Banner for National History Day <i>in Massachusetts</i>

National History Day in Massachusetts

Annual Theme

Each year, National History Day selects an annual theme. The broad themes encourage students to research a wide variety of topics. Students should use the theme to frame their analysis and show why a topic is significant in history.

Check out the NHD Theme Page for useful resources like the Frontiers in History 2023 Theme BookGraphic Organizer, and the Theme Video.

The 2023 theme is "Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas." Projects can be about Massachusetts history, U.S., or world history - but all projects must relate to the theme.

Frontiers are often thought of as geographical spaces on the edge of a settlement; places that border the unknown. Frontiers as places can also be defined as a border between two countries, groups, or opposing forces. Frontiers are, then, also a matter of perspective. On the edge of whose settlement? What is unknown, and by whom? Who is kept in, or out? How have these frontiers changed, and why?

Frontiers can also be ideas. At the forefront of social movements, scientific and technological discoveries, sports records, artistic techniques, and more are people who are furthering human knowledge, breaking down invisible barriers, and changing the way we live our lives and see the world.  How do frontiers play a role in the histories that interest you?

The Massachusetts Historical Society has created a Theme Page for you to explore "Frontiers in History" in our collections. You can also check out the theme pages below from local historical sites and archives to get inspired!

Theme Pages

This year, several Massachusetts libraries, museums, and archives have created their own lists of resources related to the theme "Frontiers in History."  Get inspired by history in your backyard, and contact the librarians and archivists who work there for more ideas:

Or check out these NHD Partner Resources Pages to see theme lists from organizations across the country!