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.

2020 NHD Competition Information

National History Day 2020 Theme: Breaking Barriers in History

The registration system for NHD Pittsburgh 2020 is now open. The site can be found online: Registration

Please see the Registration Checklist 2020 for instructions.

Teachers may wish to issue the Student Signature Form to students to begin collecting registration information and parent signatures. That form is also available online: NHD Pittsburgh Student Registration Form (PDF)

Important NHD Competition Dates

Online Registration Deadline
All fees ($20 per student) and student registration forms
4 copies of each student paper for Historical Papers
All websites will be locked for Website Category

Junior Division Competition
Senior Division Competition

PA State Competition at Carlisle High School

Tuesday, Feb. 18 – 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 – 12 a.m.

Saturday, March 14
Saturday, March 15

Friday, May 15 & Saturday, May 16

National History Day 2019 Winners

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in NHD Pittsburgh 2019! Click on the links below to see the projects that placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category, all of which are invited to the State Competition in Carlisle, Pa.

National History Day 2018 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 National History Day Pittsburgh competition:

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

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

National History Day Judging Opportunities at the History Center

Students spend most of the school year working on their projects either as after-school projects or as part of social studies classes. On competition day, students bring their work to the History Center, where they have short interviews with a team of judges to talk about their work. Please note that you do not have to be an expert in history to judge! Anyone willing to help us to provide students with a positive learning experience is welcome to judge at National History Day.

For more details, please download this: National History Day Judging Opportunities Information

If you are interested in volunteering as a Pittsburgh National History Day judge, please contact our team before Feb. 18, 2020.



For more information about National History Day, please contact