Minnesota Historical Society Education: National History Day in Minnesota Prepares Students for College

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 22, 2013
Media contacts: 
Julianna Olsen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3039, julianna.olsen@mnhs.org ​Joanna Danks, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3149, joanna.danks@mnhs.org

Minnesota Historical Society Education: National History Day in Minnesota Prepares Students for College


History DayNational History Day in Minnesota is a rigorous program that builds students’ reading, writing, communication and research skills. History Day challenges students statewide in grades 6-12 to investigate a historical subject related to an annual theme and present their findings in the form of papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries and websites.

It encourages students to conduct in-depth research, use primary and secondary sources, read a variety of texts, synthesize information and write and present historical content. National History Day in Minnesota is a partnership of the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota.

New National Theme: Rights and Responsibilities in History
Each year, National History Day chooses a theme to guide student topic selection. Students must show the connection between their topics and this larger idea in history. The themes are broad, allowing students to research topics ranging from local history to ancient history. The 2014 theme is “Rights and Responsibilities in History.”

Students may choose to enter a project in the History Day competition. Projects can advance from school-level history fairs to regional events at 13 locations across the state, a state event at the University of Minnesota and a national contest. Minnesota students are consistently top finishers in the National History Day competition held annually in Washington, D.C. In 2013, 63 Minnesota students attended Nationals, with eight medalwinning entries.

National Academic Standards
The National History Day in Minnesota program addresses state social studies standards through critical thinking, literacy and research. In addition, the program helps students prepare for college by enhancing their communication and interviewing skills, improving reading and writing as well as building college applications, resumes and project management skills. In a recent survey, 76 percent of student participants indicated that History Day was one of their best learning experiences.

Teacher Support
The Minnesota Historical Society supports teachers, helping them integrate History Day into their school curriculum. History Day staff coordinate a variety of resources including workshops held throughout the state, in-class visits by experienced staff, online support with downloadable classroom documents, programming at university and public libraries, plus a menu of curricular products available for purchase.

Major funding provided by:
3M Foundation, Carolyn Foundation, The Gerald and Patrice Halbach Charitable Fund, Ralph and Virginia Kurtzman Fund, David and Janis Larson, Margaret and Lee Skold, Frank W. Veden Charitable Trust, Wells Fargo Foundation and the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.