Top History Students Take on Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Each year over 600,000 sixth through twelfth grade students around the world participate in National History Day (NHD), a year-long academic program that engages young people in advanced history research projects that align with an annual theme. Of those 600,000, just under 3,000 students will advance to The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest to compete this week. The contest kicks off at the University of Maryland at College Park on June 15, 2014, and concludes on June 19, 2014, when select students take home some of the biggest student prizes in history!

This year’s theme – Rights and Responsibilities in History – challenges students to think about the rights that citizens are guaranteed, like freedom of the press. With those rights however, come personal responsibilities. Students who advanced to the National Contest this week were able to clearly examine this year’s theme through their original research projects in one of five categories: exhibits, performances, papers, documentaries, and websites.

During the week selected students will have the opportunity to participate in special, invitation-only events at the Library of Congress, Capitol Hill, and Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress will celebrate the achievements of the writers of the National History Day (NHD) competition on June 18, 2014. Seventeen exemplary writers from the senior division, with papers in the biography genre, have been selected to participate. The group will have a unique opportunity to participate in a dialogue with Doris Kearns Goodwin, as moderated by Michelle Krowl from the Library’s Manuscript Division and meet author John Mueller.

Breakfast on the Hill: History students from 26 states will join their congressmen and senators for “Breakfast on the Hill” on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. National History Day (NHD) is working with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to bring together those who are making history today and those who will make history tomorrow for breakfast and historical presentations.

Night at the Museum: National History Day will spend a night at the museum on June 18, 2014 when their research projects will be displayed alongside some of the best museum exhibits in the world. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has again invited nearly 3,000 National History Day students competing next week in The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest to a reception honoring their work.

Other highlights to look for this week at The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest:

  • U.S. Dept. of State Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, Judith Heumann will attend the Night at the Museum with a student who interviewed her for his project.
  • Before the HISTORY® channel even aired, they partnered with NHD. This year, NHD marks 20 years of sponsorship with a special celebration.
  • Southwest Air is sponsoring a Twitter Contest for the contest students. The winner of the contest will receive two round trip tickets, #SWAhistory.

If you are interested, please contact Micah Azzano,, to set up tours of the event or interviews with Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn, students, and teachers.


NHD is an award winning non-profit education organization based in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top student projects have the opportunity to advance to the national competition at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by providing professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by Kenneth E. Behring, Patricia Behring, HISTORY ™, Jostens, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Parks Service, Southwest Airlines, Weider History Group, Inc., and WEM Foundation. For more information about NHD, visit

TWITTER: @NationalHistory

Lynne O'Hara
Director of Programs
Phone: 484-919-2595
Press Release