Breaking Barriers in History


Every year National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for the broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. The 2019-2020 theme is Breaking Barriers in History.

To enter the National History Day Contest start by reading the Creating a Project page and contacting your State/Affiliate Coordinator to inquire about entering at the local or school level of your contest. The top two entries in each category at the Affiliate Contest level will be invited to the National Contest. The National Contest will be held June 14-18, 2020 at the University of Maryland, College Park.


Helpful Links
Partner Resources for Research

Creating a Project

Student Resources

Project Categories

Project Examples



See past annual themes.

2020 Contest Theme Book

Download the Breaking Barriers in History theme book.

SEARCH Organizer

This graphic organizer helps students examine historical context within the theme Breaking Barriers in History.

Theme Narrative

This PDF contains the 2020 theme narrative as well as some topic suggestions.