Education Outreach: National History Day

What is History Day?

Alvin C. YorkNational History Day is a year-long curriculum enhancement program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, websites, and research papers based on research related to an annual theme. These projects are then evaluated at local, state, and national competitions.

The 2021 competition theme is Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences. To explore primary sources, please visit the Education Collection in our Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA!)

For complete information about National History Day, sponsored in Tennessee by the Tennessee Historical Society, go to the Tennessee History Day website.

Questions? Email your state coordinator, Nikki Ward, at

When can I visit the Tennessee State Library and Archives for History day research?

We are open Tuesdays – Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Central Time). The majority of our materials have been transferred to microfilm and are available whenever we are open. The manuscript materials which have not been microfilmed -- including photographs and maps -- are only available for viewing in the Manuscripts Reading Area. The Manuscripts Reading area is open Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Central Time).

Students are welcome and encouraged to visit the Library & Archives for History Day research. Teachers may schedule research field trips or students may come in individually. We do like to spend extra time with students and teachers who are new to the facility. We urge you to call (615) 253-3469 in advance or email to make an appointment with a member of our education outreach team.

What resources do you have at the Tennessee State Library and Archives?

Many of our resources are available digitally. To begin exploring digital copies of many of our primary sources, visit our Primary Sources page. In order to see most of our materials, however, it is necessary to come visit us in person. We can show you how to use our online catalog so that you can explore all of our collections.

Research Tips

  1.  Before beginning primary source research, it is important to NARROW down your topic. Topics such as World War II or Native Americans in Tennessee is much too broad and would turn up hundreds of primary sources.
  2.  Students researching NHD topics should have completed most of your secondary research before beginning primary source research.
  3.  If you plan to research at the Library & Archives, spend some time on our website identifying materials you might like to see when you arrive. This will make the best use of your time when you are here.
  4.  Don't forget to source (gather citations for) your primary sources as you research!
  5.  Contact our education outreach coordinator at with questions.