This Year's Theme

"The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely."

~ E.O. Wilson, American Biologist, Pulitzer Prize Winner and Professor Emeritus Harvard

What Is National History Day?

A distinguished national program and the 2011 recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal of Honor, National History Day is a year-long program that helps student develop the following critical skills and abilities for their future:

  • 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

NHD accomplishes this through history-based learning that is grounded in civics literacy.

Each year, thousands of middle and high school students and teachers across the United States participate in National History Day, a year-long educational program that culminates in a national contest every June. Students prepare original projects using primary sources and compete in a local contest. The winners move on to a state competition. Those winners move on to the national competition in Washington. Along the way, every participant gains first-hand experience conducting historical research and analysis and by producing a documentary, exhibit, essay, performance, or website. Through this journey of exploration students learn to synthesize information and develop balanced conclusions based on their findings.

  • NHD Philly participation is completely free.
  • NHD Philly is the perfect fit for classrooms and after school clubs.
  • Students can let their creativity shine and choose their own mode of expression via websites, performance, documentaries, exhibits, or papers.
  • NHD Philly supports students and teachers every step of the way and helps provide instruction and access to over two dozen world-renowned cultural institutions, archives, and libraries across the city of Philadelphia.

Experience the Philly competition through the eyes of Molly Thompson, a student at Abraham Lincoln High School.

Did you know? NHD Philly supports teachers every step of the process and organizes virtual and in-person mentoring for your classroom. NHD Philly partners from world-renown cultural and archival institutions can help your students narrow their topic, develop their thesis, and find primary sources!