Resources for National History Day 2023: Frontiers in History

A frontier in music: United States Patent 5,255,452 – the shoes used to perform the anti-gravity illusion move seen in Michael Jackson’s 1988 “Smooth Criminal” video.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in and were recognized at the National History Day 2022 contests! Your work is always inspirational, and we are happy to know that many of you used National Archives resources to research and develop your project.

Now that NHD 2022 is a wrap, the National Archives is gearing up to help teachers and students prepare for NHD 2023 – Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. Here are some of our great resources for teachers and students.

First up: check out our DocsTeach NHD 2023 page. DocsTeach is the online tool for teaching with Documents, from the National Archives, and this page is full of teaching activities and primary source suggestions related to many different types of frontiers. Your students can use this page to browse topics and view primary sources related to each. From Patents and Inventions to NASA Space Programs to Civil Rights, DocsTeach will connect your students to the rich resources of the National Archives. Then help your students critically evaluate and analyze those sources with our Document Analysis worksheets, including our new “Understanding Perspective in Primary Sources” worksheet.

Second, check out our article “The Film(ed) Frontier: Twentieth Century History Captured by Motion Pictures” in this year’s national theme book. The article was written by Motion Picture Preservation Specialists and includes information about some of the National Archives Motion Picture resources, including “The Charge of the Tick Brigade” from 1919 by the United States Department of Agriculture, and polar expedition footage from explorer Louise Arner Boyd.

Want to learn more about and see some of the cool things in National Archives Motion Pictures? Join us for a webinar with the theme book authors on October 13 at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT. Stay tuned for details on how you and your students can register and participate in the fall webinar.

Finally, available again this fall, Discovering our Documents, by-request interactive webinars for teachers who are looking for high-quality online sources for National History Day and tips for how to access them. For details contact our Distance Learning department at ​

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