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 Turning Points in History 2024 Theme BookGraphic Organizer, and the Theme Video.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, NHD’s theme will be Turning Points in History. Projects can be about local Massachusetts history, U.S. history, or world history - but all projects must relate to the theme.

What is a turning point in history? 

An idea, event, or action that caused change either directly or indirectly

  • Historical significance (why it matters) Sometimes right away and sometimes it takes time
  • Event by one person or a huge group
  • Impact on one small community or the whole world
  • Can be positive or negative change
  • Can cause economic, political, cultural, technological change

What to consider? 

  • What factors led up to the turning point? How and Why
  • How did it create change? What happened before and after?
  • What were the immediate and long term consequences? 
  • What impact did the turning point have on the people that experienced it? How did they affect it?
  • Why was this turning point significant in history?
  • Think about multiple perspectives– how can a turning point be both negative and positive?

Theme Page

Every year, Massachusetts libraries, museums, and archives create their own lists of resources related to the NHD theme. Check out the MHS Turning Points in History Theme Page and get inspired by history in your backyard, or contact the librarians and archivists who work there for more ideas. More theme pages will be coming soon!