National History Day

Hundreds of students throughout the region participate in the annual National History Day competition. The History Center is proud to be the regional home for this competition, which serves students from Allegheny, Washington, Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Somerset counties.

National History Day draws upon a unique historical theme each year and encourages middle school and high school students to research history in an exciting and creative way. Either individually or in groups, students create exhibits, produce documentaries, write papers, design websites, or stage performances.

Each activity is judged, and first, second, and third place winners move on to the state competition of National History Day Pennsylvania. The top winners from the state competition then move onto the national competition.

NHD 2021

Theme – Communication in History: The Key to Understanding

National History Day: Communication in History: The Key to Understanding

The NHD Pittsburgh 2021 contest will be held virtually to ensure the safety of all participants. The contest fee this year will be $5 per student.

Key Dates for NHD Pittsburgh 2021 virtual contest

Registration is now open! Teachers and students can register online

Registration Closes

Papers and websites due in registration system

Documentaries, exhibits, and performances due in registration system

Junior Competition – Virtual interviews with judges

Senior Competition – Virtual interviews with judges

Virtual Awards Ceremony – Via Zoom

Click to register

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Monday, March 8, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Resources for NHD 2021

If you would like to book a custom NHD info session with NHD Pittsburgh staff for you and/or your students, please email us at

Resources from the History Center

NHD videos created by the History Center:

Resources from National History Day

National History Day 2020 Winners

National History Day 2019 Winners

National History Day 2018 Winners

National History Day 2017 Winners

National History Day 2016 Winners

King Family Awards for Excellence in History
Congratulations to The King Family Award winners who received cash prizes for their excellent work at National History Day.  The awards are given to students and teachers that have won first, second, or third place in the Historical Papers category and to all first place winners and their teachers in all other categories.

Program Support

These NHD support programs will be offered virtually for the 2020-21 school year. Please contact NHD Pittsburgh staff for more details at

What is National History Day?: Bring History Center educators into your classroom to introduce students to this months-long research project. The staff will address a broad overview of the program, and components such as theme, thesis, and bibliography.
Cost: $50 per class plus round-trip mileage. Financial aid is available for Title I schools.
Available September through December.

Navigating Digital Sources: This session brings History Center staff into your school to teach students about using digital archives. This program calls for students to have one-to-one technology devices available and for an LCD projector.
Cost: $50 per class plus round-trip mileage. Financial aid is available for Title I schools.

Navigating Archives: Bring your students to the Detre Library & Archives at the History Center for supported work time with History Center educators and archivists. Students will analyze and evaluate original primary sources firsthand from the collection at the Detre Library & Archives. This program will be most appropriate for students who are researching local topics.
Cost: $8.00 per student and available on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Teacher Professional Development: The History Center provides professional development for teachers who participate in NHD, including general introductions to the NHD competition and the value of participating, how to help students find primary resources to strengthen their projects, and strengthening historic interpretation for NHD projects.

To find out more or to book a professional development opportunity, contact School and Teacher Programs Coordinator Amanda McAllen at 412-454-6314 or



For more information about National History Day, please contact