Research Presentation Categories

Once students select a topic for their research, they can then decide how they would like to present their research. They may choose from the following five categories: Historical Paper, Exhibit Board, Documentary, Performance, or Website. Contest rules and information about how projects are evaluated are provided on the National History Day Website:

Historical Paper

A paper is the traditional form of presenting historical research. Various types of creative writing (for example, fictional diaries, poems, etc.) are permitted, but must conform to all general and category rules. Your paper should be grammatically correct and well written.


Exhibit Board

An exhibit is a visual representation of your research and interpretation of your topic’s significance in history, much like a small museum exhibit. The analysis and interpretation of your topic must be clear and evident to the viewer. Labels and captions should be used creatively with visual images and objects to enhance the message of your exhibit.


A documentary should reflect your ability to use audiovisual equipment to communicate your topic’s significance, much as professional documentarians do. The documentary category will help you develop skills in using photographs, film, video, audiotapes, computers, and graphic presentations. Your presentation should include primary materials and also must be an original production. This should NOT be a PowerPoint presentation.


A performance is a dramatic portrayal of your topic’s significance in history and must be original in production. It should be scripted based on research of your chosen topic and should have dramatic appeal, but not at the expense of historical information.


A website should be a collection of web pages, interconnected by hyperlinks, that presents primary and secondary sources, interactive multimedia, and historical analysis It should incorporate textual and non-textual descriptions, interpretations, and sources to engage and inform viewers.

Note to teachers and students who have submitted websites in previous competitions: The website category is no longer supported by Weebly. If you have worked with Weebly in the past, you must use the new the NHDwebcentral site to build your website. DO NOT use Weebly. 

History Day Project Examples

Visit the link below to view examples of winning entries from previous National History Day Contests.