Communication in History: The Key to Understanding


Each year, National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. The 2020-2021 theme is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.

2021 Theme Introduction Video


2021 Theme Webinar

2021 Theme Webinar Slides


2021 Theme Graphic Organizer



Looking to help students build strong historical argumentation skills? Watch our Summer 2020 Historical Argumentation webinar series. Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the series includes strategies, primary sources, and other materials that focus on the skills of historical argumentation. Teachers will develop strategies to help their students think like a historian and develop a solid historical argument.
Watch the Webinar Series Here!

Helpful Links
Partner Resources for Research Creating a Project Student Resources Project Categories

Project Examples



See past annual themes.

2021 Contest Theme Book

Download the Communication in History: The Key to Understanding theme book.

2021 Theme Graphic Organizer

This DECODE graphic organizer helps students examine historical context within the theme Communication in History: The Key to Understanding. It is available as both a PDF and a fillable PDF.

NHD Contest Rule Book

Download the NEW National History Day Contest Rule Book, effective with the beginning of the 2020-2021 contest year.