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National History Day

National History Day 2023 Theme Narrative:
Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas

During the 2022–2023 school year, National History Day® (NHD) invites students to research topics related to the theme, Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. This theme is broad enough in scope to encourage the investigation of topics ranging from local to global history. Throughout the school year, students develop essential skills by fostering intellectual curiosity and thinking both critically and creatively.

A frontier may be geographical—an area thought to be on the edge of a settlement. Another definition of frontier is “an undeveloped field of study” showing that ideas that change over time may also serve as frontiers. Frontiers are also crossed by people, those who challenge conventional thinking.

To understand the historical importance of their topics, students must ask questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance.

  • What factors contributed to the development of a frontier?
  • Why did it emerge, and how did it change?
  • When did it cease to be a frontier?
  • What impact did it have on the people who experienced it, and how did they affect it?

Inspire Student Research

Use this series of videos featuring Filmmaker Stanley Nelson to support students on the research journey that is unique to their project. Students will explore the “story behind the story” as Stanley Nelson describes how he engaged in critical thinking, problem-solving, and historical research to tell the stories of two of our nation’s greatest freedom fighters, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.