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Introduction and Video

Page history last edited by Shaun Hayes 10 years, 2 months ago

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What is National History Day?


If you love history, you’re going to love National History Day! National History Day (NHD) is a contest where students in middle schools and high schools across the United States participate by doing historical research projects around an annual theme. The theme for the 2014 contest is Rights and Responsibilities in History. Your project can take the form of a documentary, an exhibit, a paper, a performance or a website.


Any project you choose will require that you use primary sources, which are considered the "raw materials" of history. Primary sources are unfiltered accounts of historical events or trends, and provide students and historians with a firsthand view from someone who was a participant or direct observer of the event. You can find more information about Using Primary Sources right here on the wiki.


How Do I Find Primary Sources and What Is an Archives?

The best place for primary sources is in an archives, which is like a library except that in addition to having books it will have other materials such as photographs, historical documents, diaries, letters, oral history interviews, and much more. Other places, or "repositories," that have primary sources include state, county, and local historical societies; historic parks and sites; public libraries; and museums. People who work in archives are called archivists, who are eager to help you find what you need for your project. The Society of American Archivists has created a comprehensive online guide to archival research called "Using Archives" which complements this toolkit. 


Archives hold primary sources not found anyplace else. For example, your local archives probably has materials about your area's history. It might not have anything about the space program or Revolutionary War, but will have interesting stories from your area that you can fit to the contest theme. To find an archives in your state go to the list of NHD state coordinators, find your state coordinator, and navigate to the list of archives.


View a Video About Visiting an Archives


  If this is the first time you will visit an archives, get a preview of what to expect by checking out this video.



Society of American Archivists Reference, Access and Outreach Section's National History Day Committee| Credits

The Society of American Archivists does not assume responsibility for the opinions and views published on this auxiliary site.


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License

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