Welcome to Massachusetts History Day!
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What is Massachusetts History Day?

Massachusetts History Day (MHD) is the state affiliate of National History Day (NHD), a highly regarded academic program for elementary and secondary school students.

IMPORTANT: The Massachusetts State Contest is now VIRTUAL!

In light of recent safety precautions implemented regarding COVID-19, the Massachusetts History Day 2020 State Contest will be entirely virtual.  This will be a state-wide contest and all students who registered for our Regional competitions are able to compete. 

This contest will involve all MHD students from across the state, so it will be structured a little differently from our usual competitions.  Since we have so many projects competing, we will be modeling this contest after Nationals with two rounds of judging.  Student projects will be judged in groups of 8-12 projects at a time.  These groups will be assigned at random within each category. 

After the lockout date, judges will review the virtual projects and select the top two projects in their group to be judged in a second round; judges will also select two honorable mentions.  In the second round, judges will review all finalist projects and the top two projects in each category will be promoted to the National contest.  We will notify all students by Monday, 5/4, whether they have advanced to Nationals and/or have received a special prize. We will send everyone their feedback forms, special prizes, and other awards materials as soon as possible after 5/4.

Please visit the NHD in Massachusetts portal for instructions:


National History Day is an inter-disciplinary research project for students in grades 6-12 that encourages exploration of local, state, national, and world history.  Each year more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest.  History day teaches students to:

  • Conduct in-depth research
  • Use primary and secondary sources
  • Work with libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and/or historic sites
  • Analyze and interpret their findings
  • Write and present their historical research

Students choose a topic that relates to an annual theme, research that topic, draw conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, and present their research in one of five presentation categories: Research Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, or Website. Students may then enter their projects into History Day competitions at school, local, state, and national levels. The program culminates in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.

In addition to discovering the exciting world of the past, NHD also helps students develop the following attributes that are critical for future success:

  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • research and reading skills
  • oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • self esteem and confidence
  • a sense of responsibility for, and involvement in, the democratic process

More than 5 million students have gone on to careers in business, law, medicine, education and countless other disciplines where they are putting into practice what they learned through NHD.

2020 National Theme

Breaking Barriers in History

What Massachusetts students say about History Day:

“National History Day taught me that with hard work, anything can be achieved. The experience of competing at the national finals 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!"

"The entire NHD experience, from researching the role of women in WWII to performing in front of a large audience enhanced my skills in research and public speaking."

Our Partners

We are grateful for the support of our partners, the Mass Cultural Council, the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, and Mass Humanities


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Last Update: September 19, 2019
Webmaster: Kate Melchior, Massachusetts Historical Society