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What is History Day?

National History Day (NHD) is an exciting program that makes history come alive for students. Students learn history by doing history. Students conduct historical research that leads to imaginative exhibits, documentaries, original performances, websites and scholarly papers. NHD reinforces classroom teaching by rewarding students of all abilities for their scholarship, individual initiative and cooperative learning.

A national evaluation of the National History Day program found that participants:

  • Outperform non-NHD peers on standardized tests
  • Are better writers, able to use evidence to support their point of view
  • Become critical thinkers who can analyze and evaluate information
  • Learn 21st century college and career ready skills

The full results can be found on the National History Day Website.

Students in grades 6-12 participate in National History Day events at the district, state and national levels. Students in grades 4 and 5 participate at the state level with modified exhibits and performances. Historians, educators and professionals in related fields evaluate students' work at each stage. Students in grades 6-12 who receive recognition at the District events qualify for the statewide contest, Ohio History Day. Award-winning entries at Ohio History Day are eligible to participate in the National History Day event held in June in Washington, D.C.

History of National History Day

National History Day began as a small, local contest in Cleveland, Ohio in 1974. Dr. David Van Tassel and members of the Department of History at Case Western Reserve University created the program to reinvigorate the teaching and learning of history in elementary and secondary schools. The program quickly expanded throughout Ohio and surrounding Midwestern states. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National History Day (NHD) became a national program in 1980.

Now, more than 600,000 students and participate in National History Day from every state in the Union, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories, and the program continues to expand internationally. 

National History Day received the 2011 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. The National Humanities Medal is awarded to individuals or institutions “whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities.”

NHD is supported by volunteers who coordinate its state and local programs. Thousands of people support the program by serving as contest judges, workshop presenters, mentors and advisers to students and teachers. On the local and state levels professionals based at colleges and universities, historical agencies and educational organizations serve as state and district coordinators to direct the History Day programs in their areas. The Ohio History Connection is proud to be the state sponsor of the National History Day program in Ohio since 1995.

Visit the National History Day website to learn more. http://www.nhd.org/



State Coordinator, Ohio History Day

Molly Uline-Olmstead

p. 614.297.2617

f. 614.297.2567



Youth Division Coordintator 

Kate Bruck

p. 614.297.2523

f. 614.297.2567



Ohio History Day Office

Ohio History Center
800 E 17th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43211