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

National History Day in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Contest Info

In order to guarantee a reliable and safe contest schedule during the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 National History Day in Massachusetts competition season again will be structured as a state-wide virtual competition. The contest will take place in two rounds, with time for students to revise projects between each round. Please read further for details, or download our NHD 2020-2021 Calendar for important dates and contest deadlines. We will update this page as the contest approaches.

Update: On November 19th 2020, the NHD National 2021 Contest made the call that the 2021 National Competition will also take place virtually.  We will update our National Contest Info section below as we receive more details!

Registration for State-Wide Virtual Contest

NHD MA 2021 Contest Registration is open!Students can register between now and February 24, and can upload and edit your project materials until our Round One Lockout date of Wednesday, March 10.

Learn more and register at

For the 2020-2021 season, we have increased the number of projects allowed per school in order to provide as much opportunity for participation as possible, given that this year's state contest will be entirely virtual. This year, each participating school may send up to 26 projects in total and up to 10 projects per category (i.e. up to 10 individual websites, 10 group websites, 10 group performances, etc.) and per division (if you are a combined Middle and High School, for example), you may send up to 26 projects to the Junior contest and up to 26 to the Senior contest).  Please email with any questions.

Once the contest registration opens on January 15, 2021, students and teachers can sign up at, where you will find further instructions for how to register.

How the Virtual Competition Will Work

Visit our Virtual Project Guidelines page for templates and instructions on how to create your virtual projects.

Teachers! Check out our NHD MA Webinar: Introduction to New NHD Rules and Virtual Project Guidelines, now available online.

The Statewide Virtual contest will involve all NHD MA students from across the state, so it will be structured a little differently from our usual programs. The 2021 virtual state-wide competition will take place over two rounds of judging. Student projects will be judged in "rooms" or groups of 8-12 projects at a time. These groups will be assigned at random in each category. Students will use the virtual templates produced by National History Day to create their projects and upload them to the registration portal.

After the Round One lockout date, judges will review the virtual projects in teams.  Due to student privacy and equity concerns, we will not be holding student interviews this year (see below for details).  On Monday, March 29, we will announce the top two projects in each judging room which will move on to Round Two of the competition. All students will receive their judging feedback forms, and student finalists will have the opportunity to attend feedback sessions (dates TBA) and revise their projects before Round Two.

The lockout date for Round Two is Wednesday, April 7. Students must upload and save any project revisions to their student registration profile by this date.  Round Two judging will run from April 14-18.  At our Virtual Winners Ceremony on Monday, April 26, we will announce the winning projects that are advancing to Nationals.  We will also announce winners of our NHD MA Special Prizes.  Even if your project did not move on to Round Two, you are still eligible for a special prize.

Registration Fees

This year's virtual contest will have a fee of $10/student.  Students can pay online when registering or by mailing a check.  You will find instructions on how to do so in our registration portal.  This reduced fee for the 2021 competition was made possible through the generous support of the Mass Cultural Council.  

If paying by check: please make check payable to the Massachusetts Historical Society

Please mail checks to:
Massachusetts Historical Society
c/o Kate Melchior
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215

Fee Waivers: If this fee is a hardship for you and your family, you can sign up for fee waiver and we will send you a coupon code to use during registration.  Please email us at with any questions.

School Payments: Schools paying for their students can either pay via PO or check, or pay online with a credit card using the registration portal.  See instructions for online payment on the teacher page of the registration portal.

2021 Student Interviews

After consulting with NHD Nationals and other affiliate coordinators, we have concluded that we will not be able to hold virtual interviews for our 2021 virtual competition.  Initially, NHD Massachusetts had planned to include virtual interviews as part of this year's contest.  However, concerns about equitable access to internet and videoconferencing technology for judges and students soon emerged, and it became clear that there would be risks to student privacy and data to contend with when managing interviews on this scale.  After consulting with the National office, we were advised to eliminate virtual interviews this year. 

This may be disappointing news, and we fully understand, as the interviews are one of our favorite parts of NHD!  However, the interview does not figure into evaluations or serve as a deciding factor in final rankings.  We look forward to holding in-person contests in the future when we can reinstate this part of the program.

Instead of interviews, we urge students to pay particular attention this year to the process paper, and to consider it a space to share information with judges about the research process and what students have learned.  Consider: What would you really love for a judge to know about you and your project?  Why is this topic important to you, and what have you learned this year?

National Contest Info

The NHD Nationals will take place as a virtual competition from June 13-17, 2021, and the lockout date for submitting project materials is Tuesday, May 18.  We will update this section with more details as they are announced!