National History Day

Education is at the center of LancasterHistory.org’s mission and we are delighted to help students of all ages engage in historical research. National History Day offers students a special opportunity to do historical research in a museum like LancasterHistory.org, which contains an archive of more than 2 million primary source documents, a library with thousands of scholarly books and materials, a world-class object collection, and a team of experts.

Students, LancasterHistory.org’s resources and staff are at your disposal. Whatever topic you choose, we have the resources to help you research and create a National History Day project.


What Is National History Day?

National History Day logo.

National History Day is an academic competition focusing on history for students in grades 6-12. Students construct entries as an individual or in a group in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Students then compete in a series of contests – school, local, and regional/state – to proceed to the national contest held each June at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The mission of National History Day is to provide students with opportunities to learn historical content and develop research, thinking, and communication skills through the study of history and to provide educators with resources and training to enhance classroom teaching.


2017 – 2018 Theme for National History Day

The National History Day theme for 2018 is Conflict & Compromise in History.

The National History Day (NHD) theme for the 2017-2018 school year is Conflict & Compromise in History.

The 2018 National Contest will be held June 10-14, 2018 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Please contact the Pennsylvania NHD Program Coordinator, Jeffrey G. Hawks, at (717) 258-1102 for local, regional, and national contest dates, submission deadlines, materials, and any updates or revisions to the NHD Rule Book

To read more about this year’s theme, we encourage students and teachers to view the 2018 theme book.


How To Get Involved

For Students

We’re so excited that you’re interested in becoming involved in National History Day! Before getting started, we encourage students and their parents, guardians, or teachers, to contact the Pennsylvania NHD Program Coordinator, Jeffrey G. Hawks, at (717) 258-1102 for local, regional, and national contest dates, submission deadlines, materials, and any updates or revisions to the NHD Rule Book.

Ready to get started? Visit the NHD website for rules and more information on getting started on your NHD project!

For Teachers

National History Day has prepared a wide array of information and educational tools to help you help your students and implement National History Day in your classroom. We encourage you to visit NHD’s website for information on the contest and view teacher resources. (New to NHD? There are resources there for you too!)


How Can LancasterHistory.org Help with History Day Projects?

LancasterHistory.org exists to engage and educate the public about the people, places, and events that shaped Lancaster County within the broader context of the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States of America. We house over 16,000 books, 2 million manuscripts and documents, 95,000 historic photographs, and a large historic artifact and decorative arts collection of three-dimensional objects related the history of Lancaster County and important historical figures such as President James Buchanan and Congressman Thaddeus Stevens to name a few.

Online Resources & Project Ideas

Students may wish to examine our collections online to locate the amount and types of primary and secondary sources available. We also have a wide variety of materials available in the library.

Visit LancasterHistory.org

We encourage students to visit us to view sources in person, especially items that are too delicate to photograph or belong in the Special Collections. Students are granted complimentary admission to the Research Library. Students are required to register at the Front Desk before being admitted into the Library.

Staff are available for assistance during normal operating hours, Monday – Saturday, 9:30am – 5pm.

Requesting Photocopies & Appointments

If you wish to make an appointment to view historic objects or documents up-close (we allow you to take free pictures of resources), please contact research@lancasterhistory.org. If you wish to have a photocopies printed of specific primary source documents from our archival collection or a digital image of a historic photograph, please contact research@lancasterhistory.org.

Don’t Know Where To Begin?

We also have human resources that are happy to help point you in the right direction with your research. Please get in touch at info@lancasterhistory.org or (717) 392-4633.