Guidance by Project Type

National History Day exhibits at the 2016 North Carolina contest

Documentaries

Documentaries

You may use slides, PowerPoint, or videos to present your documentary. Many students have access to sophisticated software and editing programs; others have only basic tools like slides or a personal video camera. Any of these devices can be used effectively to create documentaries. Transfer anything in PowerPoint to a video file. Always include narration in your project. A documentary that requires the judges to read the text is not effective.

Each documentary may be 10 minutes in length. Be sure to use all of the time allotted to you.

Be careful about appearing in your documentary. Most documentary producers do not appear in their work. People who want to perform should use the performance category.

If you decide to produce a documetnary, consider entering it in the N.C. Museum of History's annual Longleaf Film Festival.

See NHD's Documentary Guide for More

Exhibits

The first step to designing a great NHD exhibit is to know what the maximum dimensions of the category are, and plan to use them. An exhibit that is six feet tall can provide much more content than one that is only four feet tall. At the same time, don't include too much information and clutter the the space. A few well chosen illustrations and labels are far more effective. Do not overdo the use of quotes as well. In the exhibit category, the old adage "less is more" applies.

Make sure that there is a logical flow of information on your board. If you are using the traditional tri-shaped form, generally the main point is located on the center panel of the exhibit. Exhibits will often include a timeline somewhere on the board.

Construct the exhibit so that it can easily be changed if you need to make improvements along the way, and keep in mind that you are required to set up your board yourself. Lightweight materials make this task much easier.

Access NHD's Exhibit Guide for More Helpful Tips

Historical Papers

Papers need to have a strong thesis statement. Tell the reader what it is you intend to prove in your paper. Organize the paper so it flows logically. Restate your thesis in the conclusion and indicate how you proved your point.

Most judges in the paper category have more time to examine your project than judges in other categories. Therefore, grammatical errors, misspellings and haphazard margins will be especially noticeable. Read and re-read your paper before you submit it. It's usually a good idea to have others read it as well.
 
Appendices are fine, but most judges don't like to see too much extra material. If you decide to include an appendix, choose wisely and use only illustrations that will enhance and support the information included in your paper.

Check Out NHD's Guide to Research Papers

Performances

Each performance may be 10 minutes in length. Be sure to use all of the time allotted to you.

Backdrops and props can be as elaborate as you choose to make them; however, some of the most effective ones are the simplest. Keep in mind that you have to carry them and set them up yourself.

Avoid creating sets that require special needs, like special lighting, as the venue may not always be able to accommodate them. Many times the competition venues will be small classrooms or even hallways. Remember this as you design sets and block your performance. Prepare yourself to adapt to the circumstances.

Read More in NHD's Performances Guide

Websites

The central National History Day office says it best:

A historical website is a collection of web pages, interconnected with hyperlinks, that presents primary and secondary sources, interactive multimedia, and historical analysis. Your website should be an accumulation of research and argument that incorporates textual and non-textual (photographs, maps, music, etc.) description, interpretation, and multimedia sources to engage and inform viewers about your chosen historical topic.

Students must use the NHD Weebly Portal to build their websites. Students are NOT to create a site on the public Weebly site, as it is not compatible with NHD website category rules.

Vist NHD's Website Survival Guide for More