Students and Parents – National History Day

Welcome to NHD students and parents! Congratulations on participating in National History Day in Delaware (NHD DE)! Here you will find the resources and information you need to get started on your National History Day (NHD) project.

Homeschool parents, don’t forget to visit the Teachers page to fill put the NHD DE teacher participation survey.



Each year, the National History Day office chooses a theme to help students direct their research. Students must make a connection between the theme and their topic. The themes that are chosen are broad, allowing students to research topics on all levels from local history to ancient history. In order to draw a connection to the theme, students must understand the historical significance of their topic and answer questions about time, place, and context. Understanding the impact and significance of the topic will help define why the topic is important and draw this connection to the theme


Research Paper

A paper is the traditional form of presenting historical research. Various types of creative writing (for example, fictional diaries, poems, etc.) are permitted, but must conform to all general and category rules. Your paper should be grammatically correct and well written. The paper category is for students who prefer to work individually.


An exhibit is a visual representation of your research and interpretation of your topic’s significance in history. The analysis and interpretation of your topic must be clear and evident to the viewer. Labels and captions should be used creatively with visual images and objects to enhance the message of your exhibit.


The website category is the most interactive of all NHD categories. A website should reflect your ability to use website design software and computer technology to communicate your topic’s significance in history. Your historical website should be a collection of web pages, interconnected by hyperlinks, that presents both primary and secondary sources and your historical analysis. To engage and inform viewers, your website should incorporate interactive multimedia, text, non-textual descriptions (e.g., photographs, maps, music, etc.), and interpretations of sources. To construct a website, you must have access to the Internet and be able to operate appropriate software and equipment.


A documentary should reflect your ability to use audiovisual equipment to communicate your topic’s significance. The documentary category will help you develop skills in using photographs, film, video, audio, computers, and graphic presentations. Your presentation should include primary source materials and also must be an original production. To produce a documentary, you must have access to equipment and be able to operate it.


A performance is a dramatic portrayal of your topic’s significance in history and must be an original production. It should be scripted based on research of your chosen topic and should have dramatic appeal, but not at the expense of historical information.

Contests and Judging

All Delaware students in grades 6-12 are eligible to participate in the NHD program.

Public and private school students typically participate through classroom instruction, after school clubs, or individually if their school does not have an NHD program. Homeschool students participate through umbrella schools, extracurricular programs, or individually.

Currently, students advance from the school, club, or homeschool level directly to the state contest.

Teachers and students are required to register for the state contest in advance.

  • Attendance at the contest is mandatory in order for your project to be judged.
  • All students will have an interview with a judging team.
  • Judges want to learn more about your project and process and will ask you questions relating to this.
  • Interviews last approximately 5 – 10 minutes.

Evaluation of each project is based on:

  • Historical Quality (60%)
  • Connection to the Theme (20%)
  • Clarity of Presentation (20%)
  • Interview (0%)

The interview does not factor in the evaluation of the entry. The purpose is to get to know you and learn more about what went into the development of your project. A project should stand alone and not need an interview to advance to the next level. The interview is not an oral presentation for your project! Judges will ask you to stop if your try to give an oral presentation.

Teachers, Librarians/Archivists, Historians, Professors, College students, Professionals, History lovers.

Judges are free to ask any question they like regarding your project and process. Below are some sample questions you MAY be asked:

  • How did you choose your topic? Why?
  • Why did you choose your project category?
  • What was your most valuable/important source? Why?
  • What is the most important thing you have learned from completing this project?
  • Why is this topic significant?
  • What conclusions have you drawn from your research?
  • What did each member of your group contribute? How did you decide who would do what?
  • Content specific questions and facts: While the judges will probably not ask very specific questions about dates and details, you should know and be prepared to explain the basic details and arguments presented in your project.