Banner for National History Day <i>in Massachusetts</i>

National History Day in Massachusetts

Welcome to NHD in Massachusetts

National History Day is a vetted, proven program that prepares students for college, career, and active citizenship.  

National History Day (NHD) guides students in grades 6–12 through a year of historical research and inquiry, interpretation, and creative expression. Harnessing the effectiveness of student-centered, project-based learning, NHD asks students to conduct primary- and secondary-source research on a historical topic of their choosing and present their work as a documentary film, website, performance, paper, or exhibit. To showcase their projects, students can compete at local, regional, state, and national contests.

Three students present their NHD exhibit board.  One student in the foreground is speaking to someone out of the photo.

Every year, more than half a million students nationwide—guided by thousands of teachers—participate in National History Day. In Massachusetts, over 6,000 students participate from districts across the Commonwealth.

As the sponsor of National History Day in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) supports students and teachers throughout the NHD journey. We offer robust resources that help students to locate historical sources, develop effective research strategies, and prepare projects for competition, and we equip teachers with best practices and tools for teaching NHD.

Benefits of NHD

National History Day makes history relevant, engaging, and meaningful for students. In a single project, NHD addresses state standards for history and social science and the civic learning requirement, while honing important 21st-century skills. The NHD program:

  • Boosts student performance across all subjects
  • Improves media literacy, writing, research, and critical thinking skills
  • Prioritizes inquiry-based, hands-on learning
  • Fosters an understanding of and appreciation for democracy
  • Inspires meaningful civic action and engagement

NHD students have gone on to careers in business, law, medicine, education and countless other disciplines where they put into practice the skills and content knowledge learned through NHD. Learn more about the long-term impact of NHD here.

Why Massachusetts Students and Teachers Value NHD

"National History Day was exactly what we needed in Lynn. NHD makes history matter to kids while ticking off all the boxes on the Common Core state standards, 21st century skills, state and national standards. But NHD goes far beyond these standards and measures of achievement on tests: it made history real, meaningful and personal for students."

“National History Day taught me that with hard work, anything can be achieved. The experience of competing at Nationals was an amazing one that I will never forget; from the competition itself to the bonds created with people from across the country, every aspect of this journey was wonderful.”

"I learned just about everything I needed to succeed in college from National History Day—how to do real research, time management, and much more!"