Attention, students! Here’s a handy FAQ that contains everything you need to know about National Capital History Day. The main thing you want to remember: be on time! Better yet, arrive early.

Where is National Capital History Day?
National Capital History Day is Friday, April 21, 2017 at Carleton University. When you get to Carleton, NCHD is in Richcraft Hall (formerly the River Building). If you’re not familiar with the campus, there’s a great map here.

What time should I arrive?
In most cases, your arrival will be taken care of by your teacher. If you are coming independently or getting a ride with someone, you’ll want to arrive some time between 7:30 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. Be sure to give yourself enough time to find parking and walk to Richcraft Hall. And if you’re taking public transit, OC Transpo’s website can help you find the best route to the campus from your home.

Are there any other good reasons to arrive early?
Yes! Arrive early and you’ll have time to grab a Tim Horton’s coffee before everything gets started. Get checked in, grab a coffee, keep calm and history on!

What do I do when I get there?
Once you arrive at Richcraft Hall, look for signs for Student Check-in. At the registration desk, you’ll receive a folder that will contain: 1) info about your interview 2) the workshop you are expected to attend 3) a schedule of the day 4) a Certificate of Achievement. Don’t lose this folder as it contains all that you need for the day. Check the posted list of interview times — it will be right there in the check-in area.

What do I need to bring?
Depends which category you are in, but here’s an overview. And wear a watch. You know, that being-on-time thing is pretty important.

OK, then what?
After you check in you’ll have a little bit of time to check out our Hall of History and our student Exhibit Hall. If you’re entering the Exhibit category, you should proceed immediately to the Exhibit Hall to set up your project. Students in the Exhibit category have the option of setting up their project the night before National Capital History Day. If you would like to do that, and we recommend that you do, Richcraft Hall will be open on Thursday, April 20 between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please note that April 20 setup is only for students in the Exhibit category.

When does it all get started?
At about 8:25 a.m., you will hear the skirl of a bagpipe, and that signals the start of the day. Proceed to the Auditorium for our opening ceremonies. Did we mention you should be on time?

What happens after the opening ceremonies?
After that, there will be a 10-minute break, just enough time for you to get wherever you’re going. Check your interview time — some of you will want to go straight to your interviews. For others, it will be time to head to your workshop. And for others, you may wish to spend a little bit of time in our Hall of History and then head to your interview or workshop. Everyone has a different schedule. If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do, ask one of our organizers and they will help you figure it all out.

How early should I arrive for my interview?
We estimate you should arrive 5-10 minutes early for your interview. It is possible that judges will be running ahead or behind schedule, but if they’re running early and you’re not there, they will continue on to the next student and there is no guarantee that they will fit you in later. So…whatever you do, don’t be late.

Can I reschedule my interview time on the day of the competition?
No. If you have an emergency of some sort, please contact your teacher and have him or her see our registrar, Alison Peters, on site as soon as possible. And, be on time.

Can I go to any of the workshops?
You should aim to go to the workshop you are assigned (you will be able to tell us your preferences shortly). However, if changes in the schedule mean that you miss the beginning of your workshop, just look at the schedule and try to catch the beginning of one of the others. Our only request is that you not disturb a workshop in progress, and that once you enter a workshop, you stay for its duration (so don’t enter a workshop that overlaps with your interview time). However, please note that if you miss your workshop, we recommend that you stop in on the Ottawa Valley step dancing workshop, which is open to drop-ins all morning, no appointment necessary!

What should I do between activities?
If you find yourself at loose ends, there are lots of things to do. First option is to join another workshop. Otherwise you can browse the Hall of History or watch the judging of the Performance and Documentary entries — both are open to public viewing (Website and Essay judging are not open for public viewing). We expect the Exhibit Hall to open around noon for public viewing.

Do I have to dress up?
NCHD isn’t black tie, but you are representing your school. A good rule is to dress in the best outfit you’d wear to school, though some students last year did dress more formally. It’s a history competition, so you want to look like … a historian. (Remember, no costumes unless you’re in the Performance category. )

Can my parents, grandparents, neighbours, third-cousin etc. come to NCHD?
Until noon, NCHD is open only to the teachers and immediate family members of student competitors — so yes, be sure to invite your grandma. The general public is welcome for our keynote address and awards ceremony.

Should I bring a lunch?
For the third year in a row, Carleton’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will be sponsoring student lunches. When you arrive at Richcraft Hall, you will receive a special coupon in your registration package that you can use to purchase your lunch in the University Food Court, which is just a short walk from Richcraft Hall (you can even take the tunnels to get there if it’s a rainy day). Feel free to bring additional snacks as required.

Where can I put my coat/knapsack etc.?
Coat racks will be supplied, but they are not monitored, so don’t leave any valuable antiques lying around (hey, this is History Day…).

What should I do if I have registered a project for National Capital History Day and I later find out that I can’t attend?
As soon as you register a project we schedule you into the day and set aside time and space for your work. If you can’t attend, it’s imperative that you notify your teacher as soon as possible and contact ottawahistoryday [at] gmail.com so that we can remove you from the schedule. Failure to do so creates unnecessary delays for other participants and can cause confusion for judges, so please do let us know as soon as you are able.

If one of my group members can’t attend National Capital History Day, can we send another person in his or her place?
No. Only original group members may speak on behalf of your project. If someone cannot attend, they must notify their teacher and National Capital History Day as soon as possible.

How long are the interviews with judges and what do they ask?
Interviews last from five to 10 minutes. Don’t worry — judges are not there to trip you up, they just want to ask you a little bit about your project. For example, they might ask you how you chose your topic or which source proved to be the most helpful or how you found the primary documents you used. Think of it as a conversation rather than an interview. You can find out more about how you’ll be evaluated here.

Who are the judges?
Judges come from many different disciplines and professions and include historians (of course!), educators, journalists, theatre critics, designers, executives and graduate students. We try to match judges to appropriate categories (for example, we will often have people with film or broadcast experience on our Documentary judging panels) and make sure that there is either a historian or history teacher on each panel, too. Most judging panels are made up of two or three judges and most categories have multiple panels, meaning that finalists and winners have often been evaluated by four to eight different judges.

Do judges give feedback to students?
Yes! Students will receive feedback from the judges as they are being interviewed and they will also receive written feedback with lots of comments about their work. You can see more information about how projects are judged here.

Are there prizes?
Yes! All participants receive a Certificate of Achievement. Winners in each category will receive a National Capital History Day medal. The top-ranked school will receive a trophy.

You didn’t answer my question. Boo.
Sorry, we’re a little preoccupied getting ready for National Capital History Day, so we’ve probably left something out! Feel free to send any questions to ottawahistoryday [at] gmail.com (or simply leave a comment on our site) and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Also, don’t forget that you can find out just about everything you need to know in our rulebook, which you can download here. See you on April 21!

8 Responses to FAQ

  1. KErri-Lee Hewlett says:

    Can I get a list on line of the students from my school (Canterbury HS) who have successfully registered?

  2. Ashton Bazinet says:

    Hi, I registered for the National Capital History Day (before the deadline), but I have yet to receive an email. Is this normal?

    • Hi Ashton…thanks for your question. And yes, this is normal. We extended the deadline for some categories until April 1, so we won’t be notifying anyone until after that date, likely some time next week. But feel free to contact us if you have any questions before then…and thanks for coming to National Capital History Day!

  3. Hi, I have two questions: does a book of veterans’ stories or a book written by a veteran count as a primary source? Am I allowed to use a video of a veteran speaking as part of my exhibit (as long as it’s within the 300-word limit)?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Lucy…thanks for your question. Here are some answers for you: A book by an eyewitness, even if published years after the fact, is still an eyewitness account and so classed as a primary source by our rules. But, a book of stories told by an eyewitness but published by a non-witness is a secondary source — anything “as-told-to” doesn’t count as a primary source by our definitions.
      You may use a video, but it must be one you or your group created. There’s more on this in the rulebook:
      Rule B2: Media Devices Media devices (e.g., DVD players, projectors, video monitors, computers) used in an exhibit must not run for more than a total of 3 minutes and are subject to the 500-word limit (Rule B3). Viewers and judges must be able to control media devices. Any media devices must fit within the size limits of the exhibit. Any media devices used should be integral to the exhibit—not a method to bypass the prohibition against live student involvement. NOTE: For example, a brief excerpt from a taped student-conducted oral interview or a dramatic reading is appropriate, but taped commentary or analysis is inappropriate.
      Best of luck with your project!

  4. Hello there – I am wondering if you are still recruiting judges?

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