National History Day 2012

Curriculum guides and rule books for the National History Day competitions for 2011-2012 school year are now available. Interested teachers (grades 6-12), students, and parents can find them by visiting the websites of the National History Day program ( and the New York State History Day office in Cooperstown (

Those sites also provide information about the theme for the year, “Revolution, Reaction and Reform.” In addition, there are suggested topics that students might investigate.

Dr. Preston Pierce, Regional Archivist at the Rochester Regional Library Council, can present a workshop orientation to National History Day on request for teacher or parent groups, students, and classes. Dr. Pierce has more than 25 years’ experience as a teacher and judge with local, regional and state NHD competition. Teachers and parent groups can contact Dr. Pierce at <>.

National History Day encourages students to explore topics in local, state, national, and world history related to the annual theme. Students conduct extensive research by using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, and create final projects that present their work. These projects can be entered into a series of competitions from the local school to the state and national level. At each level the projects are evaluated by professional historians and educators.

Projects can include individual research papers as well as table-top displays, original website creations, documentary videos, and one-act plays created by individuals or small groups.

In the Rochester-Genesee Valley area, the Ontario County Historical Society (Canandaigua) and Genesee Country Village and Museum (Mumford) serve as regional coordinators. Those two organizations host regional competitions for those students who wish to compete beyond the school level. The Finger Lakes Regional competition will take place in Canandaigua, March 9, 2012. State competition takes place in Cooperstown in May.