ALASKA HISTORY DAY
Each year, more than half a million middle and high school students around the world take part in National History Day® (NHD), with more than 800 here in Alaska. As writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights, and artists, students create unique, independent projects that bring stories of the past to life.
Alaska History Day is the state affiliate for this yearlong competition for students in grades 6-12. Students work individually or in small groups to choose a topic that relates to an annual theme, research the topic, and then develop their research into one of five presentation categories:
website (NOTE: NHD is no longer using Weebly. The new website creation tool is NHD WebCentral!)
Alaska Humanities Forum works with statewide partner agencies, teachers, and volunteer judges to hold local and statewide contests in the spring from which students advance to participate in NHD's national contest in the Washington, DC area each June. Since Alaska began participating in 1989, hundreds of Alaskan students have competed at the national level.
The theme for the 2020 National History Day Contest is Breaking Barriers in History. See the NHD theme book here.
2020 Regional Contest Dates:
Fairbanks: Feb. 3-10, 2020 (please note that Fairbanks is working to secure a new venue this year and this may ultimately affect the regional contest dates.)
Haines: Feb. 10-14, 2020
2020 Virtual State Contest Dates:
Registration: March 16-19, 2020
Contest Judging: March 23-27, 2020
Results Announced: April 3, 2020
2020 National History Day Contest:
June 14-18, 2020
University of Maryland, College Park
Let us help you get started. Are you interested in having your students do Alaska History Day projects? You can require projects as part of your curriculum, let interested students to do projects outside of class, or any combination - it's up to you. Students need to have an adult sponsor in order to participate, and this can be a teacher, librarian, or parent if the child is home schooled. The role is to serve as a mentor, helping to guide students in designing and selecting a project concept and connecting them to resources.
One of the easiest ways to introduce the program in your class is to have students look at a sample project and fill out a judging rubric. This gets them thinking about what a good project should include. Contact state coordinator Kari Lovett to talk more about first steps and to be connected with a veteran AHD teacher in the state.
What stories catch your attention? What part of the world interests you? National History Day's goal is to help you explore something you care about in the way that fits you best.
Here are some examples:
- A performance about something that deeply affected your community or culture (Nevada, 2016)
- A performance about someone notable from your family (Alaska, 2017)
NHD’s goal is to provide you with a fun, educational experience— you will gain research, thinking, and presentation skills and will have a chance to become an expert on a topic of interest to you. This year's theme, Breaking Barriers in History, is super flexible and allows you to create an independent project focused on something you care about.
Check out the NHD student resources site to learn more about the guidelines and to see examples of past projects.
Judging Resources and Sign-Up
Wondering what History Day judges do? Watch this video from Minnesota Historical Society for a brief introduction to the National History Day program, and to learn more about the important role judges play.