Montana Historical Society

Big Sky. Big Land. Big History.

National History Day

Through hands-on experiences offered by participating in National History Day, today's youth are better able to inform the present and shape the future. NHD inspires children through exciting competitions and transforms teaching through project-based curriculum and instruction. This year's contest theme is Communication in History: Key to Understanding.


Both the Yellowstone Regional Competition and the Bitterroot Regional Competition will be held virtually on March 6, 2021. The Montana statewide competition will be held virtually on Saturday, March 27, 2021. For more information about NHD in Montana, visit the Montana National History Day website.

Prizes for Montana Students

Each year, the Montana Historical Society awards The Martha Plassmann Prize to one outstanding National History Day project that utilizes the digitized newspapers available on the Library of Congress web site Chronicling America and/or the Montana Historical Society website The $500 prize is awarded to a project that best demonstrates a clear understanding and use of newspapers as a primary source. Find out how to apply.

Since the National contest will be virtual this year, the Montana Historical Society will not be offering the Dave Walter Travel Scholarship from the James H. Bradley Trust. In years when there is an in-person contest, this $1,000 scholarship is awarded to the creator or creators of a Montana history project that is eligible to advance to the national contest. The project MUST be about a Montana history topic and the scholarship money must be used to pay for expenses relating to travel to Washington, D.C.

Selecting a Topic

Many students successfully choose world or national subjects for their National History Day projects, but we urge you not to overlook local and state history. Montana history is full of great topics for History Day projects. Remember:

  • Local and state topics offer unique opportunities for original research.
  • Students researching local and state topics can make genuine contributions to history because they break new ground.
  • It is often easier to find primary sources for local and state topics.
  • Local topics offer the opportunity to learn more about your home and the ties to your own life.

Armed with local resources and strong research, YOU become the authority on your topic. Thus, your project can be more competitive than a topic that many other students across the state or nation may choose.

Find a Montana topic.