Breaking Barriers in History: Resources for NHD 2020

Hundreds of primary sources and teaching activities are available on the new DocsTeach National History Day page devoted to the 2020 NHD theme: Breaking Barriers in History.

DocsTeach is the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. The NHD page is one of several Popular Topics pages.

You can use this special DocsTeach page to help your students prepare for this year’s National History Day contest. Choose teaching activities to get them thinking about breaking barriers. And share primary sources for possible NHD topics.


Historical images

Primary Sources for Possible “Breaking Barriers” Topics


Teaching Activities

Access online teaching activities related to Breaking Barriers in History:

  • the space program
  • women’s suffrage
  • civil rights
  • integration
  • foreign relations
  • westward expansion

Find these and other topics on the DocsTeach NHD page!

Access even more resources for National History Day from the National Archives at


Images, from top to bottom:

The White House Lit in Rainbow Colors, 6/26/2015; Records of the White House Photo Office; Barack Obama Presidential Library. 

“Open for Business” by Clifford Berryman, 8/15/1914; Records of the U.S. Senate.

Mission Concept Diagram of Project Gemini, ca. 1962; Records of the U.S. Senate.

A West German Chips Off a Piece of the Berlin Wall, 11/14/1989; Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics, 1936; Records of the U.S. Information Agency.

8 thoughts on “Breaking Barriers in History: Resources for NHD 2020

    1. You may choose any topic that fits the National History Day theme, per NHD’s contest rules. You can find out more on their website: If you’re doing an NHD project as part of your school curriculum, your teacher might provide additional guidelines for you to follow when choosing a topic.

  1. hey bro equality rules. segregation drools. Keep thinking in that great idea. You got a brain as big as ikea.

    1. Hi Jack – Thank you for your comment. At the National Archives, we hold archival records that are no longer in use by the current presidential administration. The records of the current administration are not at the National Archives yet. You are welcome to choose any topic that fits the NHD theme, but the National Archives won’t have many resource for that particular topic at this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *