
  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • research and reading skills
  • oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • self esteem and confidence
  • a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process
More than 5 million students have gone on to careers in business, law, medicine and countless other disciplines where they are putting into practice what they learned through NHD.
 "I wish I had been able to participate in National History Day when I was in school. What a great way to get kids excited about history, research and the mechanics of composing a story. NHD students today are so sophisticated about their work. I might just have to snag a few of these young documentary experts for my next production!" - Ken Burns

Contents © 2009-2016 National History Day. All Rights Reserved.

Top Ten Reasons to Participate in NHD

1. Teaches History

  • Builds an understanding that history is not static and contains multiple perspectives

2. Engages Students

  • Excites students by asking them to choose a topic and explore resources

3. Energizes the Curriculum

  • Provides a framework for hands-on, student-centered learning

4. Promotes High Academic Standards

  • Assists teachers and schools in meeting educational standards by offering a portfolio-building and outcome-based activity

5. Encourages Literacy

  • Adjusts their reading for different types of print and non-print texts (including fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works)

6. Enhances Assessment

  • Provides a multilayered performance-based assessment tool

7. Teaches Critical Thinking

  • Promotes life skills, analytical skills, comparative perspectives and models of critical judgment—essential for work in any field

8. Inspires Curiosity

  • Ignites student interest in learning about history by integrating social studies, art, sciences, literature, language, and music into their presentations

9. Recognizes the Student Strengths

  • Allows students to become experts

10. Activates Civic Engagement

  • Encourages students to become involved in their communities

*Source:  NHD website Copyright 2014.

>>NEW El Paso History Resource<<


Joy Urbina's picture
Joy Urbina
University Library
Research & Instruction

El Paso History Day

Brad J. Cartwright

Teacher & Student Registration

UTEP Department of History

Lib Arts 334



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