Theme and Topics

Collage of History Day activities with the theme logo at the center.

2021 Theme: "Communication in History: The Key to Understanding"

Each year, the National History Day office chooses a theme to help students direct their research. Students must make a connection between the theme and their topic. The themes that are chosen are broad, allowing students to research topics on all levels from local history to ancient history. In order to draw a connection to the theme, students must understand the historical significance of their topic and answer questions about time, place, and context. Understanding the impact and significance of the topic will help define why the topic is important and draw this connection to the theme.

General theme resources

  • 2021 NHD Theme Sheet (PDF)
  • 2021 NHD Theme Book (PDF)
  • 2021 NHD Theme Video
  • 2021 Minnesota Theme Narrative
  • MN Theme Sheet Guided Questions

    Topic ideas and brainstorming

    Graphic organizers, PowerPoints and activities

    Future History Day themes

    (Subject to change by the National History Day office)

    • 2022 - TBD

    Past History Day themes

    • 2000 - Turning Points in History
    • 2001 - Frontiers in History
    • 2002 - Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History
    • 2003 - Rights and Responsibilities in History
    • 2004 - Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History
    • 2005 - Communication in History: The Key to Understanding
    • 2006 - Taking a Stand in History
    • 2007 - Triumph and Tragedy in History
    • 2008 - Conflict and Compromise in History
    • 2009 - The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies
    • 2010 - Innovation in History: Impact and Change
    • 2011 - Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences
    • 2012 - Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History
    • 2013 - Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events
    • 2014 - Rights and Responsibilities in History
    • 2015 - Leadership and Legacy in History
    • 2016 - Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History
    • 2017 - Taking a Stand in History
    • 2018 - Conflict and Compromise in History
    • 2019 - Triumph and Tragedy in History
    • 2020 - Breaking Barriers in History

    Themes are staggered so that your students won't repeat a theme, even if they participate in History Day every year.