What is History Day?

History Day is not just a day, but every day! National History Day is a year-long curriculum enhancement program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries and research papers based on research related to an annual theme. These projects are then evaluated at local, state, and national competitions. The 2019 competition theme is "Triumph and Tragedy in History"."

Tennessee History Day is open all public, private, and homeschooled students. All students compete in district History Day competitions before being eligible to compete at the Tennessee History Day State Competition. Winners of the State competition, held March 31, 2019 at the FedEx Institute of Technology building on the University of Memphis Campus, are eligible to compete in National History Day, at the University of Maryland in mid-June.

loi pinel

Tennessee History Day State Competition

Registration for the Pinel 2019 State Competition is now open! You may access registration through the red "Begin Registration" button on the left. WHEN: Saturday, March 31, 2019 (Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.) WHERE: FedEx Institute of Technology Building, The University of Memphis COST: There is a $35 non-refundable fee for each student due prior to the competition. For further details about the competition, such as registration and payment instructions.

NEW: Tennessee History Day Video

We now offer an imstructional video walking you through the step-by-step process of creating an entry for Tennessee History Day.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in having someone come to your school to talk to students and/or teachers about History Day, please contact Becky Hodges, Assistant State Coordinator, as soon as possible: (901) 678-2515 or blhodges@memphis.edu

During the 2019 school year, Tennessee History Day invites students to research topics related to the theme Triumph & Tragedy in History. As is the case each year, the theme is broad enough to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local history to world history, and from ancient time to the recent past.

To understand the historical importance of their topics students need to ask questions about time, place and context; cause and effect; change over time; and impact and significance. Students must consider not only when and where events happened, but also why they occurred and what factors contributed to their development. Description of the topic must also include an analysis of information and conclusions about how the topic influenced and was influenced by people, ideas or events

For Tennessee History Day 2019, students are encouraged to select an individual, idea or event and demonstrate how and why their topic was a triumph and/or a tragedy in history. A student may choose to focus on the discovery of penicillin as a historic and medical triumph. Or students may decide to study the tragic impact of the Great Russian Famine of the 1890s. In these cases, the subject could be presented as either triumph or tragedy.

Students should keep in mind, however, that often the same topic can be viewed as both triumph and tragedy depending on the experience of the participants, the perspective of historians and the passage of time. One person's triumph was often another person's tragedy. For example, the American Civil War was a great triumph of the North over the South, of unionism over sectionalism, of freedom over slavery. But the war also took a terrible toll in human lives, caused widespread destruction and left a legacy of bitterness. In all wars and military encounters there are social disruptions and material costs-winners triumph and losers experience tragedy.

In explaining this paradox to students, perhaps thinking of a balance scale that is heavy on one side would be a visual image that would represent Triumph & Tragedy in the research. A topic will not be balanced equally with triumphant moments or tragic moments but one will weigh in heavier than the other. Nudging students to uncover both sides of any event helps build historical perspective and constructs a stronger historical argument.

The theme is a broad one, so topics should be carefully selected and developed in ways that best use student's talents and abilities. Whether a topic is a well known event of world history or focuses on a little-known individual from a small community, students should be careful to place their topics into historical perspective, examine the significance of their topics in history, and show development over time. Studies should include an investigation into available primary and secondary research, an analysis of the materials, and a clear explanation of the relationship of the topic to the theme, Triumph & Tragedy in History. Students should pay special attention to the possibilities of triumph and tragedy within the same subject. Then, students may develop papers, performances, documentaries, and exhibits for entry into Tennessee History Day competitions.

As with any THD theme, this topic presents students with many fascinating opportunities to explore history and to learn to use a wide range of primary and secondary sources. This year's theme also offers teachers an excellent entry into philosophical discussions about personal actions and responsibilities.

Stories of individuals in history are compelling but pose a challenge for a National History Day project. While working with a theme, students must move beyond biographies and description of specific people or events and demonstrate how that person's actions affected history.

The challenge for students engaged in a Tennessee History Day project with the theme of Triumph & Tragedy in History is to capture that specific moment in time in which change occurred that changed the course of events and forever altered history.

History education is the cornerstone of a quality education. National History Day, Inc. is an education organization that is transforming the way history is taught and learned. National History Day, Inc. helps teachers meet educational standards; disseminates high quality curriculum materials; and sponsors challenging contests that teach students the critical skills they need to be effective citizens in the 21st century. National History Day, Inc. improves education EVERY day.